Shooting photos of the Plymouth, Indiana Blueberry Festival Hot Air Balloon Glow on Labor Day Weekend this year proved to be similar to playing a game of Whack-A-Mole, the arcade game that you use a mallet to hit the toy moles that randomly pop out of their holes.
A Hot Air Balloon Glow is performed at dusk with the balloons using their burners to light up the inside of the balloon, giving a glowing effect against the dusk sky. A brilliant sight for sure, but the problem with trying to photograph the event is that they rarely have all the balloons lite at the same time. Apparently the burners get very hot and can only blow the fire in short bursts, with the longest being maybe four or five seconds.
For most of the event, which lasted about 10 minutes, the announcer had each balloon fire up their burner one at a time. Only twice did the event announcer ask the balloons to light up at the same time, and even then a few were late in getting their burners fired up, while others had already did their burst.
But I was able to get two or three shots of three or more balloons glowing at the same time. Therefore I consider it a success. I was hired by the First Federal Bank in Plymouth to shoot some photos of the Hot Air Balloon Glow, along with the spectacular Fireworks display immediately after all the balloons were packed up and carted out!
It's always a blast shooting the Greencastle Music Fest in Greencastle, Indiana. I've been hired by organizers three out of the past four years, including this past weekend. I feel more comfortable photographing the event each time, as I'm familiar with the setup, expectations, and more importantly, the lighting I'll be working with, which includes bright evening sun, dusk and the after-dark concert on the town square.
The set of photos above were shot using my Canon T3i with external flash on top of the camera in TTL mode. As festival photographer, I had access to the stage area, both behind and beside, which I used as much as possible.
The results of the test shots at the Greencastle Music Fest in Greencastle, IN yesterday with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300 camera turned out sharp, other than some user error/learning curve with some focusing issues.
The Lumix DMC-FZ300 turned out to be exactly what I needed for this situation - candids of the crowd during the daylight hours. The promoter wanted photos of kids playing in the children's area, adults playing corn hole (we do that a lot in Indiana), and folks just sitting around in their lawn chairs watching the festivities and waiting on the bands to play.
My Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300 arrived yesterday and I have to admit I was a little leary of purchasing a Bridge camera (between a point-and-shoot and DSLR) instead of upgrading my T3i. However, I also feel like I DID actually upgrade from my T3i, which was manufactured in 2011.
I won't go into all the details about the Lumix DMC-FZ300, other than a quick overview of 4K video, RAW ability, a 25-600 zoom at 2.8 from wide to full tele (huge advantage), and some very modern features like face-detection, and AutoFocus Continuous, which follows the subject as it moves, both of the latter are a big benefit to street photography, not to mention the wifi app that allows camera control from the iPhone for even more stealth street shooting.