How to photograph from hot air balloons

Author Genevieve Valentini

Posted Mar 9, 2023

Reads 6.9K

Assorted-color Hot Air Balloons on Grass Field during Golden Hour

Hot air balloons offer a unique perspective for photographers looking to capture great shots from above. If you're a skill level beginner, don't worry – with some time and practice, you can learn how to take stunning photos from the sky. All you need is a DSLR wide-angle zoom or travel zoom kit, and you're ready to start.

Photographing hot air balloons in flight is similar to shooting helicopters, but the balloons are slower moving so you have more time to get your shots right. The success of your photos will be dictated largely by the location and conditions. For example, at the Bristol Balloon Fiesta, one of the biggest balloon festivals worldwide, over 100 hot air balloons take part in a mass ascent every year with over a million people attending. This offers an incredible opportunity for photographers to find a good vantage point up to 10 miles away from the take-off site while paying attention to early mornings or late evenings when the light is soft and warm. A fine day with cumulus clouds can also be helpful as they're side-lit by low sun depending on which direction they face. This can help capture valley fog or low-lying cloud around tall buildings, creating a cinematic atmosphere.

In this article, we'll cover everything you need to know about hot air balloon photography - from location scouting and equipment selection to techniques for capturing stunning shots while in flight. Whether you're looking for tips on photographing inside the basket or getting those perfect balloon shots from above, we've got you covered! Don't forget that wind speed can affect your photoshoot so wear solid footwear and bring along only what's necessary in a small camera bag with high ISO and fast shutter speed read settings at hand since hot air balloon photography isn't just about taking great pictures; it's about enjoying an incredible experience too!

Unexpected Events: Understanding Accidents and Incidents

Hot air balloons have been used for recreational and commercial purposes for centuries. However, these aerial vehicles are not without risks. One of the most infamous hot air balloon accidents happened on 13 August 1989 when two hot air balloons collided in Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Australia, causing one to fall and killing all 13 people on board. This tragedy highlighted the need for proper safety measures and regulations in the hot air balloon industry.

Modern Asian man in jacket and glasses looking at laptop and screaming with mouth wide opened on white background

Another deadly accident involving a hot air balloon occurred on 1 January 2011 near Westfield Somerset in Bath, England. A hot air balloon attempting a high-altitude flight crashed, killing all 11 people on board. Then, on 7 January 2012, a hot air balloon collided with a power line and caught fire in Carterton, North Island, New Zealand, killing all 11 people on board. These accidents emphasize the importance of adhering to safety guidelines and conducting regular maintenance checks.

One of the deadliest hot air balloon accidents happened on 26 February 2013 in Luxor, Egypt when a hot air balloon carrying foreign tourists ignited near an ancient city and crashed, killing all 19 people on board. This was considered the deadliest balloon accident at the time until the Lockhart Hot Air Balloon Crash of July 30th, 2016 in Lockhart Texas where a hot air balloon carrying sixteen people caught fire resulting in no survivors. Most recently in Albuquerque New Mexico on June 26th of this year another unfortunate event took place as a hot-air-balloon carrying people made contact with power lines leaving everyone aboard dead highlighting again how important it is to strictly follow safety protocols while using these beautiful flying machines.

Exploring the Terrain: Discovering the Beauty of the Land

Discovering the beauty of the land from a hot air balloon is an experience unlike any other. Before embarking on your journey, it's important to do your research on the landmarks you're keenest to see. Reading 5 articles on the area can give you a better understanding of what to expect and where to look.

Unrecognizable travelers walking on slope of mountain

Once you're ready to take off, remember that hot air balloons fly with the wind. This means that your starting point may not be where you end up landing, but rather wherever the wind takes you. Don't assume you'll fly in one particular direction – embrace the adventure of going with the flow.

As you soar through the sky, keep an eye out for those landmarks you researched beforehand. The golden hour opens up a whole new world of beauty as the sun sets and paints the landscape in warm hues. With unlimited access to views from above, exploring the terrain from a hot air balloon is an unforgettable experience.

Embarking and Touching Down: An Exciting Journey Awaits!

Are you ready for a unique adventure up in the sky? Hot air balloon rides will take you on an exhilarating journey that starts with finding a suitable launching point. The burner system heats the air inside the balloon envelope, and as the air building pressure, the balloon inflates. The crew begins laying out the balloon envelope and basket while ground crew members hold onto it to prevent it from taking off too soon. Once everything is ready, the launch crew blasts the powerful fan into the envelope mouth while igniting the burner flame, causing a steady flame that heats up the air in it until the balloon lifts off.

YouTube video about Embarking and Touching Down: An Exciting Journey Awaits!

During your hot air balloon ride, you'll be floating high above enjoying breathtaking views of wide open spaces, trees, and even power lines! Your experienced pilot will communicate with the ground crew via onboard radio to find suitable landing sites. As your adventure comes to an end, you'll prepare for landing by gradually minimizing altitude until you are in a good position to land. The pilot opens the parachute valve while ground crew members grab onto a cord attached to the balloon envelope. The crew begins pushing out all of its remaining hot air while packing everything up into what looks like a giant sleeping bag called a stuff sack before setting down on top of a ground tarp.

So if you're looking for an unforgettable experience filled with excitement and wonder, book yourself a hot air balloon ride today!

Exploring the Changes in Wind and Weather

Launching pilots of hot air balloons must be very mindful of weather conditions before taking off. The weather service is an important tool to consult for a clear understanding of wind conditions. In areas with unpredictable wind conditions, cautious pilots can make use of pilot balloons or piballos short for pilot balloon sounding system. This system involves releasing a small balloon filled with helium into the air, which gives a rough idea about the exact direction and speed of wind at different altitudes.

YouTube video about Exploring the Changes in Wind and Weather

Normal storms are generally not hazardous to hot air balloons unless they bring extremely strong winds that can easily wreck the balloon material. Wet weather decreases visibility and can make it more difficult to launch hot air balloons. However, nice wind currents can make for good flight conditions and allow hot air balloons to soar smoothly through the air. Pilots should always check for prohibited airspace near their prospective launch site and avoid flying near areas where lightning strikes are common.

A remarkable demonstration of fundamental forces at work, hot air balloons rely heavily on ideal wind conditions to fly safely. Strong winds pose a hazard not only during flight but also during takeoff and landing, making it essential for pilots to stay informed about current wind conditions before launching a hot air balloon. Air additionally carries temperature variations that affect lift, which is why pilots employ instruments such as thermometers to monitor these changes while in the air.

Experience the Thrill of Navigating a Hot Air Balloon

Navigating a hot air balloon takes skill and precision. The pilot moves the balloon up or down by controlling the propane valve. When the lever works, gas flows to the heating coils where the pilot burns liquid propane. The gas formed from burning liquid propane produces a flame that grows larger as the pilot ascends. As the vertical speed changes, so does the amount of gas needed to maintain altitude.

Assorted-color Hot Air Balloons on Grass Field during Golden Hour

One interesting question people often ask is how do you move hot air balloons? Unlike airplanes or helicopters, hot air balloons cannot maneuver horizontally. They are at the mercy of the wind blows in any direction it wants. To control horizontal speed, pilots must change their altitude. By opening and closing valves--heat is released and controlled--the balloon rises or descends to catch different wind currents in different directions.

As pilots ascend, wind speed generally increases as well due to changes in air temperature at higher altitudes. Pilots need to determine which way they want to go before taking off and plan their route accordingly by studying weather patterns and atmospheric conditions they will face during flight time. To decrease altitude, pilots use a parachute valve attached to a cord that releases hot air from inside the envelope decreasing its buoyancy and causing it to descend towards ground level safely.

Discovering the Mighty Power of Air as a High-Pressure Fluid

Air pressure depends on the number of air particles in a specific volume. The greater the number of particles, the greater force they will create, increasing the air pressure. When particles collide, they impact each other and change direction. The greater the pressure, the more frequently particles hit each other and disperse evenly in all directions with equal force.

White Wind Turbines on Green Grass Field Under Blue Sky

Hot air balloons are an excellent example of how air pressure operates. An average hot air balloon requires approximately 77,000 cubic feet of hot air to lift off. This amount is almost ten times less than if it was at standard atmospheric conditions (14.7 psi). At this height, the air applies roughly 147 psi from left to top to bottom; that's why you'll feel substantially greater pressure when standing on higher ground.

The principle behind a hot air balloon is simple: heat increases particle speed, causing greater pressure and density inside the envelope. As a result, there are more equal air particles inside that disperse evenly in all directions with equal force to keep the balloon aloft. It's fascinating how we can use something as ordinary as air to generate such mighty power!

Air Pressure + Gravity = Buoyancy

When a balloon is inflated, it is filled with air particles. The air inside the balloon pushes outward in all directions, creating an outward pressure. However, the container of the balloon is strong enough to contain this pressure. The surrounding air pressure is equal to the air pressure inside the balloon, so it remains stationary at ground level.

YouTube video about Air Pressure + Gravity = Buoyancy

As the hot air inside the balloon heats up, it creates a greater number of air particles in a given volume than cold air. This means that there are more collisions between these particles and a greater downward gravitational force exerted on them. As a result, the volume of air inside the balloon expands and its density decreases.

The reason hot air exerts greater air pressure than cold air is that each particle impacts with greater force due to higher temperature. This creates a higher pressure level which makes hot air rise since dense air always sinks downwards. Therefore, by heating up and decreasing its density while keeping its total mass constant, an object can become buoyant and rise into the sky like a hot air balloon.

Uncover Exciting Camera Offers, Rewards and Updates!

If you're a photography enthusiast or professional, then you're always on the lookout for the best camera deals, reviews, product advice, competitions and unmissable photography news. Well, we've got some exciting updates for you! Firstly, Adobe has recently launched an image-to-text generator that's a total game-changer for digital photographers. You can now easily extract text from your photos and add it to your creative projects.

Secondly, Ring devices are offering some great camera deals at the moment. You can get up to 20% off on their Ring Video Doorbells and Security Cameras. These devices are perfect for capturing stunning footage of hot air balloons floating across the sky.

Lastly, if you're looking to shoot amazing black and white photos like a pro, then check out Digital Photographer Magazine Issue 264. It features in-depth tutorials on how to master black and white photography using Canon Mega Flagship Camera Deals. Don't miss out on this opportunity to take your photography skills to the next level!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of hot air ballooning?

Hot air ballooning offers a unique and exhilarating way to experience the beauty of nature from above, while also providing a sense of peacefulness and serenity. It's perfect for those looking for a thrilling adventure or an intimate moment with friends and loved ones.

How do you fill a blown up hot air balloon?

To fill a blown up hot air balloon, propane burners heat the air inside the balloon envelope, causing it to expand and rise. The pilot controls the temperature and altitude by adjusting the amount of heat from the burners.

How to take Amazing hot air balloon photos?

To take amazing hot air balloon photos, first choose the right time of day for optimal lighting, then find a vantage point that allows you to capture the entire balloon in the frame. Experiment with different angles and compositions, and don't be afraid to use filters or post-processing to enhance your shots.

How do hot air balloons work?

Hot air balloons work by heating the air inside the balloon with propane burners, causing it to become less dense and rise. The balloon is controlled by manipulating the temperature of the air inside with the burners to ascend or descend.

What are the forces at work in a hot air balloon?

The forces at work in a hot air balloon are buoyancy, gravity, and wind. The heated air inside the balloon is less dense than the cooler air outside, causing the balloon to rise.

Featured Images:

Profile photo of Genevieve Valentini

Genevieve Valentini

Writer at The Filtered Lens

View Her Articles

Genevieve Valentini is a rising star in the world of blogging, known for her insightful commentary and engaging writing style. With a background in journalism and a keen eye for detail, she has quickly made a name for herself as one of the most talented young writers on the scene today. Drawing on her own experiences and those of others around her, Genevieve's blog posts offer a unique perspective on everything from fashion and beauty to travel and lifestyle.

View Her Articles


Was this article helpful?