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  1. #1
    Member xystren's Avatar
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    Balloon Race - Galena IL - June 20th

    It's been a while since I've posted anything. I've been tied up with the books for school and other activities that have kept me from getting online.

    For fathers days weekend, my girlfriend Katie and I took a couple days and drove out to Galena. As it turned out, it was the weekend of their annual balloon race, which as you can imagine is great for some photo opportunities.

    As it turned out, Katie had purchased me a balloon ride.. Note that's singular, just me, not us. She doesn't like heights, stairs, ladders, etc. so a balloon ride --she would not have a thing to do with it.

    So this is one of these activities that start out early in the morning, 4am in this case. Mornings and I don't mix. As far as I am concerned, morning is a four letter word with ing on the end of it. So after paying and signing one's life away (notice they make you pay beforehand, or as Katie would say "before they kill you")), I headed down to the balloon for the inflation process. Large gasoline powered fans are used to blow air into the balloons before they use the flame thrower.



    And after a little bit, I was invited to take a peek on the inside.



    In a little bit, after they have burned the propane we all climb into the gondola. At it turns out, there was about 12 of us, plus the pilot that climbed in. We took off fairly quickly, after a couple blast of the burner.





    As you can see there are quite a number of balloons being inflated.









    And now we begin to get a bit of altitude.



    For the most part, it was a pretty relaxing and enjoyable time. We were chasing on of the other balloon that our pilot had trained. It was his turn to pick the landing spot...



    We followed right in behind him... You can see the chase vehicle that follows from the ground. By the time we were done, we had gone about 30 miles or so (as the balloon flies). A bit longer by ground.



    So after we landed, which was a surprisingly soft landing, the balloon was deflated, packed up, and loaded on to our chase vehicle (which arrived about 15 minutes later)

    I immediately texted Katie, and let her know I was safely on the ground and that everything went well, and I was still alive. She texted me back with great relief, and said she was worrying about how she would break the news to my parents and children in things didn't go well and how she had killed me. Fortunately nothing like that happened.

    But the next day, they had a night balloon show. This was something I had never head of. Simply, they balloons are setup, tethered, and when night comes, they blast the burners, they light up. Pretty amazing to see... Unfortunately the pictures don't do justice, but I will show the ones I have...











    So needless to say, it was a very enjoyable weekend.
    Last edited by xystren; 06-28-2009 at 02:31 PM.
    Cheers,
    Greg

    ---
    Canon Digital Rebel XTi
    Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 XR Di II VC (new favorite)
    EF-S IS 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6; EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III; EF 50mm f/1.8 II
    Sony CyberShot DSC-V1

  2. #2
    Member EverlastingImpressions's Avatar
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    Re: Balloon Race - Galena IL - June 20th

    Wow, I bet that was an unforgettable experience! I don't know that I would be comfortable going up, but it sure makes for some wonderful pictures!

  3. #3
    Ex-Modster Old Timer's Avatar
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    Re: Balloon Race - Galena IL - June 20th

    Very neat series of images. I almost did this last summer but thought better of it, now I kind of wish I had carried through with it. Looks like an exciting experience. thanks for sharing it with us through pictures.
    Don't forget about the Gallery. Are your photos there??


    Nikon Samurai #13

    "A photographer is known by what he shows not by what he throws. The best photographers have the biggest trash cans." Quote from Nikon School sometime in the early 1970's.

  4. #4
    Nature/Wildlife Forum Co-Moderator Loupey's Avatar
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    Re: Balloon Race - Galena IL - June 20th

    Fantastic series and I bet an unforgettable experience for you!

    I love the night scenes but my favorite is #2 - WoW!

    Thanks for sharing your experience with us.
    Please do not edit or repost my images.

    See my website HERE.


    What's a Loupe for anyway?

  5. #5
    Member xystren's Avatar
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    Re: Balloon Race - Galena IL - June 20th

    Quote Originally Posted by Old Timer
    Very neat series of images. I almost did this last summer but thought better of it, now I kind of wish I had carried through with it. Looks like an exciting experience. thanks for sharing it with us through pictures.
    Thanks for the comments OT,

    Yeah, it's something to experience. I don't mind heights that much, so I didn't have that issue. But for the equipment and stuff, it's consider the same as a small aircraft. Each of them have a FAA N number, each pilot is licensed, so there is some degree of regulation. When you think about it, hot air balloons tend to deal with "obstacles" better than most air craft as they will "bounce and roll around it" as apposed to trying to go "through it."

    I'd recommend the experience to all.
    Cheers,
    Greg

    ---
    Canon Digital Rebel XTi
    Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 XR Di II VC (new favorite)
    EF-S IS 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6; EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III; EF 50mm f/1.8 II
    Sony CyberShot DSC-V1

  6. #6
    Member xystren's Avatar
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    Re: Balloon Race - Galena IL - June 20th

    Quote Originally Posted by Loupey
    Fantastic series and I bet an unforgettable experience for you!

    I love the night scenes but my favorite is #2 - WoW!

    Thanks for sharing your experience with us.
    Thanks Loupey,

    Unforgettable experience, and pretty amazing to be able to take a walk around inside the inflating balloon. I wish I had an even wider angle lens for that one. I think a fish-eye perspective would have been even better.

    thx for the comments.
    Cheers,
    Greg

    ---
    Canon Digital Rebel XTi
    Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 XR Di II VC (new favorite)
    EF-S IS 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6; EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III; EF 50mm f/1.8 II
    Sony CyberShot DSC-V1

  7. #7
    Member xystren's Avatar
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    Re: Balloon Race - Galena IL - June 20th

    Quote Originally Posted by EverlastingImpressions
    Wow, I bet that was an unforgettable experience! I don't know that I would be comfortable going up, but it sure makes for some wonderful pictures!
    When your in the gondola, it's amazingly "solid." There isn't much (if any) swinging, and it's made out of a tubular aluminum, so it's really "solid." Really it's like your standing on the ground, except that piece of the ground can be 3000' or so high.

    Regardless, wonderful experience, and great photo-opportunity.

    thx for the comments,
    Cheers,
    Greg

    ---
    Canon Digital Rebel XTi
    Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 XR Di II VC (new favorite)
    EF-S IS 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6; EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III; EF 50mm f/1.8 II
    Sony CyberShot DSC-V1

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