Advice for shooting a Hot Air Balloon festival?
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Old 08-29-2007   #1
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Default Advice for shooting a Hot Air Balloon festival?

I'll be in Callaway Gardens (Georgia) this weekend for a hot air balloon festival. They are doing a balloon glow from 8-9PM Friday night, and then lifting off at about 7:15 Saturday morning.

I've never done anything like this so I'm hoping to get some advice.

Equipment I'm bringing: Canon 30D, Tokina 12-24/4, Canon 17-55/2.8 IS, Canon 70-200/4 IS, Kenko Pro 1.4x. Tripod.

Probably won't need my 50/1.8 or 105/2.8 macro.

I'm assuming that for the morning take off, a circular polarizer will be a good idea. And I'm guessing it's better to be on the side of the balloons where the sun is benind me and probably to the side.

For the balloon glow at night (where they inflate the balloons and light up their fires so they glow in the dark), I'm not really sure what to do. I'll use my tripod. Guessing polarizer would be bad then.

Any ideas or advice?

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Old 08-29-2007   #2
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Default Re: Advice for shooting a Hot Air Balloon festival?

When they start hitting the burners, you'll have time to take a meter reading on one of the balloons. Set your exposure accordingly and have a good time. The polarizer will not be needed at night,but the tripod will. It's a beautiful sight, be sure and share some of the images. Craig
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Old 08-29-2007   #3
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Default Re: Advice for shooting a Hot Air Balloon festival?

Quote:
Originally Posted by waple View Post
I'll be in Callaway Gardens (Georgia) this weekend for a hot air balloon festival. They are doing a balloon glow from 8-9PM Friday night, and then lifting off at about 7:15 Saturday morning.

I've never done anything like this so I'm hoping to get some advice.

Equipment I'm bringing: Canon 30D, Tokina 12-24/4, Canon 17-55/2.8 IS, Canon 70-200/4 IS, Kenko Pro 1.4x. Tripod.

Probably won't need my 50/1.8 or 105/2.8 macro.

I'm assuming that for the morning take off, a circular polarizer will be a good idea. And I'm guessing it's better to be on the side of the balloons where the sun is benind me and probably to the side.

For the balloon glow at night (where they inflate the balloons and light up their fires so they glow in the dark), I'm not really sure what to do. I'll use my tripod. Guessing polarizer would be bad then.

Any ideas or advice?
...just returned from a short Holiday that included (a.o.) visiting the Nightglow of the 24th International Balloon Fiesta in Barneveld, The Netherlands

Forget the tripod & the extender , use ISO800/1600, 17-55F2.8IS @ F2.8-3.5 and you'll do fine

I like your lenschoices for daytime: 12-24 for the overview - and to get the whole inflated balloon in view: these Mama's are BIG - (I used 10-22), 17-55 for the details, 70-200 for the balloons on the move (I used 100-400)

Ouch! cannot attach pictures ? due to servermoves ?

will add later

edited: Done!

...0.02...

Kindest regards!

Max@Home
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File Type: jpg 20D_MG_7208-svw.jpg (95.6 KB, 116 views)
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Last edited by Max@Home; 08-30-2007 at 03:17 AM.. Reason: slightly edited, added text and image :-))
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Old 08-30-2007   #4
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Default Re: Advice for shooting a Hot Air Balloon festival?

That's a really neat shot, Max. Now I'm even more excited!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Max@Home View Post
use ISO800/1600, 17-55F2.8IS @ F2.8-3.5 and you'll do fine
Were you in Tv mode here? What shutter speeds were you using at these settings? And since so much is in focus, am I correct to assume you used the 10-20 lens? Were you still at 2.8 here?

highbarger, as we can see from Max's picture, there is a huge range of contrast. if I meter, what meter mode should I use and where should I actually meter? I would assume that I meter the brightest part of the scene so that's not overblown, but then everything gets gradually darker from there. Is that correct?
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Old 08-30-2007   #5
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Default Re: Advice for shooting a Hot Air Balloon festival?

Waple, keep asking these good questions, I am going to a glow in a few weeks. Be sure to come back and let us know any tricks you picked up too. With all the help here I should look like an expert when I shot mine . Really, I am enjoying this thread, thanks to all who are giving us help.
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Old 08-30-2007   #6
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Default Re: Advice for shooting a Hot Air Balloon festival?

Quote:
Originally Posted by waple View Post
That's a really neat shot, Max. Now I'm even more excited!
Thanks!

Quote:
Were you in Tv mode here? What shutter speeds were you using at these settings? And since so much is in focus, am I correct to assume you used the 10-20 lens? Were you still at 2.8 here?
wrong on both counts, I used Av mode, and ranged apertures from F2.8 - F3.5, this was taken with the 17-55IS on a 20D

EXIF for this shot: Av-mode, 1/125sec, F2.8, ISO1600, 17-55 @17mm, evaluative metering, pre-locked with (*) button, center AF point used on the 'BDU' balloon, locked & recomposed.

Quote:
I would assume that I meter the brightest part of the scene so that's not overblown, but then everything gets gradually darker from there. Is that correct?
that is correct, *I* metered from the brightest part (the bottom of the actual balloon) and used evaluative metering mode

...hope this helps some 0.02 more,

kindest regards,

Max@Home
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Old 08-30-2007   #7
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Default Re: Advice for shooting a Hot Air Balloon festival?

I have only had the opportunity to shoot one of these events once, and it was a few years ago with my D30 (not 30D). The EXIF data wasn't very helpful... not sure what settings were used, but as you can see I metered on a darker area of the envelope and the areas near the flame are blown out. Can I blame that error on old technology ?
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Old 08-30-2007   #8
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Default Re: Advice for shooting a Hot Air Balloon festival?

I agree with shooting on Av for the glow. Adjust your aperture to give you the depth of field you want and to help bring your shutter speeds up. Don't forget that you can adjust your ISO to help out those shutter speeds as well. Just keep the ISO as low as you can get away with. I think if you meter for the brightest part and then add 1/3 of a stop of exposure you will be good. If you just meter for the brightest spot, the camera will bring it down to "18% Grey", so opening up a little will shift it to the brighter side.

Have fun!

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Old 09-02-2007   #9
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Default Re: Advice for shooting a Hot Air Balloon festival?

Well, bad news. We got down there and there was lightning and rain so they canceled the glow the first night. Then, they got a late start with the launch the next morning due to another storm moving in (that never actually came) and wind that was constant and too much.

They blew up one balloon and had it up for about 30 minutes and got another one inflated for about 10, then the took them both down.

The sky was solid grey so conditions were just crappy anyway.

I still had a good time with the folks from my photo club and with my wife and son. We went to the butterfly habitat, saw a log cabin, an owl that was eatting within 5 feet of me and my two year old (who, incedentally, was making owl noises most of the morning in the car), and had a nice time.

Here's one shot of the balloon. I fixed it up a tad (see if you can spot the differences).



Did I do a decent job making it look better?
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Old 09-03-2007   #10
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Default Re: Advice for shooting a Hot Air Balloon festival?

Not too bad. I'm wondering where the rope or whatever it is coming off the balloon is supposed to be heading. In the original it dissapeared at the van. Now it just stops in the middle of the grass. It also looks like some of the blue sky leaked in when you cloned the flags in where the van was. Other than that, I would have a hard time at this size recognizing that this had been manipulated.


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