The culmination of this wondrous weekend of photography arrived on Sunday Morning, checking out early, we followed the intermittent caravan of pilots and observers west from Bluff to the Turn off to "The Valley of the Gods" an area I had heard of, but never visited. It was spectacular, Monument Valley spectacular, but with dirt roads and no tribal restrictions on where you can go. The fact that Hot Air Ballooning was/is allowed here is mind blowingly awesome!
The sense of adventure contained in that morning is embodied in this shot for me. A string of cars headed into the desert, the sun just barely touching the not so distant buttes, off the beaten path on a dirt road. The exact opposite of what national parks have become, paved parking lots and bus's full of tourists at an overlook with a fence to keep you from getting too close to the edge. The very unfettered nature of this environment breathing joy into your soul!
As we waited for the balloonists to pick a spot to launch, we enjoyed the delicate beauty of the moon again sinking towards the western horizon in the early dawn light. I wished for more clouds to give the sky texture, but... I will take clear skies over full overcast! The rule of thirds didn't suit me here, so I broke it. I don't know if it works, but I like it for some reason.
I keep coming back to this shot, it was my wallpaper for awhile, I struggled with the red saturation, this is as close to reality as I can remember it being. Warm light on a COLD morning.
Away out there somewhere is Monument Valley, many miles away. I don't feel bad to have missed going there.
The travel of many vehicles created some ground haze behind us, it looks worse than it is due to the sun's direction relative to the camera.
I think I had a strong infatuation with the moon on this trip, I remain unapologetic about it, steadfastly, I had a LOT of fun taking these pictures. And maybe more looking at them and playing with them.
As the balloons began to inflate and launch my excitement level soared, words cannot describe the beauty of these behemoths rising above the landscape, powered only by hot air. I need to finagle a ride on one of these someday. Hello Bucket List!!!
I wish I knew who owned this balloon, I think they would be interested in having this sequence of shots.
The action began to get even more fast and furious as more and more balloons launched.
The sky filled with balloons was a magnificent sight!
This panorama is my Piece de Resistance of the whole trip. I really want to print it large, really really large!
Typical of this area, all roads lead to beauty.
It turns out that landing something that you cannot really steer very well can be a chancy proposition, landing near a road nearly miraculous! But quite likely appreciated!
Back on the pavement again, time to head back home, dusty (Yes you can see the specks on the front of my lens element.....) but enthralled with the trip.
Thanks for coming along on this trip with me!