A Bird’s Eye View. . .
Standing on the Fiesta field and watching the balloons ascend can be exhilarating BUT being a passenger ON one of the balloons is a whole different world!
Being up there with the special shapes and the teardrops was unbelievable! I didn’t know which way to turn in the gondola. Fire away! With a couple of different lenses I was able to draw in those inflatables that had wandered away. Then looking down, I could see others filling up with hot air, getting ready to launch. Off to the left there was a special shape trying to land while a pack of them just drifted by. . .
My “hop” was scheduled for thirty minutes after which we would land and the second group of riders would take off. As luck would have it, our pilot could NOT find a safe landing spot, so we stayed up for the full sixty minutes! And, all I had was three cameras and about twenty rolls of film!
On the ground the gondola and balloon need to be secured. It is common practice to see cars pulling over to lend a hand - the gondola weighs several hundred pounds and needs to be bundled on the back of the chase vehicle.
If you are planning to spend some time at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, treat yourself to a “hop” on one of the passenger balloons - pricey but well worth it!
Happy flight, Joe
© Joe Kennedy Photography