For my 100th posting to TrekEarth, I took a while to decide what to post, but eventually decided on this composition which combines two of my greatest interests – photography and hot-air ballooning. I have hundreds of photographs taken from balloons, but few of them are outstanding because in the main you are just looking down on the ground, and often you wouldn’t know whether the shot was taken from a plane or a bridge. So I decided to post this one of other people ballooning.
This photograph was taken in Yangshuo about one hour before the one that I posted yesterday. I had set my alarm early to get up to catch the sunrise over the Li River, and when I opened the curtains of my hotel room, I could see these two balloons taking off from the river bank on the other side of the river. It was still quite dark, but I grabbed my camera and shot about a dozen frames as they were lifting into the sky. Whenever one of the balloons would fire its burners, it would light up the full colour of the balloon which made a spectacular contrast against the still quite dark pre-sunrise sky. I waited for the two balloons to fire their burners at the same time, but they didn’t, so I had to be satisfied with this shot of one in full colour.
Those of you who are familiar with hot-air ballooning will know that the reason balloons take-off as early as possible in the morning (usually as soon as it is light enough to see) is that there are only a couple of hours after sunrise until thermals start to develop, at which time flying a hot-air balloon is much more difficult. Whilst there are no thermals around, pilots only have to worry about the katabatic currents (which is cold air traveling down the sides of hills and mountains) and these are much more predictable and easier for the balloon pilot to handle. A balloon pilot can only control the height of the balloon. Firing the burner heats the balloon envelope causing it to rise. The balloon will descend when the air has cooled, or the pilot can release some of the hot air through a flap in the balloon envelope causing it to descend faster or arrest an ascent. The direction of the balloon is determined solely by the wind, so the skill in flying a balloon is knowing how the air currents are going to behave around the landforms in the area that you are flying (and also making sure you don’t fly into any power lines when landing – probably the biggest hazard of flying a hot-air balloon).
PP: Cropped, slight adjustment to levels and USM. Please don’t tell me I have cloned the coloured balloon onto this – I know it looks like that, but I swear I have not cheated! I have not done any selective desaturation of this photograph - this is exactly as it looked on that misty morning.
Critiques | Translate
azerty (225) 2005-12-08 8:42
What a magic light in the sky
nice composition,beautiful simplicity
MOULIGVC (371) 2005-12-08 8:55
Wow david. REally this is an excellent. How you made it I dont know. one parachute has got colorful effect and rest of the background is in grey shade. Great
Nina (4971) 2005-12-08 8:55
Excellent capture David. Thanks to your note I now know how you did it.
gaby (19819) 2005-12-08 9:26
David bonsoir - nice to meet you on TE with this great, great shot - The leftbaloon has and incredible tone -
very well captured
capthaddock (28790) 2005-12-08 10:55
Hi David - congratulation on your 100th, and a great choice, the festive bright baloon really stands out among the drab colours. I never spared the expense, and later regtretted it, but what do these people expect to see in such dark and misty weather? Anyway fantastic note as usual.
shaas (162) 2005-12-08 12:09
An amazing shot! I can't believe how much the front balloon stands out! You have captured an excellent, excellent shot. :) Well done!
jbweasle (9393) 2005-12-08 15:06
Hi David, congratulations on your 100th post - I hope there's many more to come as I really enjoy your varied and informative gallery. You are celebrating your centenery in style with this fabulous shot. The balloon really stands out againsts the dark background. It's like one of those shots where the subject remains in colour but the background is desaturated in Photoshop - yet here the effect is real. Composition is great with the balloons off to the left and the second balloon neatly framed between mountain peaks. And those mountains! I love this karst scenery whenever I see it.
ahmet54 (3197) 2005-12-08 15:16
congratulations to your hundredth post, it is really a great shot. If you remember, I had posted one hot-air balloon at Yangshuo, and you were disappointed because it was on ropes. Your picture is a very special one because of the lit balloon. I've never seen it this way before. Thanks for sharing it.
berseph (1758) 2005-12-08 16:50
Absolutely amazing picture David. I love the contrast between the bright balloon and the dark clouds/mountains behind. Congrats
oochappan (16171) 2005-12-08 20:26
That's pleasant, how all the rest stays in half dark mono colortone this balloon colors up so well as contrast that it pulls immediatly all the attention, even the other balloon stays in the dark , congratulations David, a good shot for your n°100.
ngythanh (8572) 2005-12-08 21:01
Good evening, David:
In my opinium, you were a step ahead of National Geographic, in term of searching and finding the specialies of a location. Most of the photos from Guangxi show the Li river and the raft, from above looking down...
If I were editor of NGM, I would shown "my" staffs your picture, and ask if any of them would like to return to cover from the earth looking up?
aloyho (6798) 2005-12-09 3:15
My congratulations for having reached the 100th post and what most fitting shot for this occasion. I love the atmosphere and the colourful balloon is most attractive and beautiful. I also find the faint silhouette of the mountains very interesting and compliment beautifully with the flying balloons. Excellent shot!!! All the best and thanks for the very informative note.
feather (51130) 2005-12-09 8:38
What a fantastic image to celebrate your century. Congratulations! The lit-up balloon is a fantastic capture and worth your patience. The secenery including those misty mountains (Limestone?)is a perfect background.
richtersl (3546) 2005-12-09 8:45
I think this is very effective with just one balloon firing up. It looks like a beacon of sorts in that dark misty sky. A very well-composed photograph, David!!
WorldGuru (176) 2005-12-09 10:14
Excellent choice for your 100th posting to TrekEarth David!
This balloon is really pretty fired up against the early dawn.
What a beautiful place to go ballooning! It seems like a balloon would make an excellent photography platform. I have never done any ballooning, but it seems like the chasers would have their work cut out for them across this terrain. Do you use chasers? In the modern age of cell phones and GPS; I reckon they could become obsolete.
Congratulations on #100!
mjdundee (4663) 2005-12-09 10:37
You have chosenthe very right one to celebrate your 100 post. Fantastic shilouette of trees and limestone mountains. Great DOV thanks to the second balloon.
What a great compo. TFS. Thomas
Kenny10pin (19301) 2005-12-09 19:12
great movie title, I like the air balloon here, very good light control too, the mountains at the back are great well done
riclopes (35577) 2005-12-10 3:50
Congratulations for your 100th post. I think it was a very well chosen. The shot is magnific. Seeing only that one in colours and everything else in the dark misty atmosphere is wonderful (sure one could think of cloning...). I love ballons as well, but I have never tried one, because of the very expensive trip. I have though, taken many shots of them in Capadocia, problably the only place where I really would like to try the ballon trip.
I love the composition with the balloon on the left and that marvellous landscape of Yangshuo on the background. Very good note as well.
Thanks a lot for sharing and caught my attention,
kensimage (8565) 2005-12-10 16:55
Nice placement of the balloons in the frame, David, especially the unlit one relative to the mountains. A lot of wonderful atmosphere here (and I don't mean just the one they're floating in.) It must have been a magic moment, to be there! Regards, Ken.
skeelerik (763) 2005-12-13 10:12
Get up so early and then cheating. That's unbelievable. So I believe your shot is authentic and a very nice one. I love the misty mood and the layers of mountains in the background. By the way congrats with your 100th post. Keep shooting! CU, Erik
PLD_images (7149) 2005-12-13 16:05
A great photo David. It almost looks like a B/W photo. The colorfull balloon, makes for a really special feeling in the photo. Good timming getting the flame to light up the balloon.
Really nicely done.
AiresSantos (56155) 2005-12-14 4:09
Hi David, simply but very nice composition !
The graphism is excellent. I like the contrast between the coloured balloon and remaining picture.
Very well captured.
Thanks and best wishes, Aires
PixelTerror (0) 2005-12-14 4:56
Congratulations on your 100th post !
I like the view of course for the balloons, it seems to me they loose theur color as they get far ! The foreground lit one is an excellent contrasting splash of color in this mostly grey photo, it also adds the festive dimension fitting to you rpersonal celebration.
Have a nice day,
prumod (8300) 2005-12-15 2:48
it's is really special one... the dull background with the bright baloon at the foreground is very attractive...
Ebbe (9617) 2005-12-17 16:39
That flare of light in all this grey really makes the picture. The ofside position of the main balloon is well chosen too.
chaity (1539) 2005-12-21 1:46
Hi David, you caught the balloon lighted up at the right moment. Nice calors for the balloon against the dark background.
Amellia (1862) 2005-12-26 10:28
wow ale niesamowity bajkowy widoczek
wspaniale zaakcentowany zosta³ poprzez kolory balon na pierwszym planie, a ta delikatna mgie³ka która przykrywa w dalszym planie góry dodaje w³a¶nie tego bajkowego klimatu, super, bardzo mi siê podoba, bravo;)))
fireflyz (2097) 2005-12-30 20:03
congratulations on your 100th post!! this is a very interesting activity (sport?) and you captured it well here. I like the light and the mood of the moment. Happy New Year!!!
Didi (60588) 2006-01-01 3:24
Lees conditions météorologiques difficiles ne vous a pas empêché de faire une bonne composition.
Le cadrage est très appréciable.
The difficult weather conditions did not prevent you from making a good composition. Framing is very appreciable.
Happy new year.
keribar (43841) 2006-01-02 15:18
Like a fireball tha balloon explodes amidts the gray " Chinese etching " like scenery. The contrast is amazing, and I congratulate you.
Happy New Year - Izzet
lestans (17168) 2006-01-03 9:15
Fantastic the two balloons, one so clear and the other one dark!! Nice to see balloons in Yangshuo landscape and atmosphera. And a very interesting note, I didn't know anything about balloons!
thebig_d81 (777) 2006-01-18 12:15
Just amazing. Love how the colour shines out of the baloon while the background is dark and black.
Well done on the composition
jafadabret (56501) 2006-01-21 5:43
David, c'est une des plus belles photos de montgolfières que j'ai vues. J'aime beaucoup cette montgolfière éclairée devant un paysage presque nocturne.
vinicio (23423) 2006-01-23 1:56
Hello David, very interesting note and a well done picture, the illuminated ball is illuminating :-)
TFS, great image and composition.
david (3992) 2006-02-24 11:37
wow david! that's very cool ... great to see you capture that shot at the exact moment they fire the cylinders!
i love the contrast it creates against the monotone background. very lucky capture! well done!
Theana (623) 2006-02-24 11:45
I would say that despite "only" one balloon fired its burners this is quite an impressive photograph. It must have looked even greater when you saw it for real and I like such misty images with some item or person or something else standing out. Very beautiful!
cliffchappell (223) 2006-02-28 9:12
You threw a couple of points my way, so I had to come and see some of your work. Impressive! I had to start in China, I really love the country. This is a GREAT shot. I've not been to this part of the country, but I will. The mountains of this area are always what I thought of first when thinking of China, well, before I visited the first time 8-).
elmec (12210) 2006-04-13 15:09
I like the burning baloon!
Great is the fog in the back!
Very interesting place and theme!
- Copyright: David Astley (banyanman) (7789)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2005-09-12
- Categories: Decisive Moment
- Camera: Nikon D100, Nikkor AF-S 24-120/3.5-5.6G ED
- Exposure: f/4, 1/60 seconds
- Photo Version: Original Version
- Theme(s): Montgolfiers, Blogger slideshow [view contributor(s)]
- Date Submitted: 2005-12-08 8:08
- Favorites: 1 [view]