Belated Balloon Fiesta!

Hi there! How have you been? Perhaps, like me, you have experienced a time when your real life interfered with your blog. After an unbroken and steady stream of posts going back five years, it finally happened.  Sorry about that. I’m back. I have a whole lot of catching up to do here. Without further ado, belatedly let’s kick off with my highlights of the 2017 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.


Dawn Patrol 2017

If you are new to this blog, you may enjoy viewing my posts from previous years when I shared highlights from Fiesta’s Dawn Patrol: 2014, 2015, 2016a, 2016b, 2016c, and 2016d.

Yes, it is rather bonkers to wake up at 3 AM, to layer up in warm clothes, then find one’s way to a grassy field in north Albuquerque by 5:30 AM with a backpack of photo equipment. You might ask, “is it really worth it just to see some hot air balloons?” The answer is “Hella yes it is!”

How else do you a get a shot like this one:


Balloon Fiesta 2017 | Dawn Patrol floats overhead!

This year, I was fortunate again, to borrow a brand new camera body and a lens from Canon USA, the classy, generous event sponsor of the picturesque week-long event. Thanks Canon, you rock! I was so happy to be on #teamcanon for the day.

Even though eventually I would like to step up to a full-frame camera (when the time and price is right) I’m mostly satisfied with my reliable EOS 70D. By the time I got to the sponsor booth’s lending library, it was 5:30 AM. There was a 15+ minute wait ahead of me.  I reached the counter and learned my best opportunity would be to borrow a EOS 80D body, combined with a 70-200mm F/4 L lens.

It’s very hard to complain about such a chance to use brand new equipment of this caliber. Nevertheless, I wasn’t altogether jazzed by the images I made with this borrowed equipment while shooting in the utter darkness during the launching of those Dawn Patrol balloons.  There is a a roughly 1/3-stop improvement in high ISO dynamic range with the EOS 80D compared with the 70D. The max native ISO of the 80D SLR was 16000 versus 12800 in my 70D. So while there may be “less noise” on the final images before the post processing, I did experience a certain shutter lag with the telephoto zoom lens.  I am certain I  missed more moments than I cared to.



Balloon Fiesta 2017 | Vendor with Illuminated Tchotchkes


Balloon Fiesta 2017 | Looking Down Main Street


Balloon Fiesta 2017 | Warm Items Have an Appeal at 6 AM



Balloon Fiesta 2017 | Kids  Wave Light Sticks in the darkness


Balloon Fiesta 2017 | Light Toys are a fun visual subject

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