Howdy, my name is Justin Balog and welcome to my humble corner of the internet. I’m a photographer, filmmaker, storyteller, and explorer of the creative frontier. With a name like Balog, you expect I was related to James. Well, I don’t know of any relation, however both of us Balogs having a passion for photography seems like a pretty strange coincidence? We both shoot Nikons…hmmm…that’s no coincidence? If you would like a more complete photographic history keep on reading, if not click here to see the photos.
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- I am an Eagle Scout
- Super Power: Uncanny sense of direction. I would be Magellan if there were ‘The Fantastic 5‘.
- Although my Doctor says I am 5’8.5″, I pride myself on being 5’9″
- Official member of the Unofficial A-Team
- Times 2006 Person of the Year
- I don’t mean to brag, but my tweets are archived in the Library of Congress.
- Favorite Road: D26
- I play a 1975 wine red Gibson Les Paul Deluxe with factory routed humbuckers.
- A Myan mystic once told me that I have a bright light burning inside of me so I have that going for me.
Other Ways To Find Me On The Web
- Portfolio/Professional Services: JustinBalog.com
- Twitter: @JustinBalog
- Facebook: facebook.com/hossedia
- Little Lens Blog: blog.BigWorldLittleLens.com
- Google Plus: Google+
- instagr.am: @justinBalog
The Way I See Things
The world is a beautiful place full of wonderful people. Seeking out its beauty and sharing it with others is what I do. If only to encourage others to do the same. There is something transcendent about art and beauty. It’s a common ground that breaks down the barriers that divide us. I’m a dreamer, but in my heart of hearts, I know if we all recognize and share the beauty of this world, we will make it a better place.
My Relation to Light
My passion for photography began by observing my Grandfather’s unyielding pursuit of the family portrait. Armed with a used Konica and a flash he had re-engineered to work with what appeared to be a car battery he would document all our family functions. I was never quite sure if the battery was intended to improve battery life or cycle times? Either way, the flash was bright and family moments were captured. My academic pursuit of photography began and ended in Mr. Wagner’s high school photography class. A review of my early portfolio would reveal a healthy blend of both sophomoric humor and teenage angst. To support this claim I submit my final class project pictured below.
As my passion for making images grew (and continues to grow), I became aware of a subtle shift in my perception of the world. New meaning was found in the morning and evening light. I became hyper-aware of the way the sun’s rays would illuminate a distant and finite horizon at sea. It wasn’t immediately apparent; however, over time this newly discovered sense began to dominate my perception and offer new meaning to both the sublime as well as the trivial in my daily life.
With encouragement from my friends, family, and most importantly my wife, I decided to start this site to share my images, adventures, and I hope to inspire others to do the same..
Not only do I write for other sites, I have a few books out there too. In my books, I do my very best to share my passion for creativity and hopefully inspire the creativity that I know is inside you. If you have an iPhone, my entire series of ‘Big World Little Lens’ books are dedicated to the world of iPhone Photography. These books will teach you everything you need to know about discovering the world of creative iPhone Photography. If you you would like to pick up a copy, you can find them here.
If you would like to hear me talk about my passion for iPhone Photography, take a listen to one of my interviews. You can stream it here.
Here are a few images of me at work. As a photographer, you rarely appear in any photographs. Thankfully, a few of my buddies are occasionally lugging around cameras as well.
Other than my grandfather, whom I cannot thank enough, there are a few other photographers who have directly or indirectly inspired me along the way.
- Bill Sallaz – Long ago Bill talked me into a D1x and told me to shoot until you can’t shoot anymore. He believed, and I agree with him, that the instant feedback from digital is better than any classroom work you could ever do.
- Graham Watson- Not only does he keep me in the Pro Tour action, he has always answered my questions posted to his site.
- Bob Krist- When it comes to photography, you think National Geographic. When it comes to travel photography you think National Geographic Traveler. Bob Krist is a photographer for Nat Geo Travel who shares his experiences as a traveling photojournalist on his personal blog. The writing is on par with the photography and well worth the read.
- Bruce Percy- His work speaks for itself, but if you can catch an adventure photography podcast while delusional with insomnia, you have the makings for some serious existential mojo.
- Trey Ratcliff- Trey runs the #1 travel photography site on the net..and for good reason! His images are fantastic, and he is very generous with his knowledge. You can find his Award Winning HDR Tutorial here. Or, you can learn from a variety of his eBooks here.
Other (non-photographic) Stuff About Me
What I’m Listening To
Here is a sampling of what I’ve been listening to past and present. Its pretty hard to consolidate 10,000 songs into a representative sub-sample. If you are looking for new music, just sign up for our monthly newsletter. I recommend a few new songs in every issue.
Movies I Could Watch A Couple Of Times
- Excalibur Get it on iTunes
- The Untouchables Get it on iTunes
- Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi (once you commodify The Force, you lose me)
- American Flyers Get it on iTunes
- Usual Suspects Get it on iTunes
- Big Lebowski Get it on iTunes
- This Is Spinal Tap Get it on iTunes
- Song Remains The Same Get it on iTunes
Beyond The Photographs
I couldn’t just be a photographer. I really believe most of my creative inspiration is found beyond photography and film making. Here are a few of the things that keep my creative muse happy.
SCUBA Diving - I fell in love with the world below the sea back in 1993 and have been scuba diving ever since. In 2006, I met a big Green Moray eel in the hull of sunken ship.
Note: Eels, although you don’t want to provoke them (or anything for that matter), are pretty mellow. Not much to worry about when you come across one. Just be psyched that you saw it, eels this big are pretty rare.
SUP (Stand Up Paddle Boarding)
Fitness is a big part of my life, and I do my best to encourage others to lead an active life and achieve their own health goals. In 2011, my personal goal was to race the Maliko Downwinder in Maui. Having never even been on a SUP and deciding to race one of the most storied stretches of water in the world, I had my work cut out for me. Here are a few images from start to finish.
The first time on a SUP, I couldn’t even stand up. All I could do was play some mean air paddle in front of the Stevie Ray memorial in Austin, TX.
Four months later, I was navigating the open ocean.
Six months later, I raced the Maliko and competed against one of my Hero’s Dave Kalama. Proof that you really can do anything if you set your mind to it!