John Ballou began taking photographs in 1964 with a brownie box camera, bought his first slide camera in Europe in 1968 while on vacation with his family, and started taking digital photographs in 2002. His interest in model airplanes led to aerial photography, and by taking photos perpendicular to the plane's direction of travel, found 3D stereo pairs in the images captured, and began taking 3D photographs using paired digital cameras in 2004.
He joined the Stereo division of the Oakland Camera Club in 2004, and learned a lot about 3D photography from the club members. John researched digital projectors, and put together a 3D projection setup for the club in 2006, and began chairing the Oakland International 3D Exhibition in 2006. He joined the PSA in 2007, and since then has been competing in many of the international 3D exhibitions recognized by the PSA. His PPSA distinction was earned solely through acceptances in 3D exhibitions. He earned his APSA honor in 2016.