Contemporary filmmaker Carroll Ballard has not made many films, but the ones he has are memorable. The son of a boatwright, Ballard was raised at Lake Tahoe. He experimented with his father's trade after high school and built a catamaran before enlisting in the army where he served in the South as a cameraman. Three films inspired Ballard to enroll in the UCLA film school in the early 1960s: Teinosuke Kinugasa's Gate of Hell (1953), Kubrick's Paths of Glory (1957) and Ordet (1955) by Danish filmmaker Carl Dreyer. In school, where Francis Ford Coppola was one of his classmates, he made several short fiction and documentary films, most of which were about animals. In 1967, he earned his first Oscar nomination for producing the documentary Harvest. He made his directorial debut with The Black Stallion (1979) and followed it with another outdoor film in 1983, Never Cry Wolf. His films are noted for their exquisite use of cinematography. The painting-like images he uses do as much to tell his stories as does the dialog. His 1996 effort Fly Away Home is no exception; while it received mixed-reviews for its content, was hailed for its breathtaking shots of geese flying in formation with an ultralight plane.