Al Swanson  

Balloon Glow by Al Swanson

November 2019 - Balloon Glow

November 2019 - Al Swanson


About the Image(s)

I chose to do hot air balloon lighting as my unusual lighting source. Everyone loves a balloon glow. We spend several months in Arizona during the winter and each February several of balloonist put on a balloon glow for American cancer week. I shot several images focusing on the balloon burners and tried to capture a full burn. I chose this particular angle because I wanted to get some background that included a balloon that was also being inflated. I shot this a little slow to get the movement of the flame. Post-processing included cropping and the application of HDR from a NIK program. I then adjusted the brightness using levels in Photoshop and slightly saturating the colors. Lastly I tried to reduce some of the loud noise in the canopy. Tech Data: Canon 5D; F 4; 1/30 of a second; ISO 2500.

This round’s discussion is now closed!
9 comments posted

Mike Patterson   Mike Patterson
This is a definite improvement over your original. The colors are now extra-bold and exciting. The horizon doesn't appear level but I'm thinking this was your intent in order to have the balloons vertical. Great job.   Posted: 11/05/2019 19:56:19

Marti Buckely   Marti Buckely
Both are nice but I actually like the original as I feel it shows the "unusual lighting" off in an interesting way. Good job.   Posted: 11/06/2019 14:52:38

Peggy Reeder   Peggy Reeder
I think that your original better directs the viewer to the light from the flames. I think that the contrast of the dark night and the bright balloons is your focal point. Maybe just changing the sky back to black in your final version would do the trick. You have captured the scene really well, and I do like your angle shooting down the row of three balloons. This was not an easy shot to get! Very nicely done Al!   Posted: 11/08/2019 11:42:43

Jerry Biddlecom   Jerry Biddlecom
Beautiful vivid colors, and a well done job of recovery from the original. My preference would be to level out the horizon, but maybe this was not your intent. As an alternative, what would it look like if you cropped out the bottom and just had the balloons forming an abstract pattern? A bit like stained glass, perhaps?   Posted: 11/10/2019 16:55:19

Marti Buckely   Marti Buckely
I'm going to perhaps stir some controversy here but regarding the horizon comments, I feel the horizon is fine. If you look at the people and trees, they appear straight to me. Not all horizons appear level. Just my 2 cents. :)   Posted: 11/10/2019 18:25:57
Jerry Biddlecom   Jerry Biddlecom
I think the building, or tent, in the middle with the archways appears to be leaning to the left.   Posted: 11/12/2019 16:07:03
Kaylyn Franks   Kaylyn Franks
I will suggest tweeting the horizon just a tiny bit. The people and the tent are leaning slightly. After doing so the horizon will still be off a bit, but that's because of the angle it was shot.   Posted: 11/25/2019 08:52:17

Joseph J Zaia   Joseph J Zaia
My, this almost like two different pictures. You sure gave light to this picture. Yes, it is leaning to the left and it is a bit distracting.   Posted: 11/22/2019 19:28:04

Kaylyn Franks   Kaylyn Franks
What is the story? The light, the colorful balloons or festivities? If it is about the light, I suggest staying closer to the original and bring out the colors of the balloon enhanced by the light and leave the rest dark.   Posted: 11/25/2019 08:58:08