I am not kidding when I say it’s been YEARS I’ve been wanting to photograph the hot air balloons. Its not like there is a shortage of hot air balloon festivals in Michigan. But there were two criteria that had to happen for it to work: One, it had to be on a weekend with no art fair scheduled, and two, it had to be a show where we were allowed onto the field to photograph the balloons (there are shows that keep the field fenced off to the public). And, this year, the one show that met both of those criteria was the Metamora Hot Air Balloon Festival. Now, all I needed was the weather to cooperate. It’s not like we haven’t had the craziest of weather this summer, either! But, low and behold, the perfect storm of criteria came together and the balloons were good to go!
When Bryan Levy and I arrived at the field, the balloons were already laid out. As I already mentioned, this was my first time seeing them, so I had no idea what to do to prepare to photograph the balloons.
We noticed one balloon behind the field was starting to be inflated, so we walked over to it to see what it was. It was a pumpkin balloon! If you don’t already know, Halloween is my favorite holiday, and it was neat to see a couple of balloons with the Halloween theme.
Then, I looked over and saw the other balloons on the other side of the field were starting to be inflated! I ran over to the balloons, side-stepping the crowds, to get as close as I could to one of the balloons. I didn’t realize they first start inflating the balloon with a fan.
I watched as the fan blew air into the balloon, and as it was filling, I could see through it to the other side, silhouettes of people touching the balloon as it got bigger and bigger.
I loved the abstract shapes the balloons created as they continued to fill with air. This reminded me of a mountain range.
Once the balloons had enough air, the burner of the were turned on, shooting flames into the interior of the balloon. I was able to capture the flames on two of the balloons, which was the most dramatic part in my opinion, and I was glad I was able to get close enough to capture them.
And they’re off! Balloons started to lift all around me. I wish I could have captured them all!
As the balloons became smaller and smaller in the sky, I said “Bon Voyage” for this year. Thanks for the opportunity, and next year, I will capture a balloon glow!