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the daily banana

Full Of Hot Air, With Your Head In The Clouds

06.09.2008

Head in the Clouds

Based on Friday's weather, I was expecting this years Balloons Over Bend to blow over like last year into a complete bust. Friday night my expectations were so low that I didn't even bother to set my alarm clock to get up early for the Saturday morning launch. I figured if I woke up early, I would go. I didn't exactly sleep like a log that night and at 5:45am I awoke. I looked out the window and saw clear skies and no wind. Holy Bloated Balloons Batman, it was a go!

After gathering up my gear, I drove to the launch site at Jewell Elementary School. I arrived at 6:20am and there was already one balloon in the air. The crowd was large (as expected) and it was absolutely perfect weather. No balloons about to fall over from gusty winds, or the announcer being forced to make bad jokes, simply to keep the crowd from forming into an angry mob. If the balloons go up, there's hot air, and if they stay down there's hot air too, so it's better when it's the balloons full of the hot air.

For those who were new to the Balloons Over Bend event, you should be aware that there is a requirement to have at least one camera with you at all times. Maybe the memo did get out, because the Balloon Paparazzi was in abundant numbers. With the amount of people and the amount of cameras present, there are probably about 15,000 photos from this weekend's event in some form or another ready to be emailed to friends and family or printed at Costco.

I decided this was a great chance to go wide, wide-angle that is. The sun was in perfect position for back lighting some balloons as well. If there was a good reason for being out of bed at 6:30am on a Saturday, this was it. Some photos from the morning can be seen here.

After enough of the balloons launched I headed back home. I followed one of the chase vehicles on the way. The sign on the back of the trailed read 'Caution: Frequent Irrational Decisions' or something along those lines. I started to think that a warning sticker like that should be on more vehicles than just the chaser vehicles.

It was still very early when I returned home. I contemplated going back to bed, but since it was so nice out, I decided to walk Pilot Butte. Not exactly like choosing wheat or white toast, but you can sleep or you can actually do something. Well, saying stuff like that is more motivational at least. So, off to the butte I went.

There were still plenty of people on Pilot Butte when I arrived. I think many picked it as a good place to watch the balloons from. One guy was coming down the trail with a massive telephoto lens, but most of the other people I spotted just seemed to be out enjoying the lovely morning weather. Everyone I passed walking up and down was smiling, and the summit was loaded with cars and trucks (slackers). I made good time up and down and by 8:30am I was back at home. I haven't done that much so early on a Saturday in a while.

Thankfully the day and evening events were moved back to the Old Mill District for the evening portion. The locations over the last few years have never made sense, especially last year's night glow which was on a farm, which was too far to drive to, parking was odd and when the event was canceled because of the wind, it felt like an even bigger waste of time. Well, this year it all was right, as there was music and food and the weather was perfect.

For the night glow, I got really really really close. I brought my small tripod and went wide again to get some photos. Since this was located right next to the Amphitheater it was a great move to have a live performance with fire dancers as well. There were plenty of people who didn't know which way to look, because there was something interesting in every direction. This was SO much better than last year. I guess Mother Nature was in a better mood to watch some balloons.

Overall, amazing weekend weather and today the winds returned. It's almost like an anti-conspiracy theory, but I'm not completely sure, I never got the memo.


Posted by monkeyinabox ::: |

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