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