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Author Topic: Hot Air Balloon Ride  (Read 5320 times)
Woodcorner
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« on: September 21, 2006, 03:28:35 PM »
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Hi,

I'll be going on a hot air balloon ride for the first time on the weekend. It will take us across beautiful landscapes along the river Rhine in Germany, crossing many vinyards and other incredible scenery. We'll start early in the morning before sunrise.

Besides the obvious, could anyone give me special advise on taking pictures from up there? I have never done any aerial photography yet as I was more of an "earthbound" landscape photographer, so to speak.

I plan on taking along a Canon 5D with a 17-40 mm and the 70-200 2.8 IS zoom.

Thanks for any hints!

Andrew
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KeithR
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« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2006, 04:10:26 PM »
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Hi,

I'll be going on a hot air balloon ride for the first time on the weekend. It will take us across beautiful landscapes along the river Rhine in Germany, crossing many vinyards and other incredible scenery. We'll start early in the morning before sunrise.

Besides the obvious, could anyone give me special advise on taking pictures from up there? I have never done any aerial photography yet as I was more of an "earthbound" landscape photographer, so to speak.

I plan on taking along a Canon 5D with a 17-40 mm and the 70-200 2.8 IS zoom.

Thanks for any hints!

Andrew
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Oh how I envy your ride!
I was in a balloon race about 30 some years ago, but after about 15 minutes of being airborne, the race was called, and we had to decend. But while we were up, the view was breathtaking. The gear you mention should cover everything from inside the basket to the vistas. You may want to bring a flash along to do some of the prelight prep that goes on. Also you might want to put the polarizer in the bag, and make sure that you have enough media cards. The only problem we had(other than not being able to stay aloft longer) was the landing. I've seen landings that were so smooth and others were the basket hit, bounced, tumbled and dragged for a few feet. It can get to be bumpy, so make sure your gear is stowed away and protected from shock. But if I could do it again, I'd be up in a minute!
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glenerrolrd
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« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2006, 07:24:46 PM »
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I just did this in Colorado. Some of the best shots were during the set  up on the ground.  Started with a  35 on a 5D once the ballon was inflated I used a 19.   So your short zoom should be perfect .  In the air it will depend on the area you are over..its similar to a landscape just a different perspective.  If I did it again I would use my 24-105  as you may want to go wider than the 70.  don t count on changing lenses in the air unless you have strong nerves..it smooth but very cramped. Sounds like a fun trip.  
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Hank
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« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2006, 07:57:46 PM »
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We do a lot of aerial photography from helicopters, mostly with doors off, but occasionally from planes with doors off.

Minimize the gear you carry and stow that in a vest.

Keep your camera strap around your neck.  Best of all is to install extra long camera straps like the Tamrac N-5059 or  N-45 (both 50") to allow you to slip your head and one arm through the strap comfortably and still raise the camera to eye level.  This heightens security while comfortably stowing the camera at your side at waist level when not in use.  Easy to clamp your arm down to hold cameras in place when needed.

Ideally bring a body for each lens to avoid lens changes.  

Keep your memory chips in a zippered pocket, but try to have enough capacity to get by without chip changes.

Bring extra batteries, even if you don't think you will need them.

As already noted, I suspect landing can be rough at times in a baloon, so think ahead about stowing your cameras.  I'd be tempted to use a small Pelican or similar padded hard case, which I'd keep betewen my ankles while under way to avoid tripping others.
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Adam Schallau
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« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2006, 08:00:06 PM »
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Hi,

I'll be going on a hot air balloon ride for the first time on the weekend. It will take us across beautiful landscapes along the river Rhine in Germany, crossing many vinyards and other incredible scenery. We'll start early in the morning before sunrise.

Besides the obvious, could anyone give me special advise on taking pictures from up there? I have never done any aerial photography yet as I was more of an "earthbound" landscape photographer, so to speak.

I plan on taking along a Canon 5D with a 17-40 mm and the 70-200 2.8 IS zoom.

Thanks for any hints!

Andrew
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I've shot from a balloon several times and think you'll get the most use out of the 17-40. Trying to change lenses can be difficult, especially in the smaller baskets. Have fun and don't forget to put the camera down for a minute to enjoy the flight.
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Adam Schallau
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photographing the landscape, culture and people of the American West
Mike Boden
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« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2006, 11:57:03 PM »
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I did a hot air balloon ride earlier this year over the Serengeti in Tanzania, Africa. I brought two camera bodies and two lenses with me on the balloon. On one body was a 24-70mm and the other was 100-400mm. I used both equally. I recommend not changing lenses once you're in the air. I also don't recommend a polarizer. I had absolutely no time to even think about putting on a filter. And besides...I would have been too afraid to drop it.

I'm not exactly sure what you plan on shooting, but for me, wildlife was there, so the longer focal lengths helped quite a bit. Furthermore, with the long lens, I was able to isolate images off in the distance at the horizon.

The other consideration is shutter speed. Because you're moving pretting good, I recommend 1/500sec or faster. Shooting shutter speed priority helps to maintain this. But you'll have to watch your exposure closely because if you're shooting into the sun versus away, you'll have a huge difference to compensate for. To get it to work, you may have to adjust your ISO or quickly flip to aperture priority. Anyway, as for your ISO, I started off at 800 and gradually lowered it as the light brightened.

Just keep in mind that it's a juggling act for exposure. You have to be quick on your toes.

Anyhoo...here are my keeper images from my hot air balloon ride:


Dust and Trees


Balloon Fire


Hot Air Balloon


Migration


Moon and Shadow


Two Pair
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Woodcorner
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« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2006, 11:20:15 PM »
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Thanks to everyone for your extremely helpful hints and suggestions. We'll be heading off in an hour or so. Will let you know about this trip!

Cheers,

Andrew
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Woodcorner
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« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2006, 01:36:07 PM »
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The trip has been spectacular and with all your help has been a great experience.

Summing up the photographical part, I shot most of the images with the 17-40mm zoom lens. The closer to the ground, the more interesting the scenery became. Having enough memory cards at hand was crucial. At ASA 200, I could shoot at 1/500 and f8 most of the time.

Next time I would make sure to carry a hard case (Pelican or the like) with me, as the landing was quite rough due to strong winds near the ground (about 10 miles/hour). Fortunately my gear did not get mangled in between gas bottles and passengers tumbling around...  

Thanks for your help!

Andrew
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Mike Boden
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« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2006, 02:14:08 PM »
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The trip has been spectacular and with all your help has been a great experience.

Cool! Let's see some pics when you get the chance.
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Caracalla
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« Reply #9 on: October 21, 2006, 05:55:45 AM »
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Good opportunity, Lucky you!

Regards
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