photography from the ground up

Balloons In The Dunes

The White Sands Balloon Invitational is an annual event that takes place in September. It is much smaller than the world-famous Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, but the setting is far more dramatic and beautiful.

After several years of thinking about going, I finally made the trip to Alamogordo. On Sunday morning, I was up at 4 AM and waiting at the gate to the monument at a little before 5. When the gates opened (a little after 6), I was fifth in line and when I got near the area where from which the balloons would launch, I parked on the side of the road, grabbed my backpack and tripod, and headed out across the dunes to find a good vantage point.

The launch was supposed to start at 7 AM, but the first balloons didn’t start to appear above the dunes until nearly 7:30. The sky was clear and deep blue–a combination I usually try to avoid for my photography, but in this case the conditions were perfect; the multi-colored balloons stood out beautifully against the cerulean skies.

As the balloons began to clear the crests of the dunes, the effect was magical, and for someone who usually comes to the dunes for solitude, their presence floating high above the white dunes provided a very different experience of the place.

As I mentioned earlier, this is an annual event. If you’re in New Mexico next year around the second weekend in September, you ought to head to White Sands for the 22nd annual White Sands Balloon Invitational.

13 responses

  1. My favourite subjuct for photography and not one I’ve had the chance to shoot yet. These are absolutely fabulous Jim. I may get the chance to photograph a balloon on Saturday but the weather isn’t looking too promising. The deep blue of those skies sets off the colours brilliantly.


    October 3, 2012 at 8:06 am

  2. Fantastic contrast between the sands and the sky.


    October 3, 2012 at 8:06 am

  3. Pingback: Please Un-spam me! « Cornwall – A Photographic Journey

  4. Very amazing pictures of the balloons.White sands is a memory for me of the time my daughter works in New Mexico.
    Have a good time.You have beautiful photos


    October 3, 2012 at 2:18 pm

  5. this looks wonderful and beautiful 🙂


    October 7, 2012 at 9:46 pm

  6. Reblogged this on muhdtaha.


    October 19, 2012 at 11:57 am

  7. First off I want to say wonderful blog! I had a quick question in
    which I’d like to ask if you don’t mind. I was interested to find out
    how you center yourself and clear your head before writing.

    I’ve had trouble clearing my mind in getting my thoughts out. I do enjoy writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are wasted just trying to figure out how to begin. Any suggestions or hints? Thank you!


    December 24, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    • Thank You. I just sit down and start writing. Sometimes it all comes out at once and sometimes I have to come back to finish.


      January 2, 2013 at 9:59 am

  8. THe dune-balloon.jpg has a nice equilibrium, the sand is wonderfully full on tonalities.


    August 8, 2014 at 4:59 am

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