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Balloon Fiesta 2014: A Photo Essay and Time Lapse

On Saturday, October 11, 2014 I had the opportunity to head down from Santa Fe to view and photograph the dawn patrol and mass ascension of hot air balloons at the 2014 Albuquerque, New Mexico Balloon Fiesta.

I headed down with my colleague Christine Hauber. The alarm went off at 3:15am so we could leave Santa Fe at 4am and make the 45 minute trip down to Albuquerque.

It was a good thing we left so early. We were able to park very close to the gate and had plenty of time to get our bearings set before the dawn patrol went up. Watching the news that evening we learned that traffic jams later in the morning prevented many people from getting down to the Fiesta and they even had to close the exit for a while due to the traffic.

In photographing the event I used my Sony a7R, a7, Canon 17-40mm lens, and Canon 100mm lens. Everything was hand-held except for the 1,200+ photos I took with the a7 for the time lapse video, where the camera was on a tripod.

I was incredibly impressed with the performance of the cameras. Most of the photos you see in the gallery below that were taken in the dark were photographed at ISO 25,000. I have to repeat that again: ISO 25,000!! I have never photographed at such a high ISO before and the image quality blew me away. Great color and noise that looked like film grain!

I hope you enjoy the time lapse and photo gallery below! Feel free to ask any questions and leave comments at the bottom of this page 🙂

Time Lapse Video:

This 30 second time lapse video shows 45 minutes of the Mass Ascension when all of the balloons were lifting off at sunrise.

Photo Essay:

Click on a thumbnail photo below to view the photo much larger in a lightbox where you can cycle through photos with your keyboard, watch as a slideshow, add comments, and share with your friends via social media.

Did you know you can purchase cards & prints of these photos?

Prints available in a large selection of sizes, prices, and options.

View print selection here!

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