Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Up, Up, and Away

A few weeks ago, I took my 16-year-old son to a local university for parking practice. (Just to be clear on this — he was practising; I was instructing.) Our timing was good:  just as we arrived, a local company was launching hot air balloon rides. What an easy way to get dynamic pictures!

The italicized text is from Sundance Balloons.

We fly year round, twice a day, seven days a week weather permitting. We require light winds, good visibility and no precipitation.

[Translation:  we can fly about twenty days per year in this God-forsaken climate.]

At the launch site, you will watch with awe as your balloon takes shape before your eyes, ultimately standing more than 10 stories tall.

[Note the large fan at bottom left, forcing air into the balloon.]

Once fully inflated and ready for take off, you climb into the gondola and begin the adventure of a lifetime.

[Read:  …begin screaming for your Mama as you are overwhelmed by terror.]

During your flight you will drift silently over the countryside where you will watch for wildlife …

["Don't hit that porcupine, it looks sharp!"]

… and talk with envious onlookers down below.

["Tell my children I loved them!"]

There is no wind chill and very little feeling of movement or sensation of height. After drifting serenely for approximately an hour we prepare for landing.

[Serenely? Who are they kidding?!]

We fly at approximately 1000 feet above built up areas, but will come down to touch the tree tops or skim across the corn fields if we are out in the countryside.

[If I get anywhere near the ground, I'm outta here.]

Since we fly with the prevailing winds, our flight patterns and landing sites vary due to the changing wind directions. Once on the ground, we share in the oldest of ballooning traditions, a champagne toast.

[Not so. The oldest ballooning tradition is when we change into dry trousers.]

I'm cheating with this photo. I downloaded it from the Web some time ago, with no idea that I would be posting on this subject on my blog. I can't even direct you to the original site.

Whoever took it is more of an artist with a camera than I am!

There's a hot air balloon festival in September. I expect I'll revisit this subject with more photos then.


At 1:38 PM, June 29, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good work q. I love the comments.

You should consider going for a flight sometime. the pictures are better from the downward angle.

At 2:11 PM, June 29, 2005, Blogger Mary P. said...

Your sixteen year old son needs to be taught parking? And you're willing to teach him?? And he's willing to hear it from his father?? (Not that you aren't a master, I admit).

Oh, parking, not parking. The in-daylight, between-the-lines parking. Like, for his road test.

Silly me!

At 2:13 PM, June 29, 2005, Blogger Mary P. said...

I hope you don't mind, but I've tagged you for one of those internet games. You can check out my blog to see the rules.

At 2:18 PM, June 29, 2005, Blogger Bill said...

Q, I have seen the technique used to produce the last photo done many times.

If you want to capture it yourself try this..

Position yourself so the balloon is between you and the sun. (Drive around if you have to) Then stretch a piece of cellophane wrap over the lens (or better yet get a halo filter) before you take the picture.

To increase contrast and get the silhouette look, over expose slightly, by shooting for the sky. In other words don't meter off the balloon meter off the sun.

At 4:08 PM, June 29, 2005, Blogger Stephen (aka Q) said...

• Anon:
Thanks for the kind words. You have a good point about the opportunity to get some good photos from up there, among the clouds.

• Mary P.:
Not that you aren't a master [parker], I admit.

I appreciate the compliment, but I'm not sure where you got your information. For the record, I never go "parking" with anyone but Journeywoman.

• Bill:
I'm barely past the "point and shoot" stage. The only halo I know about is the one I wear myself, for my commendable fidelity to Journeywoman.


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