Nancy LeighPhotography

Kicking Off Collections!

November 22, 2013

There is a new tab on my website called "Collections".
I wanted to share groups of images of my favorite places and subjects. To start, I have posted 6 collections: Antarctica, Iceland, Africa, NYC, Abstracts and Patagonia. As I complete more collections, I will post them under this tab.

When I first launched my website in July 2010, sadly our space shuttle program was coming to an end. Today as I roll out this new expanded website with over 200 photographs, NASA's Voyager 1 probe, launched in 1977, has left our solar system and entered interstellar space. Voyager I is now approximately 11 billion miles from our sun. I too, wanted to leave my comfort zone and present more of my work.

The first tab of my website was changed from "Portfolio" to "Light Box". When I began photographing, we used light boxes to lay our negatives and slides out on a thick piece of white translucent acetate that was back lit; thus the "light box". We would use the light box to to view our the images, loupe in hand to take a close look, sort and select any candidates or winners in the group. I wanted this section of my website to be more of a rotating staging area of my favorite images. There are some images that will stay and others will be rotated out. The exciting part of photography is to keep exploring within and let my curiosity lead the way.

In 2012, I made it to my 7th continent; Africa. It was an honor and a thrill to see these magnificent animals in their natural habitat. Being an animal lover, to observe and photograph these animals up close was a highlight in my life.

One moment that transcended photography for me, was looking up into the Namibian night sky and seeing the Andromeda gallaxy with my bare eyes. In the photograph above, the Andromeda Gallaxy is to the right of the quiver tree. I have never seen so many stars before. On this clear night, with no obstruction of light, the Milky Way's majestic presence was beyond description.

The Himba are a fascinating culture and watching this young boy play in the sun-kissed sand and enjoying life was wonderful to watch. Thank you Buddy Cooper. I would have never have gone on this trip had it not been for you.

Our planet is a fascinating and beautiful place. It’s impossible to see everything in a lifetime. At this point in time, the blue ribbon goes to Antarctica.
Perhaps it’s because I always wanted to be an astronaut and Antarctica feels like another planet to me. I have had the good fortune of going to Antarctica twice; once in December 2011 and again in February 2013. Even though I went to most of the same places in Antarctica on each trip, they were very different from one another in terms of light, wildlife and the ever-changing ice. It's clearly isolated from the rest of the world and I loved the remoteness. The silence, raw landscapes, icebergs and wildlife are breathtaking. I loved the cold weather and fresh air. In some ways Antarctica also reminds me of our underwater environment; another world unto itself. There were two distinct moments. one on each trip, that I mention in my Antarctica collection, that stood out among the rest.

On the first trip, one morning I woke up with a killer sore throat and temperature. The thought of getting out of bed, dressing in a million layers, lugging my heavy camera gear and sitting in a zodiac for hours in the snow and wind, sent more shivers down my spine. But I was in Antarctica! A trip I dreamed about nearly every day for over 3 years! I was getting in that boat. That morning, I took the best photographs I had taken on the trip. The two photos above were part of the series of photographs I took that morning in Pleaneu Bay, otherwise known as the "Iceberg Graveyard".

On the second trip, we had a close encounter with a humpback whale. We had just seen the most amazing group of icebergs isolated in Arthur's Harbour that I call "Iceberg Kingdom". As we started on our way back, two humpback whales surfaced nearby. One was quite curious and went under our boat. He swam away and then there was a moment I will never forget -- this great, big, magnificent whale surfaced right in front of us. It was the most unusual looking animal. Then, as though on cue, he sounded, throwing that big fluke high above the water with the Iceberg Kingdom in the background.

A special thanks to my web designer, John Ellis – you are seriously awesome! Seriously – the name of his company is Seriously Awesome. ( John is a talented, sweet, charming young man with a dry sense of humor and a mischievously innocent smile. We worked together to create the look I wanted for my website. John's artistic direction, input and programming were invaluable. John and his girlfriend, Laura, bravely ditched the day-to-day grind in NYC, and are traveling the country in their trusty Airstream with their newly adopted dog, Bulleit. They were recognized by National Geographic with an honorable mention for "Travelers of the Year in 2013". They use social media to assist routing their trip. They are led to places off the beaten track and manage to squeeze in some sensational food when they hit certain areas. While enjoying the US, their mobile unit is fully operational in their respective avocations.John designed their website too and it is a winner!

As long as I'm thanking people, a BIG thank you to anyone who has ever been with me when I stop everything I am doing to take a photograph. Several of those very photographs made it to the final cut and are on my website.

Last, I have written a story about my next hero: Stephen Wilkes. Please check it out in my section called "Heroes". Stephen is a friend, college classmate, mentor and a world class photographer. He has a vast and diverse body of work and is always taking on new challenges. Stephen bursts with enthusiasm, has a fabulous sense of humor and is, and always has been, a sensational photographer.

Until the next time, I hope you enjoy the new additions to my website. Please feel free to email me at with your comments or suggestions. I'd love to hear from you!

Hello world!

July 21, 2011

Welcome to my website! It seemed fitting to launch my website around the same time that NASA launched our last space shuttle, Atlantis. The space shuttle program began slightly over 30 years ago, and sadly, it ended today when the shuttle landed this morning. These years of space exploration have been filled with wonder and fascination, and unfortunately, tragedy. As photographers and space enthusiasts, we have been very fortunate to see some of the most spectacular images of our universe, thanks mainly to The Hubble Telescope.

Here's a link to a collection of photographs (courtesy of NASA) on "hubblesite" and a few of my favorites below:

"The Sombrero Galaxy" - 28 million light years from Earth - was voted best picture taken by the Hubble telescope. The dimensions of the galaxy, officially called M104, are as spectacular as its appearance. It has 800 billion suns and is 50,000 light years across. Photo Credit: NASA and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has taken the first visible-light snapshot of a planet circling another star in this image released by NASA November 13, 2008. Estimated to be no more than three times Jupiter's mass, the planet, called Fomalhaut b, orbits the bright southern star Fomalhaut, located 25 light-years away in the constellation Piscis Australis, or the "Southern Fish."
Source: Reuters/NASA

It's called "The Eskimo Nebula" because the formation resembles a person's head surrounded by a parka hood. It's surrounded by gas that composed the outer layers of a Sun-like star. The visible inner filaments are ejected by strong winds of particles from the central star. The outer disk contains unusual light-year long orange filaments. NGC 2392 lies more than 2,870 light-years away and is visible within the constellation, Gemini. Credit: NASA, Andrew Fruchter and the ERO Team [Sylvia Baggett (STScI), Richard Hook (ST-ECF), Zoltan Levay (STScI)]

"Pillars of Creation". These columns that resemble stalagmites protruding from the floor of a cavern columns are in fact cool interstellar hydrogen gas and dust that act as incubators for new stars. The longest of the 'Pillars' is seven light years long. Credit: NASA, ESA, STScI, J. Hester and P. Scowen (Arizona State University)