When I first saw this challenge given by Rusha Sams, my immediate thoughts went to raising children. They are conceived in love, raised with love and then their children are loved. Beyond that, when I was traveling, I wasn’t taking pictures. It’s only in my senior years that I discovered photography as a form of self-expression and a passion.

So, bringing “A Labor Of Love” down to very basic terms, I chose to show an activity that is a labor of love for participants and fans alike. My topic: Hot Air Balloon Festivals.

I’ve only been to two Hot Air Balloon Festivals. The first was in September, 2012 when I bought my Nikon D3100. I chose an entry level camera to start because I wasn’t sure about photography. It didn’t take long before I upgraded to the D7100. I heard about the balloon festival in Windsor, California. So, off Richard and I went in our 5th wheel trailer, staying two nights in what they set aside as a campground. I was warned that the show started promptly at 4 a.m., and it did.

I woke up to the announcer on the loud speaker saying, “Good morning Windsor!” I jumped out of bed, got dressed, grabbed my camera and ran out the door to be greeted by total darkness. Once on the field, I realized I hadn’t set my camera! I saw the green “A,” turned the dial, and ran toward the “Dawn Patrol” that had just set up. The rest is history. I had a great time. I loved the challenge of getting the shots, lying on the ground as the balloons went up in the air, kneeling down to catch a picture of the balloon being blown up. It was an exhilarating morning. Here are a few of my first shots with my camera.

Fast forward to September 2017 when I was shooting with a Nikon D7100 at the Reno Hot Air Balloon Festival, Reno, Nevada.

Linda and I decided to stay one night at a hotel and waking up at 3:30 a.m. rather than waking up at 1 a.m. and driving 2 hours. It was a smart move for two seniors! This was a larger festival and just as much fun.

I saw many of the same balloons in Reno as I did in Windsor. The pilots have such a love for this sport that they travel from festival to festival. Weather is a big factor on whether they can take their balloons up. The second day at Windsor, it was too windy for them to fly.

This was a nice memory to catch up on. Thank you Rusha!

29 thoughts on “Lens-Artist #113: A Labor Of Love

  1. Loved your response this week Anne (altho you’re so right that having and raising children really is the most important labor of love!) Anyway, that said, your images are wonderful. I can’t believe you got those beautiful openers with the camera on A !!!! One of my biggest disappointments was when I went to a hot air festival in Oregon with good friends. They’d scouted the area ahead of time and chosen the “perfect” spot for us (they are not photographers). Anyway, when the sun rose we were looking directly into it and there was NO way I could get anything decent out of it!! Haven’t seen another festival since. But next time, I’m trying ‘A’ !!!

    1. Thanks Tina! I think I was lucky and had a very simple camera. Actually when I looked at the photos, I thought those I took in 2012 were just as good or better than in 2017. I think it’s because the Windsor festival was smaller and we were there two days. I’d like to try a third to see what I can do with the Fuji. That’s tough to go to a super photographic festival and not be able to shoot it. Yikes! Take care!

  2. Perfect! This topic and the labor of love involved in launching balloons is absolutely perfect. We’ve been to two lift-offs in Albuquerque, and we were both touched by how many families and friends it takes to launch these huge balloons. And as to your emphasis on raising families, there were children on the field as well as adults, all working together.
    Your photos are colorful, but also artistic. I especially like the large one in the first gallery — nice perspective as well as content.
    Thanks so much for participating this week in the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Labor of Love. I’m thankful to the ladies who conduct the challenge each week because it allows us to be creative and to view the work of others who are also creative and artistic. Happy Labor Day!

      1. I meant to tell you that even the spectators like us got into the launch. When there was lift-off, we clapped and yelled as if we had anything to do with it! But we were certainly proud of the crew who made it happen! Thanks again.

  3. I love how you chronicled your cameras along with the festivals. The colors in these balloons are marvelous. Your shots highlight these wonderful flying “machines” so beautifully.

  4. Definitely a labor of love – getting up so early being a part of it! Interesting how we evolve in our pursuit of interests and hobby, seeing how we grow and improve, stagnate and recover. Meanwhile, continue shooting and enjoy!

  5. I love balloons. They are so colourful. After several years of attending the pre-openig day of the New Jersey Festival of Ballooning, looking up and thinking “I want to do that”, in 2018 my wife and I finally had our first ballon ride.

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