I just got back from the annual Reno Balloon Race. What an awesome event. Last year was my first visit and thoroughly enjoyed it so I decided to return this year. And I was not disappointed!
While getting up at 3:30am is painful, once you are out on the field among all the activity and spectacular colors, the horrors of that alarm clock are quickly forgotten.
The event starts with a Glow Show, where several balloon are inflated in the pitch black. The burners light up the inside of the balloon like a lightbulb, providing a spectacular view. Then there is the Dawn Patrol where a few of the balloons ascend in the dark. Apparently you need a special license for this so there are only a few balloon that go up at this time.
The shot below is of one of those early risers that had drifted off towards the rising sun. In between bursts of the burners, I liked how it silhouetted against the sky with the hills forming an interesting line along the bottom of the frame. Whil eI realize this shot contrasts what I have just been saying about the spectacular colors of the balloons, I find this shot portrays the sense of peace and quiet that hot air balloons seem to exude. There is no sound other than the odd “whoosh” of the burner. It’s very peaceful.
Last year I had seen some pictures of balloons reflected in water and I was determined to find out where those had been taken. Turns out there is a pond nearby that provides the perfect mirror-like effect, if the conditions are right! When I got there, there was a family of ducks floating around, seriously disturbing the water, causing more ripples than one can imagine and totally destroying any chance of nice still water for reflections! I seriously debated whether or not to go and fling a few rocks in their general direction to scare them off, but thought better of it. I do like animals and the poor ducks were just doing what ducks do. However, no sooner had I resigned myself to the idea of no reflections when the ducks upped and left, leaving the pond to settle into a glass-like state.
So here is the shot with the colors I was alluding to earlier. Just spectacular reds, greens, blues, golds and purples.