Happy 239th America


239th Birthday America by Chip Bunnell PhotographyThis year’s fireworks celebration took us to our local S FL beach. We navigated the crowd and staked out our beach front position, as close to the launch point as allowed, literally up against the waist high fence. The skies darkened and finally the 10-minute warning was given. I set up my tripod as my wife sat comfortably next to me in the sand. Over and over, simple streaks of rocket propelled light climbed high in the dark sky, paused for a weightless second and then exploded with a colorful brilliance. The crowd gasped and cheered as if on cue.  Looking up the beach, we could see  miniature versions of other displays that filled the frame.  Even though we could not hear them, I still felt a connection knowing we were all celebrating the birth of our great nation together!

The 4th of July is one of my favorite celebrations of the year and this year was no exception! It is the time when our entire nation puts aside their individual differences and commemorates how a handful of patriots courageously rallied a nation into freedom. For their vision, determination and sacrifice, we will be eternally grateful.

Through my travels I have seen first hand how America is a quite unique country. Our founding principles were first discussed and refined quietly in individual homes. As the ideas of our new nation gained traction, brave individuals met in larger groups and even stood on street corners proclaiming their vision. Despite resistance, they continued with their beliefs until there was an unstoppable thirst to be free that rippled across the land. Despite individual disagreements, it was a time when patriotism and national pride won out in the discussion. This freedom was neither easy nor cheap. Many lost their homes, their families, their lands and even their lives. With each loss, their determination to become a united, new nation grew stronger. The vision of a giant melting pot, open to all who wished more to be American and her future rather than the lands and ideas of their past, was born.

We just marked the 239th birthday of our great nation. As with all celebrations, we look back on the fun, family and friends. Memories of tasty burgers on the grill and the incredible fireworks high overhead are the talk around the office today. As those joyous memories pass, let us keep in our forefront the freedoms of this land and the sacrifices brave patriots made, not just for themselves, but for us, their future. Let us remember that we are far stronger united, than when we are divided. Let us remember how we are to be “one nation, under God.” Let us remember, appreciate and respect what it means to be American!

Photo Stuff: Single frame, processed in LR and Topaz Clarity

Chip Bunnell Photography
©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