Saturday, May 22, 2010

Great Plains Balloon Race

Early morning or late evening light, gigantic chunks of color and bright blazes of fire - it's pretty hard to beat a balloon rally for photogenic subjects. The Great Plains Balloon Race in Sioux Falls offers all of this.

Scheduled for June 12 and 13, the race starts at Kenny Anderson Park next to Washington High School on the east side of Sioux Falls near East 6th and North Sycamore streets. Launches are scheduled for 6 am and 6 pm Saturday, June 12. Sunday is a backup day in case of inclement weather on Saturday.

Roughly 30 balloons usually compete in the race. For photographers, the inflation and launch are pretty much the whole event. It can even be a bit overstimulating to walk amongst the huge canopies being inflated. Trying to decide which way to look, what lens to use, how much to include and how much to crop out is a daunting task.

As the first balloons lift off, it seems all cameras are pointed straight up.

It doesn't take long before all the balloons have launched and the overwhelming feeling of too much to shoot instantly becomes the opposite. There's nothing left at all to shoot as the balloon crews pack up and begin chasing their aircraft.

Or if you're lucky, one older balloon is left on the ground for people to explore from the inside.

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