Sunday, November 8, 2009

Albuquerque International Balloon Festival 2009 - Third Times the Charm!!!

I have made the trip to "the most photographed event in the world" two times before only to be thwarted by bad weather. I was hoping this time around to take the things I had learned about the venue during the previous attempts, marry them up with a dose of good weather, and end up with some images to last a lifetime.

It didn't start off well, as our flight leaving Houston was delayed by a strong early season cool front that touched off enough weather to delay our departure by over an hour. Since we had only originally planned to have two hours on the ground in Albuquerque before the first evening event - the Special Shapes Balloon Glowdeo - we knew we were in danger of missing our first of 4 possible sessions at Balloon Fiesta Park.

As luck would have it, we walked onto the field just as the balloons that were assembled had finished their inflation, and the announcer was set to begin the evening event. After such a stess filled start o the journey, it is always nice to be calmed down by a smiling face:
We were able to see plethora of special shapes, including my favorite Flying Pig:

Things slowed down enough to enjoy the evening with Felix the Cat and friends as well:

There was even a monster or two hanging out on the field with us this evening:

After the balloon glow was over, the assembled crowd was treated to the biggest fireworks show in New Mexico. We managed to catch a few decent shots before calling it a night.

The next morning, we were on the field for the Mass Ascenscion. This is the event where all of the balloons registered (In this case, more than 550) are launched from the same field , in waves until the air is filled with a sea of hot air balloons. It is a magical sight to see! Before they do that, a dozen preselected balloons are chosen to go up before the sun rises to check out the wind conditions aloft to insure that this event can proceed safely. The "Dawn Patrol" that ensues is a cross between an evening balloon glow and a mini ascenscion. It can be quite striking if you happen to be prepared with your trusty camera.

If you happen to be graced with perfect weather, as we were this morning, sometimes you can get to see an amazing sunrise:

Then the main event begins. At first the balloons begin to lift off in the gloaming of the new dawn. The true color of the event is yet to be revealed as old man Sol hides behind mighty Sandia Peak to the east. But you can still see the potential of what is to come.

Then the sun begins to show itself, a little at first,


Then a little more,

Until finally, it sets ablaze the colors that make your eyes water and your camera tremble as a smile swells across your face... This is what you have come to see...and it, like the color bursting forth from the balloons, will never be taken from your soul.

With the sun now high in the sky, you succumb to sensory many balloons, so much color - It is really hard to do it justice

You start to shut down - you are tired from 4 hours worth of adrenaline fueled hiking from one end of a 72 acre field to the other. You figure you are about done, and then you see it. A childhood fable coming to life...

Hey Diddle Diddle, the Cat and the Fiddle...

If you've been understand. If you haven't been should come. It's definitely on any photographers bucket list. It will also give one pause for ... reflections ... on all that is good about this shared passion of ours. I hope you enjoyed my little journey. I know I did!!!

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad you finally got the photo op you have been yearning for from the Balloon Fest. You have some awesome photos....altho I also thought the ones from previous years were good too....but then I'm biased.