Friday, July 6, 2012

Independence Day 2012 - Freedom Festival Balloon Launch

 5 am. 

The day was full of birdsong when my alarm went off.  I hit snooze, rolled over and attempted to get a little more sleep, but it refused to come.  Grumpily I looked to the window, noted that it was still fairly dark outside, and crawled out of bed.  I slumped off to the bathroom to run my shower, berating myself for stupidly staying up until after two am that morning.

6 am found Richard and I on the road, making our way to Provo where the annual Freedom Festival balloon launch was being held.  I had read online that the balloons would start filling for launch at 6:30 so we knew we still had time.  However, it quickly became apparent that a lot of people had planned to attend the same event, and we found ourselves in a bit of a traffic jam.  We found a place to park a few blocks away and made our way to the field, joining the crowd of people all heading in the same direction.

When we got to the part I was amazed at how many people had packed themselves into a space the size of a football field. 

Then I focused on the balloons and forgot the crowds around me.  The sun had not yet cleared the nearby mountains, but the light that filled the air lit these wonders with a translucency that was surreal.  The event must have actually started at 6, because many of the balloons were close to being filled already...

I pulled out my camera and began snapping shot after shot, wandering from one slowly filling balloon after another, utterly entranced as balloons, filled, began launching into the air and drifting off slowly, like seeds blown from a puff of dandelion.

Here are just a few of the shots from that morning. Tomorrow I will share some of my favorite shots from the parade that followed...

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