As much as I loved my jersey wall perch on the bluff Saturday, there is nothing that compares to the emotion and thrill of being on the field during a mass ascension. Excited kids of all ages add buoyancy to hearts and balloons. Sometimes the shadows cast by the balloons and by nearby Sandia mountains make getting well lit photos tricky from the field. To navigate among the spectators, I perform an intricate dance to avoid crown lines, rising ballons and photobombing stranger’s snapshots. But wandering among the billowing envelopes among the roaring fans (both mechanical and human), burner blasts, laughter and erupting cheers more than compensates for the creative challenge.
If the opening day crowds at Balloon Fiesta shown in my first post have discouraged you from attending this event, I have great news. The early week morning sessions are not crowded at all. On Tuesday I move easily about the field unimpeded by the orderly throngs in attendance on the weekends.
Although the pre-dawn temps are near freezing, when the the sun finally appears the chill subsides and the winds align to provide a perfect Albuquerque “box.” Hundreds of balloons float over the field lingering more than 2 hours as the agreeable winds aloft allow them to circle at will.
Tuesday my goal is to finally observe the Sid Cutter Memorial Balloon competition. This flying contest tests balloon pilot’s skills at finding and hitting targets with a baggie. They are required to start from at least a mile away and use the winds to help them aim for various targets on the Fiesta field.
A Short Clip of the Balloon Competition
Balloon Fiesta Photos from the Field