Recently I attended a balloon ascension event at the Turf Valley Resort in Ellicott City, MD.  Arriving at 6:00 am on a chilly Saturday morning there were very few people in attendance which provided the opportunity to stake out a nice vantage point. Spotting a few trailers on the grounds, the issue was settled.

Let the unloading begin… a basket is assembled.

Next, the unpacking of the actual balloon.

After unpacking all of that canvas, it’s time to stretch it out and prepare to inflate.

The fan in the image above is what starts the inflation process. It may look like an ordinary house fan but this is a very powerful unit, the results of which you’ll see below.

Let’s have an inside look.

The small fan has done a nice job of getting things started but now come the heat, what hot air ballooning is all about.

This torch (not sure of it’s proper name) is powered by propane and produces a tremendous amount of hot air which causes the balloon to rise as seen in the next image.

The end result…

a fully inflated hot air balloon. As you can see the balloon is tethered, which was a disappointment. Someone told me that the launch window had been missed so they had to stay near the ground, offering rides to several hundred feet. I had envisioned a mass ascension, and although there were quite a few balloons at the event, that did not occur.

I have many images of the others, which we will save for some future posts.

We will close out with this airborne shot.

The white spot in the left frame is a half moon. I also removed the tether lines, which really cluttered this shot.

Yes, this post was full of hot air but I hope you enjoyed the ride. :-)

Thanks for clicking by!

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21 Responses to Hot Air Ballooning

  1. Chantal says:

    I did take a ride ones, amazing experience
    Chantal recently posted..Buddha 1/2

  2. What a cool series of images Jimi. I really like the shots with the flame shooting into the balloons.
    Steven Perlmutter recently posted..Annisquam River

  3. Very cool imagery, Jim. I love the saturated colors. Did they have a balloon glow?
    John Sotiriou (@NABZphoto) recently posted..Capitol Hill

  4. Jim Nix says:

    nice one Jimi, I shot a similar event in Austin long ago and it was fun! great colors too!
    Jim Nix recently posted..Sunrise can be magical

  5. Mark Neal says:

    Great images, Jimi. Really like how you handled the colors. Looks like others have done similar events. I did a national championship race a few years back. Before HDR. Maybe I should resurrect some of my chromes for a little tone mapping. :)
    Mark Neal recently posted..HDR – Lens Correction – A Short and Simple Sample HTDS

  6. Edith Levy says:

    Fantastic post and images Jimi. I absolutely love the “let’s have a look inside” shot and the final image. Great work.
    Edith Levy recently posted..Take a Trip to Mars

  7. Adam Allegro says:

    Some awesome shots Jimi. Love the ones with the fire! These balloons are so colorful! Perfect for photography. I have always wanted to shoot these… One day. Nice work!
    Adam Allegro recently posted..A Nighttime Stroll in the Colosseum

  8. Great photo easy – love the shots of the flame going inside the balloon as it fills up
    Corporate Photography recently posted..Environmental Corporate Photography

  9. Michael Davis says:

    I have to confess, that’s absolutely wonderful. Excellent piece of work there. The angles are eye calming.

    Thanks for sharing.
    Michael Davis recently posted..How to Find Russian Girls in the USA

  10. A.Barlow says:

    So freaking cool. That was one of the main things on my list for this year to shoot.

  11. Curt Fleenor says:

    I’ve never been to a balloon ascension, that must have been a cool thing to shoot!
    Curt Fleenor recently posted..Take A Walk With Me

  12. Rick Louie says:

    I really dig the t/s affect on that third image!
    Rick Louie recently posted..Infinite Refraction

  13. Nice series of shots which tell the story perfectly, Jimi! Love the saturated colors in the balloon itself and the consistent processing approach you have adopted.
    Mark Summerfield recently posted..St. Ignatius Church, Port Tobacco, Charles County, Maryland

  14. ken bello says:

    Awesome shots, Jimi. Balloons are such a thrilling sight.
    ken bello recently posted..A NIGHT TO REMEMBER

  15. Jimi, I enjoyed my day woth the balloons and it looks like you did too. Nice series that tells a story!
    denise ippolito recently posted..Silhouettes

  16. Super series Jimi!
    Mike Criswell recently posted..Special Travel Perks

  17. Did you do any post production to the images? The colours seem really strong and vivid. Not just the ones with the colourful balloons but the grass and the sky.

  18. [...] You can see a series of other images of the event at [...]

  19. Great stuff Jimi I will have a go at using the vibrance slider.
    Corporate Photography recently posted..Business Headshots London