Project 52: Week 9 – Color Blocking

This week’s project focused on color blocking.  I took my inspiration from a popular fashion trend that uses large blocks of color.  Because I knew this was one of the projects on my list, I had begun scouting subjects near my house.  But when Peter and I spontaneously hit the road to meet friends (Jack and Greg) at the Temecula Balloon and Wine festival, I focused on the colorful balloons (and upon reflection probably should have included some of the colorful people we encountered at the festival).

This was our second balloon festival in 9 months.  It was very different from the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta we attended in the fall – only 10 balloons here, versus the 100’s in Albuquerque.  We also had fewer shooting opportunities because the morning launches were canceled due to fog.  But hey – they had wine and live music, so we made the best of it.

Shooting balloons can be difficult for the following reasons:

  • The bottom of the balloons are about the same height as peoples’ heads and the equipment used to haul them – so cutting those distractions out, also means cutting off the bottoms.
  • The balloons move – a lot.  When they are blown up, when the wind blows, when one knocks into another.  A high ISO is critical, and even then I had very few sharp images.
  • Many balloons are also advertisements – it can be difficult to work around all of the words.
  • Balloons are patched…with several patches (another reason not to risk life and limb by going up in one) – because of the graphic nature of balloons it can be hard to remove the patches in post.  In many cases I had to crop around them.
  • At night they do the “glow”, where all of the balloons light their burners so they glow in the dark.  It’s really beautiful – but exposure can be a problem especially if you release the shutter and not all of the balloons are lit up at the same time.  I believe Peter and I used the phrase “blow out in chamber 5” along with a few choice words several times.

The good news is it doesn’t take much to process these images, the colors are so rich they stand on their own.  I did bleach out the color in one image because I liked the retro feel – but other than that most of them have just been enhanced.

Injury index:  5 weeks with injuries: 4 weeks without.  Well I managed to go another week injury free, even though this situation involved many hazards – thousands of intoxicated people, port-a-potties, and probably the most toxic substance known to mankind….festival food.

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