Photographer's Note

This photograph somewhat depicts the photographic orgy that is the "Balloon Glow" in St. Louis, Missouri's Forest Park. Every year there is a hot air balloon race here - the night before they inflate all the balloons and everyone in the world is invited to roam around underneath them as they spit enough fire in them to keep them inflated, but not enough to actually leave the ground. There are a few dozen large balloons that participate, so it is quite the spectacle. I had never been before. The experience reminded me of that scene in the movie "Jurassic Park" where the kids and the scientists see the brontosaurus and other prehistoric animals at the beginning when they first get to the island. It is wondrous and everyone is wandering around bumping into each other because they are completely taken by the scene. I mean, a whole city full of people come to this, I would estimate about 80 thousand people were in the park yesterday evening. It took us hours to get home because of the traffic.

Being a newbie at this had me at a distinct disadvantage.

First, they only do this for 1 hours. There are so many people that you have to watch out constantly for your gear. The light is ever-changing, so no standard setting works for all situations - well, except for the automatic modes which would not have been suitable for what I wanted to capture. Did I capture it? Well, I think I caught a few nice pics. I brought my tripod and tried to keep my ISO at 400. There is some motion blur because of this, but I don't think it detracts. I think it actually shows the viewer the confusion and festival atmosphere underneath the balloons.

One really amazing thing was how many photographers there were at this event. Of course! Everyone wants some shots of this, so I'm sure there will be a million photos of it posted on Facebook and elsewhere on the web. But it was astounding. At times I was standing in a group of several photographers with their DSLRs on tripods, each person and camera faced a different direction and a different angle and other times I was with soccer moms and their kids trying to avoid all the flashes from their point n shoot cameras. Then there were the young adults with their iPhones and 'Droids - I know they were posting their shots immediately as I got separated from my wife at the onset and couldn't call her because the circuits were jammed.

So it was an orgy of sorts and even though we missed dinner and sat in traffic for hours, it was worth it. Next time I will take Metrolink and ride home packed like a sardine on the train, trying not to take anyone's head off with the ball head on my tripod.

ktanska, delpeoples, danos, i9l2y1m8a8t3 has marked this note useful

Photo Information
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Additional Photos by Reed Radcliffe (rlrad) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 250 W: 18 N: 393] (1845)
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