Friday, August 12, 2011

Travel TidBits: Hot Air Balloons

Travel TidBits:  Reno Hot Air Balloon Festival

“For more than 29 years people from all over the world has chosen to spend a September weekend mornings at The Great Reno Balloon Race, taking in the spectacular sights and sounds of this unique event.  Balloonists come from all 50 United States, as well as internationally from Brazil, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Sweden, Finland, Italy, Greece, England and Israel, to name a few.  This event will be colorful, amazing and will stay I your memory for a long time.

The nation’s largest free hot-air balloon festival, The Great Reno Balloon Race, will paint the sky again September 2011 at Rancho San Rafael Regional Park. What began with just 20 balloons in 1982 has grown to showcase more than 100+ balloons and pilots from as far away as New Zealand and Switzerland. On average, 140,000 spectators from all over the world come to share in the wonder of this three-day event.

This is how the organizers describe this event and I can only agree that the Reno Hot Air Balloon Festival is a feast for the eyes and for the camera.  Rising at 4am, seeing the Glow Balloons and the Dawn Patrol as they gracefully sail into the morning sky was so memorable in the first year that I have returned again and again and captured many great images.  For more of my images please visit my web gallery on the Reno Hot Air Balloon Festival and see the images from the early morning and Glow Balloons!  

This year I am offering a Photography Workshop during this weekend in Reno which includes to only 2 mornings at the Balloon Festival, but also a visit to Sand Harbor on Lake Tahoe and the exciting visit to the Animal Ark to see the cheetahs run - a fantastic opportunity to see these magnificent animals in action outside Africa.

But back to the balloon festival:

Even with a festival that big, spectators can wonder through the fields and between the balloon as they are being set up and the hot air from the blowers slowly fill the balloon until they are ready to carry the basket.  Witnessing 150 balloons raising to the sky and gently floating against the morning sky is fabulous.  And then the games start where the balloonists are racing to catch the hare, a pink balloon with big bunny ears.

And of course as with all events, there are crafts people and lots of good food for sale so no one needs to go hungry or without coffee after getting out of bed at an ungodly hour!  

And as the morning progresses to 10am, the show is over for the day since the mountain winds start to blow making navigation of so many balloons unsafe, only to do it again the next morning!  
So this leaves the spectators with a whole other day to enjoy Reno and its surroundings. 

My favorite spot for the day is at the Tahoe shores at Sand Harbor, a beautiful beach on Lake Tahoe.  A picnic and rest on the beach is rewarding after such an early morning!

Another must for me is the Animal Ark, a sanctuary outside Reno for animals who need a home.  Nestled in the desert area, the tiny turtle, the Siberian tiger, a mountain lion and fabulous sleek cheetahs all found sanctuary for life.  But there are also 2 young bears that are trained to hopefully be able of being released to the wild once they can care for themselves.

If you are intrigued, 
please check out my next Photography Workshop 
(September 9-12, 2011) held during this event at Reno 
plus an extra attraction of 

Please contact me at  or call 650-326-4570

Up, Up and Away!