Balloons Over Waikato

From the day I moved to New Zealand about 2.5 months ago my passion for photography has been revived. Honestly, is there any place in the world that matches this country’s stunning scenery?

One event I had been looking forward to is Balloons Over Waikato, a hot air balloon festival held every year in autumn (yep, autumn has just started here) in Hamilton for the past 15 years. Both local and overseas balloonists come to the festival to showcase their skills and extraordinarily shaped balloons, but, more importantly for me, Balloons Over Waikato offers a spectacular opportunity for amateur and professional photographers to practice their hobby.

One of the oddly-shaped hot air balloons getting ready to take off during the launch of the festival

One of the oddly-shaped hot air balloons getting ready to take off during the launch of the festival

Balloons Over Waikato mass ascension

Balloons Over Waikato mass ascension

The festival takes place over 5 days from dawn to dusk and activities include early morning mass ascensions, a very early breakfast event, food and entertainment in the city centre, as well as a Balloon Glow Show at the University of Waikato on Saturday evening.

Early morning mass ascension

Despite the unearthly hour, the early morning mass ascension attracted hundreds of visitors

For me, getting out of bed early to attend the early morning mass ascension and launch of the festival was already totally worth it as soon as I arrived at Hamilton Lake, where the festival is primarily held. The sunrise and fog over the lake made for some fab images:

Sunrise at Hamilton Lake

Sunrise at Hamilton Lake

Beautiful dawn during the launch of Balloons over Waikato

Beautiful dawn during the launch of Balloons over Waikato

As soon as I got to the lake I forgot the burden of getting up at the unearthly hour of 6:30 a.m.

As soon as I got to the lake I forgot the burden of getting up at the unearthly hour of 6:30 a.m.

Although I brought my tripod, I found I did not really need it, as there was already enough light.

Another extraordinarily shaped balloon taking off during the mass ascension. The pilot came all the way from Belgium to take part in the festival.

Another extraordinarily shaped balloon taking off during the mass ascension. The pilot came all the way from Belgium to take part in the festival.

Extraordinarily shaped balloon taking off during the mass ascension

One of the special shaped balloon taking off during the mass ascension

According to the official website, the highlight of the festival for spectators is the Zuru Nightglow at the University of Waikato on Saturday night. Apart from live music and entertainment, during this evening the balloons will present “a stunning light and sound show” that will be capped off with “magical” fireworks. I will make sure to attend this event as well and post some photos of it (if I have any good ones) on the blog. If you have any tips on how to shoot fireworks pictures or photos of a night show I’d love to hear them.

Here are a few more shots I made during the Balloons Over Waikato launch on Wednesday morning.

The fog added a mysterious  touch to the balloon festival launch.

The fog added a mysterious touch to the balloon festival launch.

Getting ready for take off!

Getting ready for take off!

Coffee to warm body and soul on an early and foggy morning

Coffee to warm body and soul on an early and foggy morning

More balloons

More balloons

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s