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.