Balloon Fiesta 2105 | Doing Something New

We all have some resolutions for the upcoming year. I’ve been thinking about these over the past few weeks. For 2016, I have two photo related goals.

My first: to try out new ways of staying fresh with my photography. It could be use of new equipment, different vantage points from which I make the image, or post processing techniques new to me.

My second: to complete my initial 100 Strangers project.  

The bottom line is that I hope to keep on moving ahead, and I hope you do, too.

Happy New Year 2016 –SNAP!

Canon USA was a savvy presenting sponsor at the 2015 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. Thank you Canon, thank you.

The company had a prominent tent on the “Main Street” pedestrian way. Inside, several sales associates provided equipment demonstrations. At the rear of the tent was a porch that opened to the grassy field. In the porch were several full-framed cameras set up to point at the balloon field for trial use of the longest telephoto lenses I’ve ever seen and never imagined using (but did!).

All we had to do was pop in our own memory cards.

I used both of the fixed lenses shown in the image below. These glass wonders were incredibly powerful and sharp. They didn’t have labels on them indicating their distance magnification; the Canon rep informed me they were fixed at lengths greater than 600mm. I am pretty certain one of these lenses was 1000mm. Really. The magnification was intense.

Lens Testing at Canon's Sponsor Booth

HOLY ZOOM | Lens Testing at Canon’s Sponsor Booth

My candid street shot below was taken reconnaissance-style. Hundreds of feet away from this rainbow gathering of beer swilling balloonistas, I stood on a porch, found them in the lens, focused and snapped.

Rainbow Gathering.

Rainbow Gathering.

While on the Canon porch, some alternative sky entertainment began: aerial acrobatics by an outfit named Parabatix. Fan flown parachutes were guided into a series of coordinated aerial routines a few hundred feet in the air. It wasn’t possible to adjust the focal lengths on the long scopes. I did manage a few times to get the maneuvers in focus in my frame while they moved around up there at a pretty frenetic pace.


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One Parabatix pilot towed a tail behind him like a rhythmic gymnast.

The sight was pretty cool. It was even better under the magnification of the long camera lends.

While I was in that sponsor tent, I wasn’t shy. I made a stranger portrait. I picked the mind of two on-hand experts about various new camera body models. And to my further surprise and joy, on the side of the tent was a gear lending library. Yes, you read that right!

I selected a new lens to shoot with for an entire morning ascension; a total of 4.5 hours. The model I borrowed was a 70-200mm “L” IS USM; it offered magnification possibilities not covered by my own existing lens collection. What a thrill for a test drive.

My Friend the L

My Friend the L

Some of the photographs from the Balloon Fiesta Blue Hour post were made using this lens. Parting with it was such sweet sorrow. I decided against purchasing this model for a whole host of various reasons. But I wish again to thank Canon for the opportunity of using so many new lenses. I had a very memorable photographic experience from use of their high quality equipment. GREAT PR and customer relations activity. It was a win-win. I hope they will continue to sponsor our international event again!



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