When did I become a sucker for hot air balloons? I didn’t really know until now, but I’m suspecting a case of balloonitis. I had a great time taking pictures of the Moon Glow a few months ago in Cambridge, NY; these are still some of my favorite photos this year actually. I’ve been keeping an eye on festivals in the area since then, looking for more balloon on balloon action. When I heard about the SunKiss Balloon Festival in Hudson Falls, I didn’t really think twice and decided to check it out. We stopped for a few hours at the Saratoga Wine & Food and Fall Ferrari Festival on our way, and a minor traffic ticket later, I was parking at the Kingswood Golf Course. I can rationalize that ticket by blaming it on my excitement for the prospect of a rectangular balloon.
More photos below. Check the full-screen slide show on Flickr. Click on any of the thumbnails to open a larger view too.
I could not have asked for better conditions. The weather was beautiful, a gorgeous blue sky, the light was closing in on the Golden Hour, and the whole festival was well organized. A good crowd had gathered in the outskirts of Hudson Falls, old and young, everybody was having good, family-friendly fun.
I have to give credit to the balloonist community, they are the most accommodating people. They seem to have no problem with pesky photographers whatsoever. They have always helped me find good angles, peek inside the envelope, and get close to blistering hot burners. For people who handle 8-foot long scorching flames, they are pretty comfortable with spectators nearby. Even kids. Speaking of children, Mikey was tagging along and I could tell he was pretty excited by the opportunities too. We have the same camera at the moment, but different lenses that day; this might be interesting… or very much of the same.
This is my second time up close and personal with hot air balloons and I still wonder how they manage to take off so close to each other, without any incident. Some skills, really. I probably didn’t get my quota of hot air balloon as a kid in Frenchland, it’s thrilling to be so close to an object that size, right under these giants towering the crowd. They sway back and forth ever so gently, blocking out the sun every now and then. I catch myself keeping my head down when one dangles too close to the ground; something tells me I wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of this giant hug.
Picture above, one of the “special shape” balloon, Clown-N-Around. Born in Brazil, 110 ft tall, 70 ft wide, weighs 400 lbs. As if human-size clowns were not scary enough. Note the kids at safe distance. They know it’s hungry.
In the post header and above, American One. 53 feet tall, 78 feet wide, 29 feet from front to back, weighs 530 pound. It took quite a bit to inflate this behemoth, but the highlight of this 9/11 show didn’t disappoint. What a majestic rectangular… balloon! A giant inflatable bald eagle would have been the cherry on this cake. Click on a thumbnail for more.
Step inside the beast. Hopefully I’m not ruining the surprise. No unicorns there, just hot air.
The Adirondack Balloon Festival, the largest Hot Air Balloon Festival In New York, is only few weeks away. Weather permitting, the morning launch is a sight to behold, my friend Paul got a beautiful photo in 2008. It was raining when I tried last year, so I took my chance with this smaller, lesser known festival. If you plan on driving to the Adirondack Festival, make sure you start early, word is that traffic around the site is double-rainbow intense.
Mikey took photos of the event as well. A few pictures below, the rest can be found in his Flickr photoset.
Tags: hot air balloon