While I tend to focus on nature photography, I’m always looking for new ways to flex my photography muscles, so I opted to attend this year’s Balloon Festival in Plano, Texas. This was my first time having an opportunity to shoot hot air balloons, and I also used this as an exercise in how to frame vignettes at an event.
Unfortunately with the weather we had, it was just too windy for any of the balloons to ever take off, and only a few were inflated while tethered to the field. There was a very brief window of opportunity where there was a sky diving team. Capturing pictures of them at rapid acceleration while trying to focus was quite a challenge. I did manage some halfway decent shots as a first for me. Later, after dark a few grounded balloons were inflated for the ‘glow’ when just after dark they allow the flame that helps to keep the air hot to set the balloons aglow from within. The challenge as a photographer is it is both dark, you have a range of balloons around you flickering light at unpredictable intervals, so getting things in focus is quite the challenge (or at least it was for me) because you go from very dark to very light with great randomness rapidly. It is much easier to content with steady light, even if it’s just steady low-light then to keep bouncing back between extremes.