This is probably a first for this blog. The post you are about to embark on has absolutely nothing to do with motorcycling. With the small exception that I rode Elvira to this event. Maybe there's some sort of connection between hot air balloon pilots and motorcyclists. I'll leave that to you.
I rode early in the morning to the NW Air and Art Fair. This three day event is marked by hot air balloon launches. This was the first day. Forty two balloons rose to become jewels in the sky.
My thought here was to just share some of the photos from the morning. A couple of things were noteworthy. The balloons lend themselves to pictures. They are beautiful craft without a doubt. Secondly, it was the first time I've gone to an event like this and felt like I sort of knew what I was doing with a good camera. These pictures were taken without the aid of any automatic help from the Nikon. Actually, I did use the aperature priority setting for a few shots. This is the also my maiden voyage in using the camera on fully manual settings. The summer spent studying the subject has increased my confidence level, if not competence level! My brain is filled with the image of aperature, shutter, and ISO settings fighting each other to stay balanced on the seesaw.
So here are the photos. I'm only going to offer a couple of comments in between. I hope you enjoy the photos!
Not a bad way to start a day. He's surrounded by color!
This next photo was by special invitation. I must have looked like I knew what I was doing. A woman from the balloon crew asked me if I wanted a unique shot. She then invited me to snap a quick photo from the top cap of the balloon. This is the opposite of what you usually see.
The fire shot is harder than it looks. You have to catch it at exactly the right time. Once the flame starts, it's hot and blue in no time. Efficient, but not photogenic. This took a few tries.
This guy is not in a basket, if you notice. He's hanging from a harness with the burner strapped to his back. My kind of pilot! This photo convinced me I need to buy a lense bigger than 200 mm. I'm also quite thankful for the tripod!
This is from playing around with PhotoShop. The balloons look kind of cool to me all wrapped in plastic.
Have a nice day! Once the balloon is in the air, only other pilots will see the smiley face. I guess there's a payoff for coming to the launch.