Motor Man and I first met Mark, our friend who has a hot air balloon business, back in 2013. Since that time, we’ve gone for three balloon rides and been at many launches and landings.
We enjoy meeting Mark’s passengers, most of whom have never been in a hot air balloon. I take pictures of them in the basket before their flight and sometimes after the landing. And, of course, I take pictures during the flight. I usually get their email address and send the best photos to them. And Motor Man usually helps with the launch. (It’s rather involved.)
Although Mark has flown many times in our area, most people have never seen the balloon in flight. Perhaps that’s because he prefers to fly early in the morning, just around or a little after sunrise. So it’s always fun to see folks stopping, sometimes pulling over on the shoulder of the road, to watch.
I thought I’d share some pictures from recent balloon flights.
This is one of Mark’s balloons; he named it “Spectrum”. It’s a beautiful balloon, or “envelope”, as it’s called.
One of the most fun experiences we’ve had was a few weeks ago, early in the morning. Mark was flying the balloon very low. If you’ve never seen a hot air balloon in flight, you may not realize that it is SO quiet, except for the occasional few seconds when the burner is activated. This was an overpass on a country road, with thankfully, no traffic. (The white van is Mark’s “chase vehicle”, being driven by a ground crew member, and it was stopped, as were we.)
It doesn’t happen with every flight, but it’s always fun when the balloon flies directly over us.
With so many of the flights being at sunrise, it’s easy to get really pretty photos.
And water reflections are always nice.
There are opportunities when the balloon is low enough that you can actually see and talk with (and wave to) the passengers.
What we do is called “chasing the balloon”… we’re watching for it and driving in the direction we think it will land. That isn’t always easy: we often lose sight of it, and the roads don’t always go in the direction we need.
And as much as everyone loves a balloon flight, there’s one aspect that similar to a plane flight: it’s always good to have a nice, smooth landing.
Here’s a short video I took of a recent launch. That’s Motor Man’s voice you hear at the beginning. (Make sure your speakers are on.)
I know hot air ballooning isn’t for everyone, but if you ever have the chance to go….
~These Days Of Mine~