Prints that Pop – Photograph a Hot Air Balloon Festival!

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by Derrick Story– 

Do you have a box of high gloss or metallic paper that you’re just dying to use? A great subject for colorful, saturated printing is a hot air balloon festival. These events combine interesting people with vibrant imagery.

I’m a frequent visitor to the Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon Classic. This event isn’t nearly as large as the Albuquerque festival, but it does have the advantage of proximity. Photographers can mingle with pilots and crew in the launch area. This allows us to capture images that detail the entire process of ballooning. Keeping an eye out for local festivals in your area may provide similar access.

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Tips for Good Photos

1) Festivals usually start very early in the morning. Be there to take advantage of the excellent lighting conditions.

2) Bring a wide angle lens. Balloons are much larger than you might think when you’re in the launch area standing right next to them. A wide angle lens will allow you to create images with more colorful information.

3) Make sure you have a polarizing filter in your bag. Polarizers can help saturate colors. If the sky is blue already, don’t over-polarize, however. Using the filter at half strength should yield the best results.

4) Look for interesting details and people shots. It’s easy to become mesmerized by the giant balloons floating above your head. But these festivals have lots of interesting activity on the ground too. Keep an eye out for “up close and personal” compositions as well.

5) Consider going on a tethered ride. If tethered rides are offered at your festival, grab your camera and go up. You’ll get an entirely different perspective on the event.

Once you get home and sort your images, you’ll have plenty to choose from for your next printing session. Then just wait for the ooohs and aaahs as visitors admire your work hanging on the wall.

Follow Derrick at: www.thedigitalstory.com

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1 Comment

  1. Your comments for shooting balloon pictures are spot on. I use two lenses, a 10 – 24mm zoom and a 18 – 250mm zoom. Some of the best pictures are when the balloon is shot against great scenery.

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