Quechee Balloon Festival

“I never regret the things I do; I often regret the things I do not do.” So I’ve said to myself many times.

Friday evening relaxing after dinner, it struck me that Saturday would likely be a great day for the Quechee Balloon Festival—cool, clear, light breeze. I’ve lived in the Upper Valley for over 40 years, but for various reasons have never made it to this event. Should I set my alarm and head there early tomorrow? Well, I wasn’t going to let this be another “not done” thing I would regret. I’m very glad I went.

The balloons were “scheduled” to lift off at 6 AM, but nothing was happening. Too little wind? I heard from others there was none the evening before. While waiting for the balloons it was great meeting friends I had not seen for years—not surprisingly most of them photographers.

I was getting impatient—I had expectantly arrived at the parking lot before 5 AM. Finally at 6:17 AM the first balloon was stretched out on the wet grass. Soon it was filled with air. But it wasn’t until 5:32 AM that it lifted off.

Suddenly there was way too much action everywhere. Balloons being filled, baskets being loaded, and crews launching these beautiful and quiet craft one after another much faster than I could take photos. I tried valiantly to get as much of the action as I could, handicapped by never “scouting” the event, but perhaps benefiting from the lack of preconceived shots. By 7:15 AM it was all over except for the chasing—all the balloons were up and drifting northeast.

I present below two slide shows. The first is of the general action at the festival. The second focuses on a single balloon. In the second show I hope I present a cohesive story from inflation to landing and deflation. Unfortunately I cannot show photos from riding in the basket. The balloon is appropriately local to Quechee, the “Bella Junior”.

01  DI901--Inside-inflating-balloon--Pan-(4).jpg02  DI914.jpg03  DI924--Ready-to-Launch--Pan-(3).jpg04  DI942.jpg05  DI932.jpg06  DI961.jpg07  DI974.jpg08  DI984-Almost-full--Pan-(3).jpg09  DI985--Climbing-In.jpg10  DI986--Preparing-to-Lift-Off--Pan-(4).jpg11  DJ001.jpg12  DJ015B.jpg13  DJ025.jpg14  DJ030.jpg15  DJ078.jpg16  DJ097.jpg17  DJ102.jpg18  DJ105.jpg19  DJ107--Multiple-Balloons--Pan-(4).jpg20  DJ110-Quechee-Balloon-Festival--Pan-(11).jpg21  DJ131.jpg22  DJ136.jpg23  DJ153.jpg24  DJ155.jpg25  DJ166.jpg26  DJ177.jpg27  DJ201-Watching-the-Balloons.jpg

01  DI965,6,7-Bella-Junior-inflating--Pan-(3).jpg02  DJ037.jpg03  DJ052.jpg04  DJ060-Bella-Junior-airborne.jpg05  DJ043.jpg06  DJ065.jpg07  DJ091.jpg08  DJ066,7-Bella-Junior-in-the-Air-above-balloons--Pan-(2).jpg09  DJ251.jpg10  DJ262.jpg11  DJ242.jpg12  DJ276.jpg13  DJ280-Safe-Landing--Pan-(3).jpg14  DJ286.jpg15  DJ313.jpg16  DJ346.jpg

One Comment

  1. kaszeta June 17, 2012 at 8:56 pm #

    Nicely done. I was wondering when you were finally going to get to the Quechee Festival. I enjoyed seeing you there, and like the resulting photos.

    I always kick myself for not having a wider lens when I’m there, my 24mm is a litlte long.