Hot Air Balloon Festivals:Capturing Pictures of Hot Air Balloons Taking Off

by Kerry Drager

Ballooning Festival 2a
Ballooning Festival 2a
© Kerry Drager
All Rights Reserved

Strategy for Capturing Those Great Pictures of Hot Air Balloons Taking Off

Get there early. Arriving when the "gates" open allows time to scout out things in a casual, pre-event atmosphere. You'll appreciate this strategy later, when the action is happening oh-so-very fast.

Incidentally, most spectators and photographers gather near the easy-to-reach main “stage,” but excellent balloons can also launch from the less-hectic fringes. Besides great colors, look for balloons with funny designs, slogans, and shapes. Be ready to catch crews in action, including the heating-up-the-air process that creates a mini-“fireworks” display during inflation. You may even want to ask crew members if you can poke your camera inside their backlit balloon.

Hot Air Balloons
Hot Air Balloons
© Peter K. Burian
All Rights Reserved

What To Shoot Besides Pictures of Hot Air Balloons Taking Off

Besides great colors, look for balloons with funny designs, slogans, and shapes. Be ready to catch crews in action, including the heating-up-the-air process that creates a mini-“fireworks” display during inflation. You may even want to ask crew members if you can poke your camera inside their backlit balloon.

Great surroundings? Then include the scenery as a backdrop. Ponds or lakes nearby? Watch for reflections.


Balloon Festival 3
Balloon Festival 3
© Susan and Neil Silverman
All Rights Reserved

What To Take for the Best Chance of Getting Great Pictures of Hot Air Balloons Taking Off

Don’t leave any lens behind! A telephoto or zoom lets you fill the picture frame with a splash of color and allows you to compress space by making balloons appear closer together than they really are. With a wide-angle, you can combine a close-up foreground with far-off balloons for a so-called "sense of place."

Pack any accessories you have, too. For instance, a polarizing filter can boost colors by reducing unwanted glare and by beefing up a pale-blue sky.


Lastly....

Remember the No. 1 balloon festival "rule": At any given minute, the best and brightest balloon is ALMOST ALWAYS rising too far away to shoot!

For information ... To Find balloon festivals and races in your area, go to: Search the Internet. Consult visitors bureaus, magazine listings, events calendars. Check local advertisements.

For inspiration ... See BetterPhoto.com’s exciting Pictures of Hot Air Balloons Taking Off gallery.



Article by Kerry Drager. To learn more about photography, explore the many online photography and Photoshop classes offered here at BetterPhoto.com.