Jim Salge Photography Blog

Images of New England captured in dramatic light and atmosphere

Pittsfield Balloons (take 1)

It’s around this time every year that you begin to notice the transition from summer to autumn. More and more of the mornings have a nice crisp feeling…and in the cool mornings, mist rises in dancing streamers over lakes and ponds. Sunrise begins to occur later and later, and the landscape regains some color lost in the summer, as the swamp maples begin to turn, and the goldenrod, joe pye weed and loosestrife fill the open lands.

It is lucky if one of those misty mornings coincide with the Pittsfield Balloon Festival…where the balloons launch over a ponding of the Suncook River. This weekend, the forecast looked great for two such mornings, and I got up early to shoot the sunrise launch.

There were two separate shows this morning…the sunrise, and the launch. The sunrise lit up an encroaching bank of clouds with spectacular pink and muted blue hues. This would have been a scene that I would want maximum flexibility on to work the composition…but with literally hundreds of photographers lining the pond, I didn’t want to give up my prime balloon watching spot.

Crowd at Pittsfield Balloon Festival

Crowd at Pittsfield Balloon Festival

Fortunately, the color moved all the way from east to the western horizon, and color filled the scene in front of me!

Suncook Sunrise

Suncook Sunrise

When the natural color died out, the balloons took up the slack. Unfortunately the winds pushed the balloons the wrong direction initially, and the light was choked out by the same clouds that provided the brilliant sunrise…and shots weren’t ideal. Which was fine…as hot air balloons are mesmerizing…especially for a physics, thermodynamics and weather nerd like myself.

Eventually, the balloons made their way back over the pond, and a few nice scenes were composed. I am hoping for better light tomorrow…so a small teaser for today…

Balloon Festival

Balloon Festival

One Response to “Pittsfield Balloons (take 1)”

  1. Karl Searl says:


    The color of the sunrise over the pond is amazing!


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