I was hired several weeks ago by a woman who wanted me to photograph the surprise birthday party of her mother who would be turning 90! I was also asked to photograph her mom as she was receiving her birthday present– a ride in a hot air balloon! I was supposed to photograph the scene, “mom” as the balloons were being inflated, “mom” as she took off in the balloon and also as she descended back to Earth. The first part would be easy but getting shots of the balloon as it came in for its landing would require me to follow the “chase vehicle” and hope to be able to park and hop out of my car, camera in hand, before the balloon touched ground. I didn’t even know if that would be possible. There would be 5 hot air balloons going up at the same time on that day with a few people from each of several families in each of the balloon baskets. At the last minute one of the operators from Air Escapes Ballooning asked me if it would be easier to photograph “mom” in her balloon if I was also up in a balloon? I thought yes, definitely! One of the balloon baskets had space for one more rider and so I eagerly and excitedly accepted the invitation to ride. My pilot Willie was a very nice man who kept me as close as possible to my client’s balloon. When we took off I was so busy taking pictures I didn’t even realize how quickly our balloon had risen. I took my eye away from the camera for a minute and was thrilled with a bird’s eye view of the Pennsylvania countryside. A hot air balloon ride is smooth and peaceful. I am thankful that I was given the opportunity to take a ride. I was able to get some nice photographs of my client in her basket and her balloon from above and below. I was also able to get a few shots of her balloon as it touched ground, before the chase vehicle even caught up to the balloons! I was able to get these photos as well as many other unique shots that I never would have been able to get if I was on the ground in my own vehicle. What a wonderful experience and adventure! I would like to thank my pilot Willie, as well as Air Escapes Ballooning for giving me the opportunity to take my first (but hopefully not last) hot air balloon ride. They all did an amazing job giving us a spectacular ride! If you have ever thought about taking a hot air balloon ride visit the websites and contact the pilots of Air Escapes Ballooning ( http://www.airescapesballooning.com/) or ClipAway Ballooning & Hobbies ( http://clipaway.net/).
Here are a few images of the balloon my client was riding in, taken from my balloon….