Sunday, June 7, 2009

Deflated Event

Once a year a neighboring town has a Frontier's Day festival, complete with hot air balloon launches, contests, and a "glow" - lighting all the burners after dusk so the balloons are highlighted against the night sky. We were so excited to go to that event this year - it rained last year and the ballooning events were cancelled.
So we drove over at the appointed time, hoping to see all 24 balloons launch, then staying for the "glow." The first two balloons were launched amidst applause and waves...then we waited. And the clouds rolled in. The other balloons waited to see which way the wind would blow, so to speak, and they waited, and waited - as did we. Then the launches were cancelled, but the "glow" was supposed to happen as usual. We went for a walk. Got coffee. Set up tripods. Checked camera settings. And waited. And waited.
The first sprinkle. The second. People were having a difficult time communicating, and deciding what to do. The balloonists finally called it off, packed it up, and headed out. Drat. Maybe next year. I absolutely love the site of those balloons floating through the air.

A number of years ago we had the opportunity to have a balloon ride in a ReMax balloon, when Daryl was a Realtor. I had a VERY rough night prior to the launch day. I was sure it was my "end." Did I have my paperwork in order? Would the children be furious at the state of the house and our belongings? You get the picture. Launch day dawned clear and calm. The tradition of a "last breakfast" didn't set well with me, but I sat through all the talk and joviality. Then it was time. There was the balloon, laid out on the grass, basket on its side. They fired up the burner, the balloon started to inflate, and my stomach was not still. In the basket I went. Saying prayers. And we lifted off.I was trying to find the photos someone took of us on lift off, and will post them when I find them. I had a fabulous experience - all good. How calm and peaceful a ride over our rural countryside. You could wave to those below. I also learned that a balloon pilot has to maintain a certain distance above ground, and is liable for any damage below caused by the noise or movement of the balloon, such as a horse who gets spooked and is injured.

Glorious. And yes, I'd go again:).


Chris said...

It sounds like it WOULD have been a spectacular event. But at least a few were able to get off the ground.

joyce said...

sorry to hear of the disappointment due to the weather. I don't think I would go up in a balloon..i don't even like going over a bridge! My grandma went up in one accompanied by 80 red roses on her 80th birthday.

ols1 said...

You really captured the excitement of the day. They do look graceful and scary at the same time.

Barefoot from Heaven said...

Oh too bad the weather spoiled the whole day for all of you. I'll send my prayers out for next year. Are you gonna take a flight then too? Skip breakfast if you do, and now you got plenty of time to get the house sorted out and so on....;-)

Anonymous said...


I am bummed out that the event was cancelled. The photos you did post are really nice.

I am an enthusiastic amateur photographer and am going to be going to a balloon festival this summer. I have a 300mm zoom, but it is slow, 4.5 or something like that. I have a fast (1.4) 50mm prime and also an 18-135 3.5.

What lens would you recommend I use for when I go?

I do have a tripod, but was hoping to not have to use it. I should probably bring it though.

I actually googled "what lens balloon launch" and your blog came up.


Sandy K. said...

Jen - I just left a message on your blog, the photo-a-day one, answering your questions about lenses. I thought I'd post it again here as someone else might be interested. We suggest the 300mm for getting in close, and isolating parts of the festival, and the wider angle zoom to catch environmental shots and wider views. The 50mm is a good prime lens, but won't be as flexible as you'll want, as some of the action goes pretty fast. For this event I was shooting with a 17-40mm, with a conversion factor, as it's a standard lens on a digital camera. The shot where you can see the flame was one Daryl took with his 200mm 2.8 lens. You can see where both lenses work in these situations. Daryl used a tripod, I did not. But I'm steadier than he is, as well. Have a wonderful time - I can't wait to see what you get!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so very much, I really appreciate it! The launch is this weekend,I am really excited. The launch is the first night, the second night is a glow with skydivers who do tricks, and the third night is another launch. :) I am not sure which night we are going to go, but I will be posting photos for sure.


Sandy K. said...

Please sounds fabulous. Where is it, by the way?