Afternoon at the Balloon Fiesta.....

by Russell Smith October. 16, 2019 143 views

Ok I have mentioned the EOS-R in my first post on the Fiesta. I do not think I mentioned my thought process about new gear on a trip. It is a very bad idea. You will miss shots well lets say I did miss shots because I did not know the camera that well. Yes it is a Canon product and I shoot with Canon but it is a very different beast than what I shoot with. So if you are thinking about gear for a trip get it early enough to use enough that you build up a muscle memory and you do not have to think about the tool instead you can concentrate on the images (in this case).

Now onto the show. We planned on seeing the evening events aka "Glow". Waking up at 0300 in the morning maybe even 0230 that did not sound appealing to any of us. 1530 or 3pm was much more appealing to us and we figured that it would provide a better opportunity for an enjoyable memory. One of the first stops was by the Canon booth so I could see if they had an EOS-R available.

Chainsaw sculpting show and product sale.

Chainsaw sculpting show and product sale.

The first 20 or 30 shots that I took with it went into the trashcan but I expected that as those shots were testing and making sure there were no other settings that I needed to tweak.

There was a parachute team that jumped out of the plane and put on a show once at 430ish and the second time was at 730ish (I did not photograph the second one).

I can not imaging the weight pulling down on the parachutist because of the weight that is helping the flag display correctly and the size of the flag was huge.

After this we went over to see the Pilots (balloon) briefing. Weather, Safety, what not kind of briefing.

It was a neat window into some of the behind the scenes for the pilots.

The king of the balloons - or the main sponsor of this event.

The king of the balloons - or the main sponsor of this event.

When we were passing this grey balloon I heard the roar of the propane burners and turned around to get this shot. Sparking a curiosity I asked a Pilot if I could watch him set up the balloon from start to floating . He was all too happy to show me what is what and tell me about how or what was going on.

They were stretching out the balloon from the bag that it was stored in. The black lines are where the guide-wires (for a lack of better terms) were housed. These ran the length of the balloon and were attached on a ring at the top of the balloon.

The wires connect to the basket and the yellow and black material is made of Nomex - A fireproof/resistant material because this is the part of the balloon that is closest to the flame from the burners. The rest of the balloon is made of a rip-stop nylon material.

The balloon was fully laid out and as you can see other balloons were in the process of being inflated so they stood up.

The fan on the lower left side of the frame was gas powered and well used to cold inflate the balloon.

As you can see the balloon is getting full of air. Almost time for the heat.

There are two burners that are independent of each other. Each one has its own fuel tank and burner controls. The blue flame is about 2million B.T.U.s so I think it can cook a roast in a few seconds hehe.

Here he is in the basket and in a few seconds they balloon basket will be standing upright.

Not pictured is the crewmembers who were holding the guide ropes to help make sure it would not blow around and create a hazzard.

The yellow flame is not as hot or efficient for fuel and heat output but it does make for pretty colors illuminating the balloon from the inside.

I think when I go to this event again a wider angle (wider than 24mm on full frame) is in store . Outside of the shots that I missed while fumbling with the gear there were a few shots that I could not get because well focal length was missing either on the wide or telephoto end of things.
Unfortunately for me it was time to move on because everyone was ready to see more . I say unfortunate because he had just offered for me to climb into the basket and grab some shots of Fruit Loops (the name of the balloon).

The mountains in the background were beautifully lite up for about 10 min while the sun bathed them in a golden glow.


As the sun was getting low in the horizon I noticed a beautiful glow. One major advantage of Mirrorless is the EVF . What you see is what you get for an exposure and well with canon and the front ring on the eos-r lenses it made it super easy to change shutter speed, aperture on the command dials on top of the camera and iso on the ring of the lens. I was able to get this shot the way I wanted on the first attempt with my normal camera it would have taken 2 or 3 shots and some "chimping" or checking the back of the camera.

In the next post I will continue with the afternoon now evening/nights events.

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Antonio Gil 1 month ago

Great report and dynamic in this one Russel. I almost did buy the canon EOS-R.

1 month ago Edited
Jay Boggess 1 month ago

Good advice on the new gear use! Exciting fire shots! Thanks for sharing your experience!+1

1 month ago Edited
Wayne Scott 1 month ago

Thanks for sharing. I really enjoyed the “commentary” of what was happening with each shot.

1 month ago Edited
Russell Smith Replied to Wayne Scott 1 month ago

Thank you. For me it was amazing how much I learned about the art and craft of hot air balloons in a 20 or 30 min timeframe. Things I would have never even considered.

1 month ago Edited
Jolien Dekens 1 month ago

Interesting post! And I agree, I also love the EVF of a mirrorless camera. It makes life so much easier smile

1 month ago Edited
Russell Smith Replied to Jolien Dekens 1 month ago

It was a refreshing change for me although I have used one briefly when I was helping get my moms camera setup.

1 month ago Edited
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