Creative Characters Floating above Albuquerque

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Read on for words from photographer and instructor Alex Kent on the upcoming Balloon Fiesta!

The world famous Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is a visual smorgasbord of colors, lines, shapes, and textures! Any photographer from beginner to pro could easily walk away with delightful, fun, and interesting images. The Festival started in 1972 in a mall parking lot with 13 balloons and has grown to host over 600 balloons. In 2018, 14 countries were represented! These numbers make it the largest hot air balloon event in the world.

One of my favorite parts of the event itself is what the Fiesta calls “Special Shape” balloons. The builders of these balloons get super creative in showing off their favorites characters, shapes, or logos. Some of them even seem questionable in their ability to fly, but during the ascensions you see the characters in all their glory.

Below are a just few of my favorite special shape characters from 2017, mostly taken with a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens. A photo tip for the Special Shapes is to try to position yourself or be patient and wait for the balloons to position themselves so there is some interaction between either multiple characters or between the characters and background elements. Otherwise, you could try “framing” your special shape with other balloons or using a longer telephoto and isolating the balloon all to itself.

In 2017, I lead a photo tour for Bedford Camera to the Balloon Fiesta and surrounding areas. Much gratitude to all the Bedford staff and the participants for making it a smooth, fun, and educational trip for all! We’re headed back again this year and if you’d like to join check out more info, we would love to have you.

Learn more & register for the 2019 Balloon Fiesta Excursion here.

You can see more of Alex’s work on his website and Instagram.

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