Monday, 28 March 2011

Bristol - Balloon Fiesta (2) ... take off

.... After the first two balloons were filled (previous post), it seemed like carnage elsewhere in the field as the crowd wondered what the partially inflated balloons were going to look like.

(When I decided back in early January to publish my 2009 south west travels as I was a bit short on material and trying to sort out issues with the new camera at the time, I had always planned to show this post as a grand finale celebration of colour ... Hope you like it.
I have a couple of Christmas posts up my sleeve from this area for later in the year in case I get snowbound again!)

"Have you got a great view ?'    "Ohhh Yes"
This nearby fellow from a British insurance advert kept my attention during inflation for some time as he was only recognisable when the facial features filled out.

It is unfamiliar territory for me to capture a balloon festival and it turned out to be quite a challenge as any viewpoint for photography was difficult. My original location was several metres from the fence and it was difficult to move through crowds to vary the images.

There is a skill in the ground control of hot air balloons that needs to be learned !

can't keep hold of it any longer
An aeronautical engineer called Don Cameron who came to work in Bristol early in his career had social pursuits with a nearby gliding club. After reading an article in National Geographic about the invention of the modern hot air balloon, the team constructed and flew their own in July 1967 after many constructional and design problems.  Excited by the possibilities of this new hobby, Don Cameron decided to build a few more balloons and eventually gave up his job within 3 to 4 years to start Cameron Balloons Ltd. The first decade was all about adventure to unusual places such as the Alps and The Sahara desert with occasional talks to enthusiasts. On one of these occasions, a question was asked about a festival and in 1979, The Bristol Balloon Fiesta was born.
Cameron Balloons Ltd is now the world's largest balloon manufacturer and is based in an old factory with three floors in the Bristol suburb of Bedminster. The company produce 500 balloons each year with numerous special shaped balloons being produced for advertising purposes, many of which are seen here.

Full inflation
Churchill monitors the take off....
.... making sure that Health and Safety is being followed !
local balloonist with G - LENN
From the latest published data (December 2007), Cameron Balloons has had two thirds (1073) of all UK Hot air balloons registered with the Civil Aviation authority.

All this waiting around is making me rather hungry !

The skies are filled with colour and..... propane gas as they all head over Bristol City centre.

Static exhibits... you're not being let off the lead today
Whats this ... 1 ? Putting on (outsize) dancing shoes.

Whats this ... 2 ? ... I think you've guessed
"The Flying Scotsman"... or not as the case may be today

Like so many major events held beside small roads, traffic is always a problem. This route to the festival was normally free flowing when I was taken into Bristol on all of the fridays that I was there.  On this particular occasion, we were to be dropped off by car, but as the road was gridlocked, a 1 & 1/2 mile walk seemed ... and was the quicker option. The best days out are sometimes the most exhausting and First Bus let the customers down badly on the 359 bus route by not providing sufficient evening transport and forgetting about some of their .... last buses !!  A 3 mile walk is tough at the end of a long afternoon with no seats.

The overflow car park !
Lastly, it is time for me to take my own flight into the sunset and say goodbye to the South West and re - position myself into 2011.

Left-Right : North Wales, The River Dee, The Wirral Peninsula, The River Mersey and Liverpool


  1. What a great post with great imagery.

  2. Beautiful photos in this post. Hot air ballons always looks so gorgeous floating through the sky.

  3. This is a tremendous post. As near as one will get to capturing the chaos.They are wonderfully photogenic things. I really like them in low light when the burner illuminates them from inside. I don't think I could have handled the crowds so well done twice.

  4. They are superb these balloons, I haven't realized they are in so many different shapes:)
    Your last photo is breathtaking!

  5. Balloon festivals are always a wonderful feast of colour and action for the keen photographer....Fantastic post..!1


  6. Love the bright colors and your pictures.

  7. It is a wonderful show, J_on_tour, with all those colors! I like the last photo, with the sunset.

  8. This post is a charming tribute to balloons and colours! You've indeed succeeded with your plan "to show this post as a grand finale celebration of colour".
    And..I've learnt something about Cameroon Balloons Ltd. and its production of balloons. Thanks.

  9. As I told you before, in my first life I was a Princess, in my second I was a seagull living on ferryboat to Thassos... so I am fascinated bye the flight and also by this whole concept of flying! I wish that one day I will fly at least in a baloon , with a parachute or with my own wings!
    Anyway...I am glad you did it!
    Great, amazing images!
    My regards!

  10. What a spectacular event that must have been!! How fun it would be to attend! You got some great shots. I love the ones with many balloons in the picture. And the overflow car park, of course. :-) I think the ones with Churchill and all the cirrus clouds in that deep blue sky are my favorites. Great post! Thanks for taking us along.

  11. These pictures are phenominal!!! I LOVE the watchful eye of the pouch! It looks to me that your "vantage" points were perfect!
    Have a fabulous day!
    Debbie's Travels

  12. ooh !! your photos of the two last post are very beautiful and original !! Bravo dear J :))


  13. Awesome post! Well done, I am jealous!

  14. What's wrong with me? I can't stop myself saying WOW in every photo. Oh, we had that turtle hot air balloon too here last year. I have photos of that.

    The scotsman, the dog, the car, etc. - those are new to me. I have to hold my heart. It's beating fast looking at these photos. Can I join you next time, please please please?

    Thanks a lot for this post. :)

  15. An amazing event with gorgeous pictures on air!!

  16. What a phantastic colourfull post!!!! Hugs from Luzia.

  17. I makes me feel like playing dot to dot with the photos of them floating away. Love all the colours. I was going to say living in Cardiff I'm surprised we didn't see them over us, then thought they wouldn't want to cross the channel the RNLI wouldn't be to happy if they had to get one of them out the water!!
    Have a good weekend
    Jan and George xxx

  18. Thanks for the nice comments. LOVE all the balloon shots--the close up shots are great, but I really like the one that shows the sky filled with balloons too. I really am going to have to get to the Balloon Festival in New Mexico this year--it's too good to miss. Mickie :)

  19. It should be difficult to make those pictures with
    all the croud around..
    You could not fly with your own wings to come
    clother, ee??
    I am always wonder how people can take a picture
    sitting in an airplane :)

    Thank you for your encouraging comment on my last post!!


  20. love it...a veritable party in the sky! thanks for sharing!

  21. Beautiful! I love the bulldog!

  22. Picturit, Thanks, I was looking forward to doing this post for some time as I wound my way back to Bristol for my flight home !!

    Farmchick... Thanks, It was an amazing sight to see as they all took off.

    Adrian... Thanks, There was a night display but it was 5 hours on the feet was enough for one day and I didn't show the photo that I took of the temporary (festival) toilet queue !!

    Joo... Thanks, The variety of balloon shapes were unbelievable. I was dropped off the previous day to see the Banksy exhibition and saw the car in the sky for the first time... amazing sight.

    Trevor Woodford... Thanks, I am pleased you enjoyed it as much as I did.

    Midwest to Midlands... Thanks for your great comment.

    Traveling Hawk... Thanks, I had to wait several plane trips for that shot as it was either too much daylight, too dark or too cloudy.

    DUTA... Thanks, I'm pleased you liked my final celebration of South west colour.

    Wind... Thanks, I thought you might appreciate this one. Thankfully I avoided getting stuck on that bus & made my escape with EasyJet.

    Cranberry Morning... Thanks, It took a long time to work out what they were all going to be as they were inflating and the field just looked liked chaos.

    Debbie Smith... Thanks, I thought I could use the dog balloon for some humour and I was fortunate to have a good vantage point.

    Mahon... Thanks, I'm pleased that you enjoyed this one. This has to be one of my top 5 favourite posts to date.

    Blyde Nesser... Thanks, I am just pleased that I can share it with you. I think for a selection of various reasons, I don't think I'll have the chance to visit this festival again in a hurry.

    Rizalenio... Thanks, It's amazing how the same balloons can be seen on tour all over the world. The Scotsman was massive.

    Phivos Nicolaides... Thanks, your comments are always very welcome.

    Luzia... Thanks, I'm pleased that you enjoyed it.

    George the Lad... Thanks, They all seemed to float away in the direction of Bath on both days. I didn't think of that scenario before.

    Mickie... Thanks, You will not be disappointed, a trip of a lifetime.

    Monika... Thanks, As a explained earlier, it took me several plane trips to get this one photo.

    Dmarie... Thanks for your comment and visit.

    tossan... Thanks for taking the time out in your busy blog schedule to comment.

    Jill... Thanks for your comment and visit.


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