Up at 2AM, on the road by three! Met up at a friend’s house in NJ at 4 to participate in the 38th Annual New Jersey Lottery Festival Of Ballooning.

This was my first time back since 2017, and I once again took advantage of the opportunity photographers are given to shoot during the blue hour to the golden hour and before the crowds come en masse.

With lack of sleep, darkness all around, I unfortunately tripped and fell (mostly on my right side), but my new left knee (partial knee replacement in May/2021) did make contact with the ground, and rattled me for the rest of the day. All seems to be okay as I write this!

Although I am not too old for these very early rises, I am reaching in my pocket for the keys to open the old man door!

What is The New Jersey Lottery Festival of Ballooning?

The New Jersey Lottery Festival of Ballooning is the largest summertime hot air balloon and music festival in North America and is the premiere family entertainment attraction in New Jersey.  It holds the dual distinction of being a recipient of The New Jersey Governor’s Award for Best Special Event, as well as being designated, for the 6th time, as a Top 100 Festival in North America by the American Bus Association. Held annually at Solberg Airport in Readington, NJ, the festival truly has something for everyone!  From twice daily mass ascensions of up to 100 special shape and sport hot air balloons, to headlining concerts, non-stop family entertainment, hundreds of crafters and vendors, great food, fireworks, a balloon glow, and more, the festival is jam-packed with stuff to do. https://www.balloonfestival.com/

When we got there, it was just at the beginning of the Blue Hour, and for whatever reasons, many of the balloon crews were already preparing their balloons for launch. Usually, they all wait to allow the many photographers that gather there for the special time allotment to photograph the interior of the balloons. That said, we adapted to the situation and still came away with many wonderful dawn captures.

As the rise of the sun was at hand, many more crews showed up, and we had ample opportunity to capture many of the balloons that were participating in this year’s festival.


This festival is one of the highlights of summer, and it never grows old; no matter how many times you go to it!

To see these images (and others) in a larger version, please click on this link to view them at the photo section of my website: https://hudsonvalleylandscapephotos.com/photos/

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