After shooting the Northwest Art & Air show – I was pining to get some shots from a balloon. As it turns out – a friend from work is a hot air balloon pilot –and he offered a ride in his balloon in exchange for some crew hours.
First thing – I grabbed some leather gloves – and helped unpack and inflate the balloon. Then it was about 60 minutes of flight – and after landing in a farmer’s field – we packed it all up. At the brunch following the flight (good food!) – I was treated to the first flight ritual. I think this practice changes a bit from group-to-group – so I won’t post any spoilers here.
As for the photography – I’ve not had much aerial shooting experience. My thoughts going in was to look for interesting features, buildings, and patterns. If later I decided to deviate from the plan – at least I started with a plan.
So, how did I do? Well – patterns are more difficult to shoot than it sounds. My warehouse images were pretty boring. And farm animals – really – how many more farm animal pictures does the world need? OK – there’s likely room for a few more – but I’m not sure they’re going to come from my camera.
As obvious as it may sound – it’s different up there. Shooting straight down requires good composition – as it will likely be a “flat” image – without a lot of depth / layers. Contrast will help tell your story. Horizon / landscape shots also require care – a mountain is still a mountain regardless if you’re at sea level or 1000 feet up. What additional interesting element is going to entertain your audience?
Lenses? Started with the 24mm for launch – but quickly swapped over to the 70-200mm f/4L. I didn’t put the polarizer on as I wasn’t shooting much sky in my images – though looking back at the session – I’d likely try it if there were a “next time”.
Bottom line 2: If you get the chance to go up in a hot air balloon – and heights don’t concern you – go for it.