In true Elliot-like fashion, I am now writing about a hot air ballooning event nearly three weeks after it had occurred. This time, I was a volunteer photographer on the media team for the Rio Grande Classic (hosted by the Top Gun Ballooning Club).
This ballooning event was a bit different than other ones that I have participated in. There were no general public spectators, and there was no established launch field. For this event, the balloons were expected to come to designated targets (there are other missions to complete but I won’t delve into that). There were also some restrictions on the photographers but, those restrictions simply needed the photographers to ask first, then proceed. Pretty easy going.
I was stationed at the target zone each day to photograph the hot air balloons’ approach, and the pilots/passengers tossing bean bag markers onto the target. Markers that best satisfy the conditions (like closest to center) were the highest scoring ones.
Would I photograph another balloon competition? I think I would. If you want to give it a go though, keep in mind that you will probably have very long days. For this balloon competition, the media team was briefed before the pilots. So, that translated to: “Arrive by 4:30 am". Since I worked each day for eight hours afterward, itwas an extremely tiring weekend. PTO is limited though so, uh, I guess I’ll be tired again next year!
Alright, enough ranting, let’s look at some photos.
Day 1 Photos
I got to photograph some of the balloons setting up before going to the second target (there were two targets set up that day) to capture photos there. Target was out in some fields with dirt road access. We weren’t expecting many balloons to make it to the second target, according to the wind forecast, however, many did make their way on over to us.
Day 2 Photos
Almost the same as yesterday. Watched a couple of balloons set up, and then rushed over to the single target. The target was out in a field that had dirt road access. Many balloons reached this target with a couple being rather far off.
Day 3 Photos
I was stationed at the target area which was placed in a park this time. This day was interesting as many balloons circled the target area but few made it in.