Past Meetup

Free Opportunity to Attend the QuickChek NJ Balloon Festival

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Hi folks! Just like a few years back, I thought I'd post this information as a Meetup even though it is unlike most meetups where people meet for a class, photowalk, etc. Instead, I wanted to let all members know that you can attend and take pictures at the QuickChek NJ Balloon Festival on the morning of Friday, 7/28/2017 for no cost and with no special pass/ticket (even parking is free).

(above) A photo from an early morning launch at the QuickChek NJ Balloon Festival (not a media launch, but you can get some similar photos at the media launch). Photo © Andrew Darlow

The launch is at about 6:30am, but I would arrive a bit earlier. There is a special parking lot set aside for pro and amateur photographers, as well as photo clubs, and I've copied and pasted the information below if you'd like to attend (copied in it's entirety from the Festival website at

Freelance and amateur photographers and photo clubs wishing to take pictures at the Festival are invited to attend the scheduled pre-Festival media launch FREE of charge on Friday, July 27 at 6:30 a.m. No credentials or sign up needed. Parking for this preview will be available at the airport entrance of Forty Oaks Road and Solberg Road. Following the media launch a ticket purchase will be required for admission into the Festival, with parking available in the main lots all 3 days or at Raritan Valley Community College on Saturday and Sunday. Festival tickets are available by calling 1-800-HOT-AIR9, on the links on the web site, or at any QuickChek store location. Images taken are to be used solely for editorial purposes; images taken for commercial use is prohibited.
- See more at:

Here is a link on Google Maps to the place where you can park (I highly recommend putting this into a GPS device):

And here's a quick tip: WEAR WATERPROOF FOOTWEAR. The ground will almost certainly be wet. And regardless of whether you wear long pants or shorts, please check yourself carefully for ticks after you return home. I'm hearing too many stories of people being bitten this year.

(above) Another photo from an early morning launch. You should find many of these types of photo during the media launch.

I also wrote this article about this year's Festival if you'd like to take a look:

As noted above, if you'd like to attend the main festival after the media launch, tickets are required, and the festival does not open until 1pm. There is also information about discount tickets in the article. If you plan to attend the festival at another time, there are significant savings by purchasing tickets by end of day Wed. 7/26. Here is more information about tickets:

If you see me walking around with a black photo vest and a few cameras, please say hi! This is what I will look like (shot with a GoPro last year).

I hope to see you there!

P.S. If you'd like to read a free PDF guide that I wrote on how to get better photos at Balloon Festivals and similar events, visit this page:

P.P.S. If you need additional help with your camera settings are anything else before you attend the media launch or the festival, I am setting aside a few 45 minute phone consulting time slots on Thurs. 7/26 at a significant discount. The investment is just $99 (normally $249). If you are interested, you can reserve a time here ( (I can accept payment after our call as long as you are very happy with the information I provided).