Hot Air Balloon Launch!

The Central Texas Ballooning Association is planning their annual Lake Travis flight at sunrise on Saturday, August 3, from Mansfield Dam Park. Launch time is sunrise and their flights are about an hour. Vantage points depend on the wind direction and include Volente, Windy Point and the Oasis. Last year we had over 130 of our photographers attend but most of the balloons didn't launch due to inclement weather. Let's hope that Mother Nature is more cooperative this year! Sunrise is just before 7:00 am so you'll want to arrive well in advance to get shots of preparation and launch.
Central Texas Ballooning Association
http://www.centraltexasballooning.org/

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  • Pauline O.

    I enjoyed it very much. it was cool to watch them get ready and then Launch them.

    August 5, 2013

  • Jan T.

    I had a great time! Thanks for coordinating this shoot, Allen. I met some friends, got a couple good shots--and some really bad ones--and learned more about my camera. Thanks to Deborah Mathison for all your help!

    August 5, 2013

  • Pauline O.

    I enjoyed it so much. things got alittle hectic in the morning as we didnt get are wakeup call and ended up getting there at 6:25.
    But had an awesome time. got a few good shots and even jump in the car and went to hudson bend rd but missed the balloons coming over the water. stupid GPS took me under the dam. lol
    but all in all , it was AWESOME. Was my first hot air balloon experience and I loved it.
    thanks for putting this meet together.

    August 5, 2013

  • Lance B.

    I had a lot of fun..... I saw a few mentions of the ad'ed balloons.... and I can appreciate were they are coming from, but for me... I enjoyed it regardless.... In fact, my thanks to Scott Felder Homes, and Remax for being involved... I really enjoyed the morning....

    August 5, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I liked it. Next time I'll get their earlier because after looking at the pictures people took I missed several balloons. :-\

    August 3, 2013

    • Jessica

      Actually, Loki, I believe a lot of the photos are from other balloon launches. There were only a handful of balloons at this event, many of which were sponsored (and thereby billboard balloons). Hopefully the people who posted from other launches can keep us abreast of other events!

      1 · August 5, 2013

    • Deborah Ronnbeck M.

      Only the first photo was from another launch at Horseshoe Bay, taken by Jim MacKay, who was poking fun at the tiny turnout of balloons at this launch. All of the others were taken on Saturday morning.

      August 5, 2013

  • Richard C.

    Lots of fun. Got some good shots. Didn't get all I wanted but this was my first balloon launch and I got some ideas for some things to do differently next time.

    3 · August 3, 2013

    • Lori R.

      We thought about going, but stayed up too late and didn't want to get up. We went several years ago and got some good shots. Didn't know you were into photography. Well, maybe Elton did...

      1 · August 3, 2013

    • Richard C.

      Haha. Yes, Elton and I have had several conversations about it.

      1 · August 4, 2013

  • Phil P.

    overall great event, got pretty crowded, will get up even earlier next time...

    August 4, 2013

  • Tricia

    Great event!

    August 4, 2013

  • Jacque

    Thank you for organizing this - such a fun event. Loved the spirit of the balloonists and helpers.

    August 4, 2013

  • Amanda J.

    I was kind of disappointed that 4 of the balloons were advertisements. I was expecting all colorful balloons, but the experience was great nonetheless. My first meet up and my first hot air balloon launch. Tons of fun!

    5 · August 3, 2013

    • Keith

      Agreed... Great if you are looking for ideas for a home builder, disappointing, if you are looking were looking for a variety of balloons. Regardless, fun experience had by all.

      2 · August 3, 2013

    • Danny

      Lol.

      August 4, 2013

  • Walter R.

    A good showing of photographers but not many balloons (only 7)

    1 · August 3, 2013

  • Kumaresh N.

    it was a super Balloon event. I wen up to the Lake in Hudson bend and got some nice shots with sunrise over the lake. thks to Tim or heads up on hudson bend

    August 3, 2013

  • Mark S.

    Lots of fun and tons of smiling, happy folks!

    1 · August 3, 2013

  • Rebecca

    It was my first time attending, I had a great time and got some great shots!

    August 3, 2013

  • Deborah Ronnbeck M.

    Absolutely loved it! I'm sure this low-light/high contrast environment would have frustrated me last year and I would have resorted to Auto settings, but I've been studying and applying what I've learned. I noticed a fellow with a DSLR whose flash kept going off. I just knew he was stuck in Auto. I asked him if I could help him get set up for the morning (using suggestions I received on this site about setting ISO and shooting in Aperture mode). He took several shots, bumping up his ISO until there was FABULOUS shot showing on his LCD screen. We talked about lowering the ISO as the sun came up, using single focus and exposure. He got it! He was so excited, I thought I might get a hug from a complete stranger! It was a "great, wakin' up morning!"

    4 · August 3, 2013

  • Cindy

    Great weather for the launch. The traffic has increased tremendously from last year. It was very crowded. We walked down to the lake after they launched to get some different shots.

    August 3, 2013

  • Charlie a.

    had fun , good event

    1 · August 3, 2013

  • Allen R.

    What a fun morning. Hope everyone had a good time.

    7 · August 3, 2013

    • Tricia

      Thank you for organizing the event. Always fun!

      August 3, 2013

  • Charlie a.

    thank you for whoever mentioned the marina on hudson bend road to get some good shots!!! will post some soon

    1 · August 3, 2013

    • Lori M

      Ditto on the thanks! Great location. And good to meet you, Charlie.

      August 3, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Thank you, Allen, for coordinating this!

    1 · August 3, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I think I got some fantastic shots this morning. It's going to be days before I can get them processed and posted, though.

    August 3, 2013

  • Kati L.

    Hated to miss this event! I'm always looking for fellow adventureres to shoot with...assuming you have patience for this amateur.

    August 3, 2013

  • Melissa M.

    It was beautiful this morning and a great turnout, but I unfortunately did not get the photos I was hoping for...I saw some great photos already though. Great job to you all.

    August 3, 2013

  • Miles

    It was fun this morning! Most balloons were gone by 655 AM into the clear sky. I needed to get back home, could not stay to see everybody.

    August 3, 2013

  • Donny G.

    As this is my first meet up with the group I would not mind meeting a few (or a lot) of you. I will be wearing a BRIGHT yellow shirt. Stop me and say hi! Don't be shy....... I'm not :)

    1 · August 2, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      I'll be wearing a blue shirt gray cap And have my four-legged assistant with me

      August 3, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      I'm wearing a purple cycling shirt and starting to look for people.

      August 3, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Where is the group gathering?

    August 3, 2013

  • Alex R.

    Rise and Shine everyone. Looks like we are going to have good weather. According to the CenTex Balloning web page:
    "The pilots will make a go or no-go decision at the site"
    I predict there will be a GO...Se you there and lets all have fun

    2 · August 3, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I can carpool and I will be leaving from the South part of Austin. Is somebody interested in carpooling?

    August 2, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    How long will this event run? I plan on making it, but not for the 0630 start time. I plan to make it there around 10am. Will everything still be going on by then? I love sleep!

    August 2, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      But the fly over Lake Travis (or one of the lakes here). It's a Saturday event.

      August 2, 2013

    • Allen R.

      They may be back to the park for their tailgate party by then. They will launch by 7 and the flights will be over by 8.

      August 2, 2013

  • Christina

    As much as I'd love to come...it's looking like I can't make it. I'm so sorry for the late RSVP change.

    August 2, 2013

  • Danny

    Is it even light out at 6:00 in the morning?? I'm not sure I have a big enough lightbox.

    1 · July 29, 2013

    • Tim

      Danny, sunrise is at 6:51 am but civil twilight is at 6:25 am. Civil twilight is the time before sunrise (or after sunset) when the sun is below the horizon (and not yet visible) and the light bends around the earth so you you big soft light. The balloons are "hot air" so they use big propane burners with open flames to fill the balloons - which makes for really cool shots - darkness with a burst of flames that lights the subjects and the balloons from their insides. Now, the balloons launch at sunrise so they're airborne when there's plenty of gorgeous, morning light.

      July 29, 2013

    • Danny

      Sounds amazing!

      August 2, 2013

  • Danny

    Anyone know a good area to park nearby? I don't think the park parking will support us all.

    August 2, 2013

  • Anna G.

    I may have missed this but does anyone have a website that might have good info on camera settings for this event? Or just starter settings? I've done this before but this is my practice run before the Albuquerque Balloon Festival so I want to try to get it right!

    July 30, 2013

    • Bryan L.

      I think this will be a great opportunity to learn and play with full manual. Early morning start with a higher ISO, depends on the max before it gets grainy on your camera. Adjust your aperture to the the amount of bokeh you want and then play with the shutter speed to get the desired effect. Sometimes I will speed up the shutter to capture the flames as they light the balloon, or slow it down to captur the people and sky. Great opportunity to play since nothing will be changing rapidly. As the sun comes up then lower your ISO. Then if everything fails jump into aperture mode and have fun with it.

      1 · August 2, 2013

    • Jeff C.

      also if your trying to shoot the balloon glow try spot metering on the balloons. that way they will be properly exposed and the sky will be dark (or try HDR)

      2 · August 2, 2013

  • Pauline O.

    just read on the website that the weather report looks good for the launch tomorrow. so keeping my fingers crossed. and they launch at 6:45 it says.

    1 · August 2, 2013

  • Chris Davis C.

    Too many photographers!

    August 2, 2013

    • Bryan L.

      There can never be to many photographers at an event like this. Just don't be shy and take your turn. Or just start taking photos of the 30 million photographers. :)

      1 · August 2, 2013

  • Bryan L.

    Meeting other members in this group is difficult at this meetup since everyone that goes will have a camera, and the will be multiple meetup groups and it will be dark before it starts. I am planning to go as long as my leg isn't killing me. I will be easy to find, I will be the one on crutches. Also if you have any questions about our group or how to take a certain type of photo please come and find me. I most likely will have to stay one the road so I should be easy to find.

    2 · July 31, 2013

    • Allen R.

      If you look at the park and dam on google maps for example you'll see there is a chain link fence and gate that blocks access to the road that use to cross the dam. I'll be by that gate at 6 AM. We can meet there as a group if anyone wants to do that. You can find me there from 6 AM till the balloonists arrive and start to setup.

      3 · July 31, 2013

    • Tricia

      So glad to see you making it out Bryan!

      August 2, 2013

  • Jessica

    Leaving from Northwest Austin. Anyone interested in carpooling?

    August 2, 2013

  • Melissa M.

    Looking forward to this

    August 2, 2013

  • Colin C.

    Bringing a guest. I am not sure what I am thinking as I definitely am not a morning person, but some friends and I are renting a boat at about 10am, so a few of us figured to head up there for this event.

    This will be my first ever of the hot air balloon escapades!! Looking forward to it!!

    August 1, 2013

    • Colin C.

      Oh... my guest is already confirmed!!

      August 1, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Ill be driving from east austin with room if someone needs a ride.

    August 1, 2013

  • Allen R.

    I think we broke our record for yes RSVPs! We are over 200 this morning. It will be crowded arrive early if you can to get a good parking spot. Car pool with friends if you can.

    July 30, 2013

    • Aussies (.

      I think it will be a lot more crowded than when I went two years ago. It's Boomertime & Austin Area over 40 Singles Adventurers have also posted this outing.

      July 31, 2013

    • Alicia

      Add 50+ from San Antonio group ;)

      July 31, 2013

  • Michelle W.

    I have to work that day. I would have loved to have seen this.

    July 26, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    A fellow photographer friend in the group showed me this. I'll like to experience this and if course, meet other photographers! :)

    1 · July 30, 2013

  • Kati L.

    So excitied for this! Just start a 6-week photography class. Can't wait to try out my new learnin'

    June 5, 2013

    • Kendall S.

      I can 2nd this! I've taken 2 classes from him and just returned from his Rocky Mountain National Park workshop. Totally worth every penny!

      2 · July 30, 2013

    • Kati L.

      Austin Scgool of Photography

      July 30, 2013

  • Pauline O.

    this year they will be able to Launch. I just know it !!!

    July 30, 2013

  • carolyn z.

    I can't wait for this. I'm coming and bringing a guest.

    July 30, 2013

  • Kumaresh N.

    I am from Dallas and visiting Austin and know little bit about Lake Travis and this dam. where do meet in that park? nearby Balloonist or audience ?
    thks for help

    July 30, 2013

  • Aussies (.

    Since this would be my first outing with the group (I watched the balloons launch in 2011) how will we know the group? I'm assuming that the majority of folks who go watch the launch will also have a camera.

    July 30, 2013

  • Allen R.

    From Central Texas Ballooning website...

    "The balloons plan to launch from Mansfield Dam Park at sunrise, which is about 6:45. The pilots and crew will arrive at about 6:00 to get the balloons ready for launching. The balloons, WEATHER PERMITTING, will fly for about an hour. And of course, they will fly where ever the winds take them. The pilots will return to the park after the flight for a tailgate party. If you want to visit with the balloonists, stick around. And please do not park on the grass, for that is where the balloons will launch from. Don't forget your camera."

    and lenses and memory cards and spare charged battery and microfiber cloth!

    I plan to arrive at 6 AM. It will be dark so it will be hard to find each other.

    1 · July 30, 2013

  • Christina Kropp C.

    Looking forward to seeing you there.

    July 30, 2013

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