Sunrise Flame


Sunrise Flame by Chip Bunnell Photography

Warmth on a cold day. Light to show us the way. The transformation of raw ingredients into a life giving meal.  Our ancestors, several millennium ago, discovered how a simple fire had almost magical properties.

Fast forwarding to modern days, do we not have a special feeling as we gather around a campfire on a chilly night? Do we not feel security in a well lit path through dark woods? Do we not love the taste of a warm meal after a long day? Even with our modern understanding, fire still has these same magical properties in our lives.

Several hundred years ago, people far smart that most discovered yet another use for fire. By heating air within a lightweight container, it became lighter than the surrounding air. Through the properties of physics, that container of hot air would rise into the sky. Not only did fire help save our human ancestors on the ground, but it also allowed yet others to take flight!

Today, many of our friends and neighbors still use this very same principle, with a few more modern twists, to fill a balloon full of hot air and rise into the sky for a nearly silent flight. Carried only by the wind and powered by heat, entire festivals across our nations celebrate what simple humans discovered more than a few years ago.

This image is a single moment in time showing the flight-giving fire preparing to launch this simple, silent aircraft into the heavens.

Photo Stuff: Single frame, Processed in LR, Topaz Clarity and Topaz Adjust 5
©2015 All Rights Reserved

Sunrise Balloon Glow


Sunrise Balloon Glow by Chip Bunnell Photography

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Pre-dawn darkness fills the landscape as far as the eye can see. After a few minutes, we begin to faintly recognize human shadows scurrying about. They work efficiently in virtual silence, each with their own unique role to play in the greater mission.

Their first task is to run out long ropes from a central point, strategically placing them in a yet unknown pattern. At once, the team regroups quickly unfolds a massive flat shape, seeming to measure a 100′ or more in length.  After a brief pause, the silence of the morning is broken by a loud, simple motor, similar in sound to a lawnmower. As we approach the distant noise, we see it is powering a large fan. Two of the team members hold a giant opening in the massive flat shadow, allowing the fan to forcably pack air inside. During the roughly 10 minute run, the now trapped air pushes against the internal walls of the massive, growing shape.

Eventually, all hands give a sign of agreement and a faint smell of propane fils the immediate area. In an instant, a powerful flame shoots inside the opening of the growing giant. The heat is enormous and only adds to the humid Florida morning. Within a couple of minutes the giant object has taken shape. In one quick motion it is effortlessly tipped upright.  Our excitement is great as we just witnessed the birth of a mountainous hot air balloon!

One by one, more of these towering giants stand at attention, gently flowing side to side with the soft morning breeze. Some are in a traditional balloon shape while others form uniquely creative characters. As dawn approaches, the glow from the burners fills the enormous structures. Rich blues, yellows and oranges of the impending sunrise add an incredible backdrop to the scene building right before our eyes. Memories of the 330A wakeup alarm were now long gone and replaced with the wonderment of a truly perfect morning.

This event is named Balloons over Paradise; a truly fitting name indeed!  We will definitely plan to attend again in 2016!

Photo Stuff: Single frame, Processed in LR, Topaz Clarity and Topaz Adjust
©2015 All Rights Reserved