Taking Pictures From Hot Air Balloon Rides

Hot air balloon photography can be rewarding, both spiritually and professionally. Aerial photography can produce terrific results, and ballooning has numerous advantages for the photographer, compared to more conventional methods of flight. There are no windows on a balloon, giving you the opportunity to take photographs in all 360 degrees.

Here are a few tips that will help you get the most out of your aerial photography experience.

Tip #1 - Bring Along Sufficient Storage Media

Your time in the air will be limited, so you'll want to take as many pictures as you can while you are up there, and review and delete pictures once you are back on land. Bring several gigabytes of memory. The more photos you take, the higher the chances of producing a breathtaking picture.

Tip #2 - Bring an Appropriate Zoom Lens

You will find yourself several thousand feet above the ground, so a lens of anywhere between 50 and 200 mm will be your friend. Bring your wide-angle lens also, so you can take more sweeping photos of your surroundings.

Tip #3 - Avoid Blur and Shake

There are perils of aerial photography: it is often very difficult to avoid unwanted blurring or vibration effects when taking pictures from the air.

One way to prevent blur in well-lit surroundings is to use a faster shutter speed. On a camera that supports manual shutter speed adjustment, set your shutter to 1/250th of a second or quicker.

Another way to prevent blur is to up your camera's ISO. This adjusts your camera's sensitivity to light, allowing you to use lower shutter speeds in less light. Set it to 400, 800, or 1600.

Most digital cameras have anti-shake features. Enable your camera's image stabilization. This setting is typically represented by an image of red hands on the viewer.

Tip #4 - Use Interesting Angles

Once all of your settings are lined up, you should try to produce a wide variety of pictures, including effects that cannot be replicated from the ground. If you are approaching buildings, bridges, or stands of trees, use unconventional angles. Take pictures from directly above the subject or from a slight angle, maybe 75 degrees. Viewing everyday objects and structures in new ways is a worthy objective.

Tip #5 - Try Panoramic Photography

A balloon is a great platform for panoramic photography. Balloons are slow-moving and accommodate unobstructed photography. With a wide-angle setup, take several shots to record a 360 degree perspective, and find a photo stitching program to combine your pictures into a panoramic image.

Tip # 6 - Don't Forget the Balloons

Hot air balloons themselves are majestic objects, and can make for dramatic pictures. If you are flying in formation, be sure to take photos of other balloons silhouetted against the sky or the landscape. The shadow of a balloon over terrain is an interesting subject for photographic experimentation. Even a single balloon is an imposing presence on film. See this thread on the Steve's Digicams Forums for an idea of this.

Tip # 7 - Have Fun

Enjoy yourself. Don't spend all your time meddling with your camera. Ballooning is a unique and serene experience, and you will be certain to remember your time ballooning for the rest of your life.

Popular P&S Cameras for High Quality Photos: