loating. Sometimes it seems like that’s best path to take, rather than fight my way through whatever is impeding my progress. At least I do that in my photographic work. As you may already know, I have a fairly strict routine that I use to prepare myself to make pictures. It has evolved a little since I’ve retired from the streets of New Orleans.
Now, I learn as much as I can about my subject… without looking at pictures because I don’t want to prejudice my thinking about the subject. As I further prepare, I find a quiet place where I can sort of meditate on something, anything but photography. I am tying to clear my brain of any information at all. I want to see and react with no thought at all.
Very Zennish, isn’t it?
It’s not my intent to put my process in a box, by calling it Zen. But, that’s what it is. Kinda.
That’s what happened when I made this picture. Kinda.
It was Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta time. That means early October. I hadn’t planned on making pictures of the dawn liftoff on this particular day, but I was looking out the windows slurping my morning coffee when I saw balloons headed my way. Uh oh, I thought. The box broke.
The Albuquerque box is a wind pattern that flow west to east, hits the Sandia Mountains, flows along their base, hits an extended bit of mountain and turns west again. When it breaks, the eastbound airflow never reaches the mountain range and breaks apart. Balloons go everywhere instead of staying near the balloon field.
The chase was on.
Some balloons land in neighborhood streets. Some land on roofs of buildings. Some blow south. And, some fliers are able to adjust and fly over more open fields. That’s what this group did. They came right to me. Of course there was no time to get out of my car, plant my feet on the ground and shoot.
I worked through my windshield. What a filter that proved to be. It caused the sun to explode. It created light blobs that are sort of bokeh, but real. It also created a lot of noise that couldn’t be controlled. You can see it near the sun. Oh well.
Funny, about that Zen thing. It kept me focused on my target. I was able to see everywhere at once, allowing me not to crash into other drivers or run over bike riders and runners. You can’t see everywhere at once normally, but I could, if only for a short time. But, that’s all I needed.
Because I was going to the balloon field that dusk, I developed my images well before I normally would. You know that I believe in marinating my work for as long as reasonably possible. I wanted to know how I did in the morning because that could influence how I worked in the evening.
I was amazed at what I was looking at. I made a number of pretty good pictures. I didn’t remember shooting them. It’s that Zen thing.
Magic and luck. Magic and luck. Magic and luck.