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Other Trips

The 47th Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, Albuquerque, NM, October, 2018

On an eight month trip around the US & Canada, we attended the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, something my friend & fellow traveler Don (and his wife Anne) has wanted to do for a long time. Since he is recently retired, we were able to schedule the visit.

We started with the morning "Glow" on the 6th, and will add photo links to this page as the Fiesta progresses. While I'll add a few images here, most are at the links below. To make it easier to move through the photos, I've used the Web generator in Lightroom to post the images. Use the "Back to the Daily Index" link to return to this page.

The Glow Morning Launches A Sky Filled With Balloons
Saturday, October 6th


Sunday, October 7th

The First Glow A Bunch of Lasers Who is This Guy? A Frog

Along with the linked photos, I'm including some panoramas from today. While they are included in the linked photos, the maximum size on that page is 1000 pixels wide. The link below each panorama links to an 8000 pixel wide version. Some are multi MB files, so if you have a slow or limited data connection, you might want to avoid clicking on the link.

There were no launch today due to the weather, however they did a propane blast from hundreds of baskets a bit before dawn, then inflated a field full of balloons that were kept tied to the trucks.


Large 8000 Pixel Wide Version


Large 8000 Pixel Wide Version


Large 8000 Pixel Wide Version


Large 8000 Pixel Wide Version


Large 8000 Pixel Wide Version


Sunday night there were fireworks. A few samples, a link to more.

Monday, October 8th: Nothing happening for us - we were moving to the Fiesta campground.

Tuesday, October 9th:

We were not sure the balloon ride we had scheduled for this morning would happen. Very little wind, but it was raining. We rode the shuttle from the campground to the main gate, then walked to the sign in area, then had an hour to wait for our "march" to the balloon. By that time the rain had stopped and the clouds started to clear. The pilot was great - Kris Braden flying Dust In The Wind, an 8 passenger balloon. The ride one of the most enjoyable things I've done. After bouncing around in helicopters, I wasn't sure ballooning was for me, but it is a completely different experience. I'm hooked!

We were in the air for a little over an hour, including passing within range (but not really with a 17 - 35mm lens) of our trailers in the campground, seeing hundreds of other balloons in the air, then landed in the back of a school. The kids mobbed us, and the pilot gave them a chance to climb into the balloon basket, even help push it across the field. We had a great time.

The Morning Glow Testing the Burner
Dawn Launch Laying Out the Balloon Filling With Air
Looking up Looking Up With Gas Ready to Leave Take Off
View From the Air
View From the Air Our Trailers (Look Close) View From the Air - Anyone Want to Count the Balloons?
View From the Air A Panorama (Large) The Kids Pushing the Basket
Pushing the Basket A Very Different Class From What the Teacher Expected for the Day! New Arrivals
Anne Proved I Was There! Our Flight Data Our Route  

I made a short video of part of the ride & posted it at YouTube: The Balloon Video.

Wednesday, October 10th:

While it was cold & windy, there was no rain this morning. They didn't do the Glow, and the only balloon that inflated before 9:00 was the American Flag one, and they left as soon as inflated. A very fast takeoff.

Around 9:00 the green flag went up and slowly the balloons inflated. Again, it was quite windy. Any inflated balloon that had to hang around waiting for the launch directors to give them permission to launch were rocking quite a bit. A few inflated, then deflated rather than flying. I made a couple of videos of the early launches, starting here: Movie 1.

I also took the usual bunch of photographs:

A n Unusual Chase Vehicle Raising the Flag Lots of Wind International Day Launch
Morning Launches
Morning Launches These Two Images Were Taken 16 Seconds Apart - Lots of Wind
Morning Launches The Boot Fought Hard, But Never Made it Completely Vertical

After a quick breakfast burrito at 12:00, we headed to the Balloon Museum. $4.00 for Seniors over 65. . I took a few photos, but much of the exhibits consisted of written information. Check out the photo of the Los Angeles Air Ship (the last image) when hit by strong tail winds on a tall anchor. Almost completely vertical!

Thursday, October 11th:

At 6:30AM, as we were getting ready to leave for the Fiesta, a moving "Glow" went over the campground. I took a bunch of photos, mot of which were useless because I didn't know it was coming, and didn't have a tripod available. In any case, I put a couple on the web page.

Today was the Special Shapes Rodeo, and I took far too many pictures. There are 4 pages of them in a Lightroom web display starting here.

When we got back to the campground, there were a few balloons still going over my trailer, so I took a few photos of them as well.

After dinner we went back to the Fiesta for their fireworks. The first two photos are a combination of paragliders & fireworks, an interesting combination. The rest are standard fireworks, 3 pages of them (I get carried away).

Friday, October 12th:

An early start to the day, getting up at 4:00AM & hitting the Fiesta around 5:30. Very calm winds, and only high clouds, so lots of balloon launches, including a morning glow. Most of the "glow" is done in sequence, i.e. one balloon after another. That works well visually, and as a video, but for still cameras it often leaves one or more blanks between balloons. I wish they would do a "photographer's special" of all the balloons lit at the same time for a second or two. In any case, I did get most of them.

The rest of the day was spent wandering around the grounds taking photos of balloons. Around 9:30, Don dropped his camera & lens off at the Canon booth. They have a great set up - free cleaning of a body & one lens. They also have free "rental" of many of their cameras & lenses for a day. I wish Nikon did the same!

Anyway, today's photos are here.

Saturday, October 13th:

Another early morning. The traffic was so bad that we hit stop & go in the right lane of I 25 for over a mile. It only took a half hour to drive to the point where we stopped, but close to another hour to get into the park. As usual, there were those that passed on the left, then tried (usually successfully) to jam their way into the line further down the road. One even pulled in at the end of the exit ramp.

We ended up parked the furtherest from the ticket booth of any of our visits, even with Don's Handicapped tag. A long walk to the gate, but on the way out we got a ride from one of the golf cart shuttles.

We missed the morning glow, and it looked like a good pne - about a dozen balloons. Very crowded liftoffs, with a light wind. Fairly heavy, low clouds, so most of the balloons stayed very low over their ride.

1st Shot of the Day Pretty Sunrise The Biggest Balloon Lots of Balloons
My Favorite Balloon Lots of Balloons Lots of Balloons  

I posted a few images here, more at a Lightroom Web page.

We were back at the trailer around 11:00AM after getting the cheapest gas of the trip at $2.50 per gallon and driving by what would have been the most expensive dry camping ( $70.00 per night if we had stayed) both at the Sandia Casino.

We went back for the evening glow & fireworks. Some here, more at a group of Lightroom generated web pages.

Sunday, October 14: Nothing happened. Light rain & too much wind canceled the morning glow, about all that was scheduled for the day.

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Last Update: October 14, 2018