Hello! This week, a quick summary of my early morning trip to the Canberra Balloon Festival 2023 opening weekend back in March.

You may recall last year (see my blog here) that I was quite uncomplimentary about the new Balloon Festival hub being down on the Patrick White Lawns between the National Library and the lake. Sadly they repeated that again this year – and I am still unimpressed. People are crammed in along the terrace of the National Library, and down on the grounds of the lawn, and there just is no room to move, let alone get decent photographs. I was only there on the opening morning, and we discovered on the walk back to the car that some balloons had apparently set up on the Parkes Place East lawns as well. They didn’t fly that day (although several inflated for show), so maybe on other mornings there were more to see at Parkes Place East.

With that in mind, I didn’t take terribly many photographs and (as is usually the case) most of them were not shareable quality.

Sun Rising Behind the Capital Chemist Balloon

One of the things I like about photographing the Balloon Festivals is the opportunity to play with lighting conditions that are not optimal. I have so far resisted the temptation to do exposure stacking to overcome those challenges, although I must confess to having done something very similar in post-processing with this image.

The sun rising behind the Capital Chemist balloon.

The Hendrick’s Gin Balloon flying tethered

There were two balloons (the RAAF and the Hendrick’s Gin Balloon) who actually got off the ground, albeit firmly attached to vehicles on the ground to prevent them from actually going anywhere. There were lots of people around the RAAF balloon as they were going up and down giving spectators lifts, so I am not prepared to share those photos. The Hendrick’s Gin Balloon, however, just went up and stayed up. If I understood the advertising correctly, they were actually offering people a chance (prize? purchased tickets? I don’t know) to ride in the balloon and sample some of their gins while up there. Either way, it made a nice photo.

Hendrick’s Gin Balloon, flying tethered.

Unknown balloon, firing burner

With apologies to the owners and operators of this balloon, I have been unable to conclusively identify who you are! However, thank you for this excellent shot of you firing the burner.

Unknown balloon (Sorry!) keeping everyone warm…

Once again, thank you for reading. I am always on the lookout for photographic opportunities that I can photograph and share, so if you know of something coming up, get the organisers to get in touch with me! As I have indicated previously, also very happy to share this space for other photographers to make guest appearances! You don’t need to be professional (or even think you’re good) – just be happy to share and talk about your photos and/or the process you went through in making them.

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