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08-02-2012, 05:51 PM   #1
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The Reno Balloon Races...

are next month. Should I bring everything?

08-02-2012, 06:16 PM   #2
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What do you have?
08-02-2012, 08:52 PM   #3
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The "Three Amigo's", K85 1.8, Tamron 70-200 2.8/135 2.5/17 3.5, Sigma 300 4.5, Pentax A30 2.0. I plan to get the 21 Ltd this week and the 15 Ltd before next month. All listed fit in my backpack.

Last edited by tabl10s; 08-02-2012 at 09:44 PM.
08-02-2012, 09:01 PM   #4
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The Tamron 70-200 and DA 21 would be more than enough.

If you do have shoulders of Samson, I'd bring along the K85 and the Sigma 300.

08-02-2012, 09:46 PM   #5
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In that case, I'd just wear my photo vest.
08-02-2012, 10:13 PM   #6
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When I shoot the Balloon festival here in Elko I use my SMC Pentax FA 645 45-85 and my SMC Pentax FA 80-160. I shoot with my 645Nii using my monopod and my big tripod, particularly in the early morning. Those lenses were more than enough. I packed my FA 150 2.8 in case I needed the speed but I never took it out of the bag. I used Kodak Portra 800 in during the very early morning and then changed to Fuji Velvia 50 when the light became a bit better. This year I am going to try Fuji Provia 400 in the early morning and then move to Provia 100 later in the morning. I am also going to try and get my pickup truck camper very close so I can set up on top of the camper for a bit of a different perspective.

I used the 45-85 for most of the ground work and then swapped to the 80-160 for the launches and mid-air work. This past year I bought a SMC Pentax FA 645 400 so I will bring it along for a few long shots when the balloons are off the ground but I really doubt I will use it a lot. Some of the best shots are in the very early morning light when the balloons are just airing up and not actually floating up off the ground yet. Other good shots can be had when you can get groups of three or more balloons just getting into the air. I am afraid that by the time I get ready for the 400 the best light will be gone.

I have never used digital for this event but believe it or not, if you are working with Pentax DSLRs, you probably will get your best shots working with the 18-55 and the 50-200. Use the Vivid color setting if you are shooting jpegs. Remember, this is about bright, saturated colors and broad brush patterns. Ultimate sharpness is not that important. You really don't care if every stitch shows up but you do want the images to reproduce those vivid colors. The very first year I shot this event I used my Pentax 35mm f3.5 and my Vivitar Series One 70-210mm f3.5 with my K1000 on Fuji Velvia 50, and was blown away by the results.

Although I wouldn't recommend trying this yourself, this year I am going to pack a couple of rolls of Kodak T-Max P3200 black and white for the very early morning when people are just getting set up. The colors themselves are not so important at this time, but there are lots of interesting patterns that might show better on black and white. I guess we'll see if it works.
08-05-2012, 01:43 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by tabl10s Quote
are next month. Should I bring everything?
Yes and include in the accessories an assistant to carry it all.
08-05-2012, 02:40 AM   #8
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Wife & Kid's are going too.

08-05-2012, 04:47 PM - 1 Like   #9
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It gets quite cold here during the balloon races so dress warm! You can walk among the balloons so a long lens isn't needed. A wide angle and a normal should be enough. You'll want a tripod. Did I mention dress warm? Gloves, long johns, warm hat. The show is in three parts. At about 5:00 am the Glow Show begins. Several tethered balloons will light their burners synchronized to music. You'll want a tripod for that. Shortly before sunrise is the Dawn Patrol. Three to five specially equipped balloons will ascend into the dawn skies. You'll want to use fairly fast shutter speeds for this. The balloons will be moving and long shutter speeds will blur them. For the first two parts, forget using autoexposure. Did I mention dress warm? I go every year and experience says if the wife and kids get cold....well. As soon as the sun rises the mass ascent begins. We don't get hundreds of balloons here like the bigger events but it's still quite a show.

Glow Show




Dawn Patrol







Mass ascent











And stitched panoramas are fun.



08-05-2012, 07:32 PM   #10
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Very cool shots. Love the balloons lighted against the night sky.
08-05-2012, 09:52 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by gifthorse Quote
It gets quite cold here during the balloon races so dress warm!
Yep, yep, yep!

Early morning in the mountains = Long johns, stocking cap, warm coat, gloves, wool sox!

The only people who are warm are the ones running the burners.
08-06-2012, 05:53 AM   #12
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Phew! You saved my butt with the warm clothing advice. Thanks.
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