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on Oct 1, 2012 in Landscape Photography

mmmm…Fire – Gooood!

I had the opportunity Friday morning to go out with some of the good folks from the 4C convention to the Posner Balloon Festival. I yearly festival that’s been held for decades, it’s a great event where I’m told 30 hot air balloons come to have fun. Arriving in the dark, my favorite time to start, we wondered over the field where the balloonist had parked.

I talked with some of the folks to get an idea of how they would handle the launch and then just started to watch. Knowing their general MO, in the dark of morning I looked for those with their baskets set up first. This takes a little time, hauling it our of the trailer, getting the rigging set up and clear in the dark getting ready for the preburn.

It was pretty simple really, you want to show that fire, you need a dark background. So once I saw the first basket ready to warm up the burners, I positioned myself with a background that told the story, was dark yet showed a little of the predawn light and waited. People are part of the story, so I wanted to include them as much as I could as long as they were active in the launch process. I tried to move about though to eliminate others who were just watching.

Anybody who knows me knows how much I like fire, so I was a kid in a candyshop! I mean, the sound, the length of flame, makes you want to grab a hotdog on a wire and cook! Now just like shooting blurry water, to make the shot I ripped the motordrive on the D4. This is because you just can’t see the pattern the burn is going to make, recognize it, tell your finger to shoot and the camera to fire fast enough. So when just as the big burn would go, I let the camera rip off 15-20 frames and then selected my favorite flame pattern back in the computer. I shot with fixed lenses, doing all my “zooming” with my feet. I did this because I wanted to shoot at f1.4 to make the most of the available light and minimize DOF for crowd control. These images were taken with the 50f1.4AFS and the bottom with the 24f1.4AFS. On the tech side, WB set to AWB, metering Matrix with Exp Comp at -2 to -1.3. While from the time when we arrived till the time we left was less than 2hrs, it was a great morning off to a great start. mmmm…fire…good!