Up, Up, and Away



We have owned a home in Galena, Illinois for 12 years now.  Every June I see, or hear, the balloons overhead.  I’ve always wanted to go to the ‘Great Galena Balloon Race’ but I have never been able to …  until this year. At about  4:30 in the afternoon I got the heads up, a Blue Hour special was to take place at 8:45pm.




The festival start’s early in the day. The Great Balloons, an Antique Car Show, an Ale Fest, and a band to boot! This is a big deal and a whole lotta fun. People travel from all over, from Detroit’s Motor City to Baton Rouge, Louisiana….

Pack lunch and bring a blanket, this is family day.






I was thrilled at the sight of these brilliantly colorful monsters and wanted I to shoot (as in photograph) them again, sooo…

The following morning I rose at 4:30am, caught a ride with my neighbors, and witnessed the Dawns Early Light.  Another spectacular showing.






With the sun gently spilling over the horizon we transitioned into the Golden Hour, need I say more?  The illumination was beautiful.






Now let me explain how the race is won. This particular race was a ‘bean bag toss’. Because the balloons do not take flight at the same time, it can not be won by the first balloon to arrive. Therefore, a target is placed on the ground and where it is placed is determined the morning of, the winds will make that decision.  Anyhow, when the balloons arrive at the target, the bean bag is tossed and the closest bag to the target wins!!

Elementary my Dear Watson…




I love the above photo, but in the upper corners you can see the shadows from my lens hood, or is it from my lens? Shooting too wide with a 35mm?  In any case if I had cropped this image, the scene, or the balance, would be off  and it would have ruined my picture.  So…. I let it be!



 Oops, same with this shot, can I get a little help please …..?


Proceeds from the Great Galena Balloon Race go to support research to find a cure for Juvenile Diabetes – JDRF and to support Camp Hertko Hollow – a summer camp in Boone, IA for kids with diabetes.  

12 thoughts on “Up, Up, and Away

  1. Vibrant color, lighter than air. You have us spectators in our own surroundings, that is real time photography. Best of all your passion for translating images is benefitting diabetes. xo

  2. Michelle, your posts are always a spectacular journey through your words and photos. The images are spectacular and your writing takes us right into the moment.
    Such beauty in the sky!
    Congrats on the new place-you will be VERY missed❤️ here in RF.

  3. Great shots! Yea you are getting distortion on the edges when you go as wide as that lens will go. Next time, try bringing it in just a bit and that will eliminate it. I usually just crop when it happens. but if you want to save that space you could clone those corners in PS. it would probably take an hour of work tops if you take your time and are patient working with feathering and opacity of the clone stamp.

  4. Great job Michelle. These photos are beautiful! You can feel the awesomeness of the event through each photo.I would not have noticed the corner spots on my own. My eyes were on the balloons.

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