So, after traveling all week and going to photography class last night, I dragged myself out of bed at 3:30 am this morning and drove to Lisle, IL, for the first of three (hopefully) early morning balloon lift offs as part of their annual balloon festival.
I got there before anyone else, even the officials. The really weird thing was that this one official, Pat, he said he was the head official, came up to me and we started talking, and he says, "You know, why don't you come beyond the barriers so you can get some close up shots?" I said OK.
About 50 or so photographers showed up, and I was the only one allowed beyond the barriers. They asked me why that was, I told them I didn't know. But this allowed me to go to a pov that put the rising sun in the background instead of a boring, blank sky (until the thunderstorm and tornado, but I'll get to that in the Morton Aboretum thread later).
But the main thing was that the balloons actually lifted off. Folks who had been there many times before said there was a 50/50 chance. We lucked out today. I took a huge number of photos of which this is only a sample, and many of a special balloon used to give handicapped people rides which I will cover separately.
three inflating by ChicagoJohn, on Flickr
rising giants by ChicagoJohn, on Flickr
lift off by ChicagoJohn, on Flickr
above the treetops by ChicagoJohn, on Flickr
one man above the clouds in color by ChicagoJohn, on Flickr
Godspeed by ChicagoJohn, on Flickr