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04-02-2017, 04:54 PM   #1
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Lenses for a Balloon Festival?

Its looking like when we go visit the family in New Mexico in October we'll be going to Albuquerque for the ballon fiesta. I know I'm bringing my K-30, unless it gets replaced by then, and my 20-40 and 50-135.

Will my 20-40 be wide enough? Or should I look in to getting a 15ltd,14 2.8, or 10-17 fisheye to really be able to capture the balloons? Of those three, which would you suggest? Or something else? I don't really have plans on going to the K1 so FF compatibility isn't a real concern. I'll also be using these for the northern lights at least too this winter so I'm fine with buying a lens.

04-02-2017, 05:15 PM   #2
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If you are not going to be well distanced from where the balloons are, a 15 or 14 might be useful for the wideness. The 20-40 would really be nice if you are at a reasonable distance from the balloons, because it has good wideness and some telephoto capability. A fisheye would only be valuable if you are very near the balloons. For flight you might want to use your 50-135.
04-02-2017, 05:21 PM   #3
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I think the 20-40 will be your lens for the day, until all the balloons are aloft at least, and then the 50-135 for distance.
Here on PF several 10-17mm are for sale, and that is a great lens. Imagine being in the center with ballons all around at various distances and heights, the 10-17mm will allow you to capture a unique shot like that
04-02-2017, 05:27 PM - 1 Like   #4
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Assuming you are "right there" during the inflating period, use as wide as you have (I would suggest 12-24, although the 10-17 can be dramatic). Once airborne, the 50-135 should work fine.

10-17 @ 17mm


12-24 @ 12mm.


150mm.


12-24 @12mm.


04-02-2017, 07:02 PM - 5 Likes   #5
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The lenses you have will work fine. If available, I'd suggest a fast lens. I use a Vivitar f2 28mm and an A 50mm f1.4. The balloons are moving during the Dawn Patrol and the faster lenses will help keep the ISO low. I'd also recommend a tripod for the Glow Show. The show will start with the Glow Show.



A number of balloons will ignite the burners (sometimes synchronized to music.) You'll want to use a tripod for the Glow Show. And check your exposures frequently. The auto-exposure won't work for this. After the Glow Show and shortly before sunrise will be the Dawn Patrol.







About half a dozen specially equipped balloons will take to the sky. You'll need faster shutter speeds here. (At least 1/60) The balloons are moving. Slowly, but they are moving. By now the other balloons will be starting to set up. This is a good time to catch the burners and you should keep an eye out for people silhouetted on a balloon. After the sun comes up will be the mass ascension. All the balloons will (try) to take to the skies at the same time. You'll want to be on the west side of the field. i e have the sun at your back to capture the colors.





I'd also suggest practicing your panorama techniques.




All these images were taken at the Great Reno Balloon races
08-14-2017, 12:26 PM   #6
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Thanks for the sample shots.

Any more thoughts? The sigma 10-20 f3.5 is on sale right now at $399 and is tempting.
08-14-2017, 07:26 PM   #7
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I went to Albuquerque in 2014 and used exclusively my DA 17-70. The image quality was very good, but I found myself wishing it was both wider and longer for a number of shots. I second the suggestion from above for the 12-24 and 50-135 both. I did not take a tripod and I'm glad I did not as it would have been counterproductive. The balloon festival is also quite a photo fest.
08-14-2017, 09:24 PM - 1 Like   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by skierd Quote
Thanks for the sample shots.

Any more thoughts? The sigma 10-20 f3.5 is on sale right now at $399 and is tempting.
You could shoot for years with the Siggy 10-20, DA 20-40 Ltd and DA*50-135.

Classy combo!

08-14-2017, 09:34 PM - 1 Like   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by clackers Quote
You could shoot for years with the Siggy 10-20, DA 20-40 Ltd and DA*50-135.

Classy combo!
+1, and maybe throw in a 200mm f4 M-series manual prime lens (one can be found for $72 bucks on keh.com) for those long distance compressed shots
08-14-2017, 09:56 PM   #10
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I have a m42 200mm f4 takumar already and like the length, so I'll be adding a DA*200 f2.8 and the HD DA 1.4x TC eventually to round out my kit along with a Sigma Art 30mm f1.4 or the 31mm LTD for a fast normal.

Glenn - thanks. I am also considering trading the 20-40 for a DA*16-50 and keeping myself to 3-4 lenses overall, so that observation helps.
08-14-2017, 10:18 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by skierd Quote

Glenn - thanks. I am also considering trading the 20-40 for a DA*16-50 and keeping myself to 3-4 lenses overall, so that observation helps.
I've got the DA*50-135 myself and at various times have considered getting the 16-50 to go with it. I understand that it's not as highly regarded, but it would be the similar beautiful rendering I'd be after, even if the sharpness is not quite the same.
08-14-2017, 11:03 PM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by skierd Quote
Glenn - thanks. I am also considering trading the 20-40 for a DA*16-50 and keeping myself to 3-4 lenses overall, so that observation helps.
I have had the DA*16-50 previously and currently have the 20-40. My personal opinion would be keep the 20-40. The DA*16-50 is a very nice lens, but it is heavy.

I am coming across from New Zealand to Albuquerque the week of the ballon festival and will be working, and also taking in the festival. I am planning to bring the following kit: K3, DA 20-40, DA*55, HD DA 55-300. I am tossing up whether to bring my M*300 for the ballon in flight telephoto images. I will have the DA15 in the bag as well.

So, now we know there will be at least 2 Pentaxians there

Last edited by NZ_Ross; 08-14-2017 at 11:34 PM.
08-15-2017, 08:06 AM   #13
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Oops! In my earlier post I suggested being on the west side of the field as the sun comes up. You should be on the EAST side (shooting toward the west) to keep the sun at your back.
08-15-2017, 08:50 AM   #14
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There's a hot air balloon event coming up in a couple weeks here in central CT. I'm planning on taking my usual two-lens kit, a DA15 and a DA18-135. I could see the 15 staying on the entire time depending on what goes on.

This is one of those times I wish the Tokina 11-16 was available in k-mount.
08-19-2017, 05:02 PM   #15
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Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta - Welcome to the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
You can look and plan event
Mostly interesting "Special shape ballon show or night glow special shape show
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