Michael Ryan Ballard
I'm Michael, also known as Nilas.
Writing about myself isn't necessarily a strong suit, so I'll just jot it down as it comes out.
I'm a dad, an artist, weirdo, and wanderlust.
Though, above all else, I'm a dad. My boys are the loves of my life. I've been through far beyond my fair share of hardships, struggle, and what we may as well just call "shit" in my life. My boys are my constant, my primary passion. If it weren't for them, I'd probably just be wandering with a backpack in the woods or jumping trains to nowhere. The biggest smiles that will dig wrinkles in my face and every tear worth shedding, it all comes directly from them. I find the most profound joy from being in there life as new experiences unfold before them. We do our best to appreciate the little things and love to wander, learn, and partake in our general shenanigans.
Photography is something that I am extremely passionate about. Whether I'm shooting a wedding, lifestyle portrait, landscape, or surrealistic art, I always give 110%. I'm very laid back and easy to work with, knowing exactly when to give direction and when to capture a moment as it unfolds naturally.
I love telling stories through creative imagery, both fictional and non-fictional. The majority of my experience comes from shooting weddings/commitment ceremonies and just couples in general. Which is perfect. I love to witness love. Immortalizing memories for a couple is one of the most satisfying and rewarding feelings, and I'm very humbled that so many people have chosen me as their storyteller.
Humor is great, both censored and uncensored. Whether we're telling dad jokes, acting out, or telling tongue-in-cheek tales, I just love having a good time.
I'm a bit of a geek, perhaps an oddball. I've always been sort of an extrovert amongst outcasts. Weird, but in a good way.
Life is too short to pass judgment, and we should never judge a book by its cover. I'm open-minded and accepting of the beliefs of others.
I'm an artist and believe in art above monetary value. If I can earn enough to have a humble living and stability for my boys, I'm beyond happy. I travel cheap, I make do with what I have and I always try to smile at the little things. I have no need for extravagant things.
I'm all about adventure and I'm not afraid of any trek. I'll travel anywhere, trail or not. I'll swim under icy waterfalls, hike under the blazing sun and bushwack the unknown. I welcome and love any adventurous challenge.
Motorcycles, pizza, brews, and tattoos. <3
Dark surrealism and darker concepts have always been a very strong interest of mine. If I had to choose a specific subject matter to photograph for the rest of life, hands down, I would shoot the eerie, alternative and avant-garde. That's what sparked my love for photography in the first place. Oh, the days when DeviantArt was a thing and I spent all my hours bathing the darker art subjects.
I love the people I've met and the places my job has taken me. It really has been a dream come true. With roughly 80 weddings and countless other sessions captured, I am beyond grateful. This path has brought me so many great memories and new friends (hell, even family), I can't wait to see what and who lies ahead!
-Michael R. Ballard (Nilas)
(Kiddos are Nilas & Salem <3)