Friday, October 21, 2011

Balloons!

My husband, my brother, and I had so much fun at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta this year! We decided to camp out rather than get a hotel and, despite being cold and rainy one night, it wasn't that bad. If you don't have a low-temp rated sleeping bag (or an RV), I would recommend a KOA Kamping Kabin for a trip like this. I haven't actually stayed in one (yet!) but the fact that they are heated, sleep up to four people, and cost only $10-20 more than a tent spot might make them worth it. Plus, they are half the price of a hotel, and you still have access to all the amenities of the KOA campground. A full review is forthcoming on these, because I have reservations to stay in a couple of different ones during a road trip next weekend.

Sorry if I always sound like an advertisement for KOA but they really have made my last couple of road trips so easy. I stayed at a couple of non-KOA campgrounds on Route 66 and the difference in the amenities and how I was treated by the staff was extreme. I'll never stay non-KOA for side-of-the-road camping again. I swear they don't pay me to say this stuff.

Anyway, back to the Fiesta! Here are a couple of tips for you if you ever plan to attend. I consider myself a veteran expert now that I have been to two of them!

1) Get there really early. It will take you approximately 30-45 minutes to get to the parking lots from the freeway exit. Plus, if you get there early, you can enjoy breakfast before the balloons go up.

2) Bring money to buy food there, because the food is so good. Our standing joke is "wow, it sure is nice that they have balloons at this breakfast burrito convention!" They also have mini-donuts, organic french press coffee, and much more for breakfast. For dinner, they have pretty much anything you could imagine including pizza, burritos, grilled cheese, fair-type food, etc.

3) Bring cash. For parking, admission, and food. There are ATMs, but not until you have parked and gone inside the gates.

4) Bring a camera. Duh.

5) If you are serious about getting good balloon glow photos and fireworks shots, a tripod is a must. Plus, if you set up a tripod in front of you, people are more likely to get out of your way.

6) Don't stop if you see someone taking a picture and try and wait for them. I know that's the "polite" thing to do but everyone is taking a picture, probably continuously, and it really isn't practical. In addition, this is the digital age, so they can just take another one if you get in it. I found it really annoying to have to keep ushering people by, just walk on through.

7) If you are trying to get pictures of your friends who are close to you (distance-wise), and also get the balloons in behind them, use the flash to fill in their faces. That early in the morning, your friends' faces will be dark in the shadow of the giant balloons. You can always adjust the brightness to fix any flash washout (if you're not using a diffuser cap) in a photo editing program later. It is easier to do that than try and brighten up your friends to make them visible.

Ok, I know you all just want to look at pictures of balloons, so here you go.

balloon fiesta

balloon fiesta

balloon fiesta

balloon fiesta

balloon fiesta

balloon fiesta

balloon fiesta

balloon fiesta

balloon fiesta

balloon fiesta

balloon fiesta

I haven't done any fancy editing with these, but I'm looking forward to experimenting with filters and such. I'll put more up shortly as I get more stuff edited.

5 comments:

  1. oh it looks like it was amazing!!! I can't wait to see your selected edits as well!

    I always smile when I see the balloons floating in the valley here on the way to work... something magical about them!

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  2. Really great pics! The firework one is especially awesome! It's really hard to take good firework pictures.

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  3. You has a great blog. I'm very like and interesting to stop here. Dont forget to give us your comment back at my blog here

    ReplyDelete
  4. Kim - thanks! It is really the coolest feeling to be down amongst the balloons as they ascend.

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  5. Mike - thanks babe! I love the fireworks.

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