The Michigan Challenge Balloonfest is one of my favorite summer festivals! It is definitely my favorite to photograph. So many festivals are just an excuse to sell stuff and host a carnival. Balloonfest is a three day long Hot Air Balloon competition in which balloon pilots fly to or from a specific destination and toss beanbags at targets to score points. It is fun to watch the teams unpack their balloons, see them inflate, and fly to their destinations. It seems like Hot Air Balloon Festivals are popping up all around, but the Howell one was the first in the area. That being said, if there is a hot air balloon festival in your area, I highly recommend checking it out!
The Balloon Glow (top) is one of my favorite parts of Balloonfest and it is when the balloons tie down and light up after dark. As you can see from the picture, this is definitely a popular event, with chairs lined up all the way around the main stage area. Balloonfest is very weather sensitive event. The FAA and the local airport is consulted on whether or not it is safe for the balloons to fly. I was excited to see the glowing skydivers as well, but unfortunately, that was cancelled due to high winds.
This year, a balloon accident at the festival made the news. Luckily no one was injured, but the video (above) is terrifying!
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Its that time of the year where school is out and vacation planning and weekend getaways are in full swing. This summer, we are planning a road trip out to Acadia National Park in Maine. I was super excited to see that my library (pictured above – See how I made that photo fit this post? Clever, right?) has several tour books for Acadia so I didn’t have to shell out the money for them right now. I have seen some gorgeous photos from Acadia so I am super excited to be able to capture some of the iconic views myself!
Since this is a road trip, we are also stopping in Boston and Watkins Glen, New York. Chris wants to make a stop in Salem as well. I am looking forward to getting immersed in some early American history like on last year’s vacation. What’s in Watkin’s Glen? A beautiful state park I have seen many pictures of and I have wanted to visit for years. Its a park that is full of picturesque waterfalls and stunning gorges! I hope that it lives up to my expectations. I’m also hoping to be able to stop at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art which has been on my list since I first heard about it.
As always, when planning road trips, I love Furkot. It helps me space out my stops and makes it so I am not too ambitious with my daily mileage (which happened on our first road trip). Be sure to stay tuned to the blog for recaps of the trip when I return!
Thanks for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com and sign up for our newsletter!
During the Howell Melonfest, the Pere Marquetee 1225, the train The Polar Express was based on, was giving rides through the scenic Livingston County countryside. Chris is excited to experience any kind of transportation, so we got our tickets. The train is operated by the Steam Railroading Institute and the operate train rides around the state. I am thinking about borrowing some kids to take with me on the “North Pole Express” which recreates the experience from The Polar Express. My only question is whether Tom Hanks will sing to me about Hot Chocolate…
The inside of the train isn’t that photogenic so the next day we made a point to be what the volunteers who work on the train call “foamers” (people who get so excited to see the train that they begin to foam at the mouth) and try to get some shots of the historic engine in action.
About this Photo:
Photographing a train requires a fast shutter speed and a small aperture to maintain sharpness. I don’t know that ever really appreciated how fast a train goes until this. I only got 3 or 4 shots before I was photographing the cars. After the train passed us at the first crossing we went to another railroad crossing and waited for it to come back to the depot. This gave me a chance to improve the shots I got the first time around.
Nikon D3100 with 55-200 kit lens, handheld
August 21, 2016
Thanks for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. To learn more about the Steam Railroading Institute and get your tickets for the North Pole Express visit MichiganSteamTrain.com.
Someone on Facebook had recently posted some awesome photos of the birds at the Howell Nature Center and I had been dying to get over there and try to get some pics myself! Well, last weekend, the weather was finally nice enough to go outside without completely bundling up, so I dusted off my camera gear and made the trip to the Howell Nature Center.
All of the animals in Howell Nature Center’s Wildlife Park are animals that could not be rehabilitated and released back into the wild. Besides Keelee, this beautiful Bald Eagle, the Wildlife Park is home to bobcats, porcupines, and Livingston County’s Groundhog – Woody the Woodchuck. While the Nature Center is fabulous for photographers, kids love it too because of the beautiful, interactive nature playground!
About this Photo:
Since Keelee was behind bars, this was shot with a longer focal length to blur out the cage (this was trickier when the animals were sitting close to the bars). This photo was definitely not a one and done, I stayed and watched him for a while, and luckily someone he knew walked by and he started to talk! This was a single RAW exposure with basic edits done in Lightroom. Those basic edits didn’t remove or lessen the bar lines that were in the dead space (this is what’s tricky about shooting through a cage) so I pulled it into Photoshop and removed the background. Voila!
Nikon D3100 with 55-200mm f/4-5.6 lens.
Thanks for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Flickr! This month I am taking part of an Instagram Travel Challenge, posting a travel photo a day on Instagram and I’d love for you to follow along! For more information about the Howell Nature Center, visit HowellNatureCenter.org.
This past weekend was the big parade weekend around the country. I braved the cold and drizzling rain to check out Howell’s Fantasy of Lights parade. This is a nighttime parade and all the floats are aglow with lights! Even the marching bands deck themselves out with lights. Of course, Santa comes to town at the end of the parade, ringing in the Christmas season! I love how the lights on the firetruck combined with all the strands of lights decorating it make this photo so red! I have to agree that this truck really embodies the Spirit of Christmas!
Shooting this parade was really a learning experience for me. I brought my 50mm f/1.8 because its the fastest lens I have, but for a lot of the images, I wasn’t able to freeze the motion like I wanted. I kept my ISO at 1600 so I could’ve upped that to 3200 but I was worried about the noise. I think next time, I might bring a monpod and see if that helps.