Monday, October 11, 2010

Hot Air Balloon Fiesta

 Good Golly, I could never have imagined this scene!

 There's simply no possible way to describe 
 being on a  field with 900 hot air balloons.  A 
 photographer friend agrees that no photo can
 express it.  Art does better, she claims.

 I'd have to say that even being there in person 
 feels very nearly impossible, absolutely 

These guys may be struggling with their twisty balloon, but they're sure fun to watch.
One of the utterly wild things about the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
is that people are allowed anywhere on the field.  You feel as though you could hop in the wicker gondolas if you wanted.  But this crowd is so gentle and well-behaved, there are no worries.

 This is the inside of the "envelope" that holds the hot air that 
 makes the balloon ascend into the sky.  It's made of
 rip stop nylon with fire resistant nomex at the mouth
 to protect it from the propane fire that heats the air.

 In the foreground is the gondola or basket lying on it's side 
 while the envelope is filling with air.

 Here's my favorite purple balloon, filled with air, still
 lying on the ground beside other filled balloons as their
 pilots wait to hear the call,
 "Go Vertical."  Is that not adorable?
               So now that she's vertical, she still has to wait for the "Thumbs Up" signal that
assures her pilot that the air space above is clear for "Lift Off!"

And, yep, there's, well, ...serious kitsch....

And now I'm ending at the beginning: the first shot of the morning.  The flame is the flicker burn before the Dawn Patrol's ascension.  The sky is pitch black; dawn hasn't claimed it yet.  The golden fire on black sky is heart-stoppingly gorgeous.  Every person in the crowd quivers with anticipation of the balloon's release into the sky.  In a moment everyone will leap and cheer, and old timers will poke newcomers and crow, "you haven't seen anything yet!"

And The Balloonist's Prayer seems fitting for each person 
setting into this glorious day:

      May the winds welcome you with softness.
      May the sun bless you with its warm hands.
      May you fly so high and so well that God
      Joins you in laughter and sets you gently
      Back into the loving arms of Mother Earth.



  1. Wonderful pictures, Lynn. Must be magical to be there.

  2. You were there!???? So was I? What the heck!!!??? What days were you there? Oh my gosh, I am kinda freaking out.

    I went to the Farmington Festival two days early, right after National, and spent a few days in Albuquerque. I met two ladies who were on balloon crews. We hit it off and that was it! I was in the balloon crew. They worked on the Moo Crew (the Creamland Cow!) that you have a pic of.

    Go to my fb and go to my videos. I have a video of the small Creamland balloon going up.

    Wow, you captured it Lynn. There is NO way that pictures do it justice. It was so, so magical.

    I am glad that you got to experience that. I just wish I knew that you were there!