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08-25-2018, 03:36 AM   #1
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Balloon Festival Lens Suggestions?

We just decided last minute that we're going to a balloon festival this afternoon/evening. I'm looking for some input on what lens or lenses to take. I'm leaning towards using the K-1 and I have the following lenses:

FA 31
FA 43
FA 77
FA 50 1.4
D FA 15-30
D FA 28-105
DA 55*
DFA 100mm Macro
and an old Tamron 70-300 from the film days.

Any suggestions and why would be much appreciated. Full disclosure I do have the 150-450 but it will be too crowded there to take that cannon.

08-25-2018, 03:55 AM   #2
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I suggest you go wide and get close, very close.
08-25-2018, 03:57 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by pschlute Quote
I suggest you go wide and get close, very close.
I've been thinking along the same lines!
08-25-2018, 04:33 AM - 3 Likes   #4
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I would bring the D FA 15-30 and D FA 28-105. I've included some hot air balloon festival links taken in the range of these 2 lenses.

@18mm
@ 23mm
@50 mm
@100mm

08-25-2018, 04:44 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by wstruth Quote
D FA 15-30D FA 28-105

Having shot balloons I think going wide is definitely recommended. But it is nice to have some length for that "special" shot that may be on offer.
08-25-2018, 04:56 AM   #6
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I agree, a wide angle will help you take in the crowds on the ground and the balloons' height as they fill and prepare to launch, I'd even consider a fisheye for walking around the assembly area. Once the balloons are in the air, taking in the mass colors as they spread across the sky is usually a much better picture than zooming in on one balloon's basket.
08-25-2018, 05:25 AM   #7
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Go on Flickr and look up photos from the festival in previous years. I went to balloon festival a couple years ago that did not let you anywhere near the balloons so that was challenging. I got better pics of the crowd and entertainment.
08-25-2018, 06:10 AM - 2 Likes   #8
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I've been to one hot air balloon festival, took the 8mm fisheye, 16-85 and the 35/2 (apsc camera). I used all three, as suggested above close and wide led to nice shots, so that's the 15-30 from your choices, but I have a few shots at longer focal lengths too.
If they have a lights show after sunset, maybe one between the fa 31 and 43 would also be good for the larger aperture (this with 35/2)



Last edited by aaacb; 08-25-2018 at 06:19 AM.
08-25-2018, 08:06 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by cl1352 Quote
I would bring the D FA 15-30 and D FA 28-105. I've included some hot air balloon festival links taken in the range of these 2 lenses.

@18mm
@ 23mm
@50 mm
@100mm
Great shots here.

QuoteOriginally posted by aaacb Quote
I've been to one hot air balloon festival, took the 8mm fisheye, 16-85 and the 35/2 (apsc camera). I used all three, as suggested above close and wide led to nice shots, so that's the 15-30 from your choices, but I have a few shots at longer focal lengths too.
If they have a lights show after sunset, maybe one between the fa 31 and 43 would also be good for the larger aperture (this with 35/2)
Nice shot I'm definitely going to bring a longer lens too.

Thank you all. The consensus so far seems to be wide with a perhaps an additional longer lens. @Tom our friends tell us we can get up close to the balloons as they are being inflated. I's still open to ideas though.
08-25-2018, 08:43 AM   #10
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I've been to 3 balloon festivals. 2 times ultrawide angle was good because everyone was allowed to casually walk between the balloons as they were being prepped, 1 time a bit of reach was need because the balloon area was barricaded.

Bring these lenses, in order of priority. Start packing and stop when you don't want to carry more lenses. Your 28-105 is the only must-have IMO and the other lenses are for opportunities that may or may not come up at a specific balloon festival.
  1. 28-105 for versatility. It can handle individual balloons, groups, and has enough reach as balloons take off.
  2. 15-30. Ultrawide is great if you can get close to the balloons. f2.8 will be useful if there's a nighttime balloon glow.
  3. 70-300 if you want to take many photos of airborne balloons as they get further away.
  4. A fast prime if you want faster than f2.8 for low light. I don't think you'll need it, because the "low light" balloon glow involves flames and the 15-30 will be enough. Maybe take the 50 1.4 in case you want more reach than the 15-30 offers.
Zooming to get balloon details:

An example why wide angle might not work well

Balloon glow. ISO 400, f4 on a K-5 was adequate:

Last edited by DeadJohn; 08-25-2018 at 08:48 AM.
08-25-2018, 08:49 AM   #11
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Nice shots DeadJohn! I would agree with your pick of lenses.

May I add, going to a balloon festival is on my bucket list!!!
08-25-2018, 09:21 AM - 1 Like   #12
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My best experience at a balloon festival was with the DA 17-70. I also had the 55-300 with me at the time, but didn’t use it much as we were able to be quite close to the balloons.
08-25-2018, 11:24 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by DeadJohn Quote
I've been to 3 balloon festivals. 2 times ultrawide angle was good because everyone was allowed to casually walk between the balloons as they were being prepped, 1 time a bit of reach was need because the balloon area was barricaded.

Bring these lenses, in order of priority. Start packing and stop when you don't want to carry more lenses. Your 28-105 is the only must-have IMO and the other lenses are for opportunities that may or may not come up at a specific balloon festival.
  1. 28-105 for versatility. It can handle individual balloons, groups, and has enough reach as balloons take off.
  2. 15-30. Ultrawide is great if you can get close to the balloons. f2.8 will be useful if there's a nighttime balloon glow.
  3. 70-300 if you want to take many photos of airborne balloons as they get further away.
  4. A fast prime if you want faster than f2.8 for low light. I don't think you'll need it, because the "low light" balloon glow involves flames and the 15-30 will be enough. Maybe take the 50 1.4 in case you want more reach than the 15-30 offers.
Zooming to get balloon details:

An example why wide angle might not work well

Balloon glow. ISO 400, f4 on a K-5 was adequate:
I'd say that DeadJohn has it nailed. Going down his list, just cut it off when the lens load becomes too heavy, if it ever does.

Getting in close to the balloons during inflation is really cool. Get in close to get the inside of the balloon with the flame roaring in. Just don't get in the way of the operation. Don't block the fans. The crew will tell you to back off when you're in too close, and different crews may have different forbidden zones, so go with their flow.

Have a great time.
08-26-2018, 07:44 AM   #14
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Another thing to consider, if you will be sitting and observing for any period of time, is trying multiple exposure , interval, and long exposure shots. Rather than freezing all the action at an event, a little blur gives an impression of the movement of crowds and balloons.
08-26-2018, 07:06 PM - 2 Likes   #15
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Thanks all for the suggestions and input. A few shots from the festival. All shot with the DFA 15-30








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