Northam put on a spectular show this year with the Hot Air Ballooning championships being held from 2nd to 9th of September 2017.
Staying in single quarters in the lovely old Muresk Agricultural school just outside of Northam with members of the Workshop Camera Club, it was a very early start each morning, in 1 degree celcius! But what an adventure!
With changing wind conditions determining the mystery location of the take-off of the balloons each day, we had to be fed, camera gear at the ready and set to go by 5.15am. We all gathered in the common room kitchen, where we (bleary eyed) hit "refresh" on facebook, like addicted gamblers, until the championship organisers suddenly posted the secret take-off location. Then, it was "man your battle stations!!"
Photographers everywhere ran to their car, fully loaded with equipment for every eventuality! We drove in the dark to find an obscure farmers' paddock in the middle of no-where that was suddenly a frenzy of action! The Balloonists were already prepared and balloons were inflating.
With frozen fingers I raced to capture every moment. The firing of flames came with a comforting roar of sound, as people rushed around the base, controlling the inflation with ropes. When the time was right, it was time for take-off.
To be honest, the whole experience was an adrenalin rush - not exactly what you would expect from a hot-air ballooning contest! With an average of only 20-25 minutes before takeoff, I felt like quick-draw-mcgraw, changing films as quickly as possible and swapping cameras and lenses so as to not miss a moment of the light.
It was then time to head to the local market for an egg and bacon burger, a warm cup of tea, and a debrief on the mornings events.
All those who attended were ready for the next morning - only to be told they would be taking off from our front yard at Muresk! We were all greatful!
Stay tuned for images of the event included in my coming exhibition!