Filling the Sky

A few weeks ago, I joined a small group of photographers in Lexington, Virginia for a weekend at the Balloons Over Rockbridge festival. We were up at dawn on Saturday and Sunday to watch the crews set up and launch their classic hot air craft.

Watching and learning about getting these things off the ground was fascinating. It all starts with checking the wind aloft and carefully watching the storm forecasts. Day 1 went almost perfectly. Day 2, not so much. But that seems to be pretty common for these teams.

On this page are a few of my favorite shots from the two days, with many more in the gallery. If that’s not enough, check out the three galleries that Kathy shot over the weekend. I also have another gallery of photos from the other area attractions we visited.

At the top are some of the balloons as they follow the winds off into the distance. The pilots have some control over their height, not so much on where they land.

Morning Briefing

At the morning meeting for the teams, they review the weather reports and wind conditions. The news wasn’t good on the second day so the teams inflated the balloons for the spectators but didn’t launch.

Laying Out The Balloon

Start by unrolling and laying out the balloon. Then they use a large electric fan to begin the inflation process. The whole thing is pretty quick, about 20-30 minutes.

Firing Up

Once the fan has done it’s job, they turn on the heat and start getting some lift.


And from there, it’s off into sky. A beautiful day to fly.