Last week, I attended two distinctly different festivals. In both cases, I had to “endure” extremely hot and humid weather. By simply walking around at a snail’s pace photographing, left me and my clothes completely drenched in sweat! (yes, I know TMI) 😉


Warren County Hot Air Balloon Festival

This was my first time attending the Warren County Hot Air Balloon Festival, which was held at the fair grounds in Harmony, NJ.
Usually, I’ll go to the New Jersey Lottery Festival of Ballooning, but this year I wanted to change things up and see what this festival was all about.
Normally, a sky filled with cloud drama is always welcomed to give more of a 3D quality to a photograph, but in the case of hot air balloons aloft, a deep clear blue sky works wonderfully.
I was hoping that the staggered liftoffs would occur closer to sunset, but as one of the pilots informed me, there are certain time restraints that are related to having enough light to land safely in one of the neighboring fields.
I am grateful to one of the organizers who granted me permission to have access to the balloon launch field with the agreement that I would not encroach on the process of heating up the balloons.
The general public had to remain outside of that area so that the balloon crews can do their gigs without interruption.
Besides a couple of other photographers, the only other folks allowed in, were the ones who paid for the exhilarating experience of riding in one of these spectacular balloons.

Barton Orchards’ Sunflower Festival

The Sunflower Festival at Barton Orchards is truly a unique experience. You can take a hay ride up to a breathtaking five-acre rolling field with about 100,000 sunflowers in a variety of sizes and colors. By paying for a ticket, you can take your time cutting your own sunflowers and taking pictures in one of the most photographed spots in the Hudson Valley. Well, after being made aware of this, I did not hesitate taking a ride out and coming home bagging more than a few keepers.


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