You may have seen the incredible hot air balloon photos that have been trending online recently. Far off places, open landscapes with hot air balloons floating through the sky, and the golden light at sunrise. The truth is, you don’t have to venture far to find that kind of magic. I have always been fascinated by hot air balloons, most likely from watching The Wizard of Oz on replay at my grandmother’s house as a child. Before moving back to Connecticut I had heard about the Plainville Hot Air Balloon Festival. It is the largest festival of its kind in New England and for three days in a row, they launch the balloons into the air at sunrise and at sunset. There are also tents for food and craft vendors.
Two summers ago I met up with a lovely couple for a portrait session in the afternoon and it was incredible. The crowds were also amazing. A couple thousand people were packed into the tiny park. This year, I thought a sunrise launch would be less busy than sunset, but the rows of cars waiting to get into the park told a different story. It takes away from your ability to get a nice clean photo, but it sure does make the morning more exciting. Balloons started to launch as soon as the sun started to come up. Once they’re up, there is no slowing down. They disappear quickly over the horizon before more balloons launch to take their place.
This was Matthew’s first time at the festival. It was so worth waking up before five in the morning. I brought along a simple single camera and lens because we were taking off on a trip right after the balloons launched. Still, even in the dark early morning light we were able to capture these lovely memories.
The set up for the balloons is just as fun as watching them take off into the air. Once they’re up, they cannot control where they float off to so someone follows them in a truck to pick them up where they land.Up and away! Waving farewell to a friendly balloonist.This chair instead of a basket was an amusing sight to see.One of my favorite balloons: I do love elephants. Magical moments can be found all around us, if you only take a moment to look for them.
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