Happy Flight

The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta in New Mexico is an event that began in 1972 as a 50th birthday celebration for a local radio station. The event is...
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The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta in New Mexico is an event that began in 1972 as a 50th birthday celebration for a local radio station. The event is now the largest ballon festival in the entire world and is held annually in early October.The event has seen as many as 1,000 balloons in a single year, but is now restricted to 600, under the quality over quantity mentality. This shot was taken during my first flight.
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Magnificent Capture
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One Of A Kind
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32 Comments | Report
AlanJakarta PRO+
AlanJakarta December 23, 2013
A marvelous shot taken from a great viewpoint. Congratulations.
WileKyK Platinum
WileKyK December 23, 2013
Awesome composition! Congratulations on your Feature!
iceman2 December 23, 2013
Beautiful shot.Congrats!
catini December 23, 2013
Great composition, congrats on your feature!
LindaDLester December 23, 2013
I was there this year and it was awesome! Wonderful shot ! Congrats on feature!
rmr731 Platinum
rmr731 December 23, 2013
Wow - awesome shot! Congrats!
BowmanLifeStudios December 23, 2013
Cool perspective Shooting over the top of the one balloon with all the others behind it. Congrats on the feature.
VictoriaKCampbell December 23, 2013
Awesome shot. Congrats on the feature. :)
brentmorris December 23, 2013
HelenRea PRO+
HelenRea December 23, 2013
Congratulations...very nice work from above! :)))
333KimmySue December 28, 2013
Totally Awesome! Congrats!
mike_flood January 04, 2014
Great shot. Not just another "hey look at those balloons"
RhondaMcD January 04, 2014
I've been to this Fiesta (25th Kodak Anniversary in 1996) and this is a great capture..Congratulatons
kunalbais January 08, 2014
readysetgo January 09, 2014
Great shot!!
hayleycook January 10, 2014
Love the monkey balloon! Lovely capture
olliegriffiths January 13, 2014
Cool snap!
huch5150 March 07, 2014
Are You kidding!!!! That's a wow!
FJWalker November 22, 2014
Great image. It has a surreal feel
rhamm December 07, 2014
I love balloons. Great shot
sydneyosbourne January 25, 2015
cometolifephotography Premium
cometolifephotography February 02, 2015
I think this would have to rank as the best balloon shot I have seen. Wonderful.
CLG_ February 17, 2015
Really awesome perspective!! Love this!! Congrats & well deserved!! :))
jamest5905 March 05, 2015
Amazing shot
DarkStarPhoto March 05, 2015
Great photo!
DonHackett Ultimate
DonHackett March 05, 2015
Dream shot! I for one will never get to see from this perspective. Love the photo.
pamelainob March 07, 2015
Great perspective!
tonybruguiere March 31, 2015
Outstanding work. This one has been on my bucket list for a long time. The closest that I have come is a rally in Walden, Colorado. Tons of fun, but not Albuquerque!
Lindagouverneur June 08, 2015
Brilliant! Amazing picture.
cmorisset PRO+
cmorisset October 06, 2019
Very cool shot. Well done, love it!
jleighkelley PRO+
jleighkelley February 05, 2020
Great shot! It is a beautiful sight that we see here every year! I am so fortunate to live in an area that has not only man-made beauty, but a lot of nice natural beauty as well. Really nice shot!!
clintfisher July 22, 2020
OH MY!!!
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Behind The Lens

From the basket of a flying hot air balloon at the annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta in New Mexico.
Just after 8:00am.
Based on the nature of the image natural light was the only option and it was coming from right of the scene. The sun had crested the horizon about 15-20 minutes before I took this image. If you look closely at some of the smaller balloons you can see a fairly hard shadow on the left side of the balloons.
Nikon D800, Nikon 24-70 f/2.8
The composition of my images is usually a reflection of how a moment or setting makes me feel. The experience for me is very sensory and I compose my images based on my feelings and what I have the strongest emotional response to. When I saw the mass ascension of balloons I wanted to convey the scope of balloons both near and far. I also had this overwhelming feeling like all of the smaller balloons were rising out of the big balloon in the foreground. Included in these things I wanted to convey the number of balloons in the sky at one given time, as well as the physical size of the balloons in relation to how near or far they are from the observer.
The majority of post processing was to the large balloon in the foreground. I did some dodging and burning to get the exposure on the balloon just as I wanted it, I also added some sharpness and additional saturation to make the larger balloon pop. I did a small amount of exposure adjustments and cropping to the entire image, to get the scope and frame I wanted. This image was one in which a minimal amount of post processing was needed. I don't feel that the quality in the balloon would've been retained in the same way if I hadn't of shot RAW, so I would really recommend shooting RAW at all times.
In my camera bag
Nikon D800 Nikon 24-70 f/2.8 Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 Nikon 16-35 f/4 Nikon 50 f/1.4 Nikon 60 f/2.8
The biggest advice I can offer others is to put yourself in situations that inspire you. Second I would recommend wearing your camera as if it's an accessory, always have your camera on you or easily available. One of the biggest challenges for capturing this image was timing. The balloon I was in was rising along with all the balloons around me, so I had to to have some foresight on what I wanted my image to look like and then I had to wait until all the elements aligned and then shoot. A quick summary of how this particular image was captured was; I had a really strong emotional response to the scope of balloons near and far, I mentally created an idea of what I wanted the image to look like and then I had to wait until all the elements lined up and then I shot. When I was waiting for the elements to align I was taking a lot of test shots, I really encourage digital photographers to shoot test shots to ensure you're getting the image the exact way you want it. The last thing I will say is be conscious of your setting, many times as photographers we are consumed with what's directly in front of us, when a great image is right behind us. Be aware of everything and keep your head on a swivle.

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