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Photo Adventure : Dawn Patrol at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

Photo Adventure : Dawn Patrol at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

We spent the past week at the Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  In it’s 42nd year, this event is the largest hot air balloon festival in the world and has over 500 balloons take to the air during the mornings of mass ascensions.

One of the coolest things we experienced was the hardest thing to attend – dawn patrol.  Each morning at 5:45 am, a set number of talented balloonists take to the air.  Other balloonists can watch the direction that the balloons drift at different altitudes and can get an idea of how their balloons will behave after launch.

The skies are still dark, so the glow of the balloons against the contrast of the black skies is absolutely beautiful.  But it requires a wake-up at 4 am.  That would be bad enough, but try getting two little ones up at that time of night.  Oy!

Totally worth it though!

dawn patrol balloons glowing albuquerque balloon fiesta

Dawn Patrol Overhead at Night at Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

Balloon Fiesta Dawn Patrol Takeoff at Albuquerque New Mexico

Hot Air Balloons Flying at Night in Albuquerque

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta Dawn Patrol Hot Air Balloons

Hot Air Balloons at Dawn in New Mexico

Hot Air Balloons in the Sky at Night Albuquerque

During our visit to the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, we were guests of Abuquerque CVB.  All photos, opinions and 4 am wakeup calls are my own.

  1. Life images by Jill 17 October, 2013

    wow – how gorgeous the balloons are with the all that colour and light against the night sky. Beautiful. We took a balloon ride some years ago – I said it wasn’t really for thrillseekers, but it may depend on the terrain one is gliding over!
    Have a wonderful week and thank you for stopping by my blog today.

  2. Muza-chan 17 October, 2013

    Great pictures 🙂

  3. Michele {Malaysian Meanders} 17 October, 2013

    That is totally worth a 4 a.m. wake up call! The colors are so bright and vibrant against the night sky. I’d love to attend this myself some day.

  4. Kelly Ryan 17 October, 2013

    Loved having you and the kiddos here! Thanks for coming out to Albuquerque. Hope you make the trip back again 🙂

    • Amy Moore 18 October, 2013

      Thanks, Kelly! Can’t wait to write up all the rest of our experiences!

  5. Marcia 17 October, 2013

    Thanks for taking me there, Amy! This has been on my list since a co-worker showed me photos she took when she went a few years ago. Love hot air balloons!!

  6. Stuart 17 October, 2013

    Now that looks like it’s worth getting up at 4am for! Great photography.

    • Amy Moore 18 October, 2013

      Yeah, I like sleeping so there are few things I put on my “I’d get up at 4 am for that” list. But this I’d do again 🙂

  7. Johanna 17 October, 2013

    My gosh what an amazing experience and definitely worth getting up for. Balloons are so photogenic and majestic, and your dawn pics really show them off well 🙂

  8. Mary {The World Is A Book} 18 October, 2013

    This is absolutely beautiful! I love all the colors and totally worth the early morning wake-up call. What a great experience. I really need to make it to ABQ during the balloon festival.

    • Amy Moore 18 October, 2013

      Definitely need to get it on your calendar! Great experience – and a great town!

  9. Jane St Catherine 3 November, 2013

    Amy, those photos are absolutely stunning. What a delightful experience.
    Are you willing to share how you managed to get such magnificent photos in the dark? Did you use a tripod and long exposure?
    I enjoy your idea of blogging about your local area. It really showcases that fact that there’s so much to see and do without having to go across the world, especially with little ones. Thanks, keep up the great work.

    • Amy Moore 4 November, 2013

      I did have a tripod. I couldn’t do very long exposure because the balloons were moving. I tried a couple and they came out very blurry.

      So all of these photos were under 1 sec exposure. Most were taken at f/4 with a 0.8 sec exposure.

      Thanks for all your kind words. I appreciate them!

  10. You Must Take Your Kids to the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta Before They Grow Up - Everything Everywhere Family Travel 25 November, 2013

    […] balloons that helps the other pilots see what the wind patterns are like.  You have to check out my photos from the Dawn Patrol we visited.  It is just […]