When I was young, my parents would wake me up at some ungodly hour of the morning (so usually around 7) and we would drive in our old convertible with the top down to watch the hot air balloons at the beginning of every summer. My brother and I would sit in the back with blankets and hot chocolate, freezing and tired but awed by the balloons. They were so magical back then, when I didn’t know about air density and temperature.
This morning, at about 4:30AM, me, my mom, and my dad all got up to go see the hot air balloons launch in the field. I was encouraged by the hopes of fabulous photos, hot chocolate, my mother’s sudden enthusiasm to go, and a certain co-worker implying my weekend plans to do my AP summer assignments were lame. Unexpectedly, my boyfriend Robyn said he’d like to go when I offered and so he (though groggy and sarcastic) came as well. My brother… was… asleep… There was no way he was going to get up at that hour.
Have you ever shot photos in the pre-dawn hours? At first, all I got was a bunch of colorful fuzz. Even after I upped my ISO, set my camera on a stabilizing mode, and made myself into a human tripod, things were still a tad fuzzy. Hang in there. As the morning progressed, things cleared up.
Three balloons go up first for the dawn patrol. They were filling up really quickly. I’ve never seen something like this before. At this time, my mom would like me to add that this was the 20th anniversary of this show.
When all of them were filled, they let them stand up all at the same time. I would like to mention that while this was happening, they were playing the theme song for the new Star Trek movie on the loud speakers. It made me incredibly happy.
And they stood! I’m not sure if you can really tell how massive these things are. We were on a field and the people are all about 100 feet or more form those balloons. They. Were. Huge.
First one is off!
I promise you you’re not seeing triple.. This was three photos I took of the same balloon. I just merged them.
Second one to take off!
There was no wind so they were able to hover together. It was fantastic.
Proof that we were up that early. This is the sunrise through the park trees. It was mildly less blurry in real life.
About an hour later (hence the better quality photos), the other balloons began to be set up. At this point, we were allowed on the field next to the balloons. It was awesome. We were so close!
This one was the target balloon. It was my favorite. We were able to stand next to it while they filled it with the fan. That’s looking into it…
At one point, we were surrounded by about 10 balloons all being filled.
But I couldn’t ignore that Target balloon…
We were surrounded by all the pretty, simple ones.
There they are. I got these troopers up at 4:30. They all had a good time.
This was an amazing shot… You can add hot air balloon pilot to my list of possible careers.
I think we stayed close to this one because it was toasty warm.
The Target balloon is up!
This was quite surreal… I looked up.
I liked the fishy one too.
But then I was distracted because the Target balloon was taking off…
They launched them really quickly after one another. They all launched within about 20 minutes of each other.
Okay, now this is the coolest part. They were all in the air.. There were like 20 of them total. Count the balloons…
The clouds were beautiful.
Apparently the energizer bunny is bigger than Lady Liberty. I had a hard time with that one because I’ve never been to New York but this bunny was really, really, really massive.
This was like amazing lighting heaven!
Enjoy the photos!