Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Prosser balloon rally, Prosser WA

Prosser balloon rally

Equipment: Canon 20D, Canon 100-400mm

Image details: 160mm, f/8.0, 1/100sec, ISO 200

The Prosser balloon rally is one of the best places to photograph hot air balloons in Washington state. The rally is held every year around the third week of September in in Prosser, Washington. Prosser is located in the high desert country of eastern Washington and offers some amazing backdrops for balloon photography. For more information refer to http://www.prosserballoonrally.org/.

The balloons launch at sunrise on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I would recommend that you try to shoot at least two of the three days to get good shots. The direction in which the balloons take off is highly dependent on the wind - so if you get strong winds on the one day you get there..you will be highly disappointed. The balloons launch from the airport grounds and there are usually 15-20 balloons. Most people start arriving at the grounds around 6.00 am. I would recommend that you come in a few minutes before 6.00 AM and find a parking spot. The next hour or so you can pull out your wide angle lens and walk around as people inflate their balloons - there are some very interesting people photography opportunities.

Once the balloons launch you should head over to the river so that you can photography the balloons over the river. The best place to do this is from the 6th Street bridge - its about a block from the balloon launch grounds. Weather permitting some balloon pilots will touch down and drift along the river - this is probably the best opportunity you will get to shoot the balloons. Try to use a faster shutter speed so that you can freeze the action. Depending on the wind direction the pilots might come down on either side of the bridge. The better opportunities are when the balloons land west of the bridge as the balloons will be front lit. Be prepared to hurry back and forth between the two sides of the bridge. This is not as easy as it sounds as there is a concrete barrier in the middle - so I stay at the end of the bridge where it is easy to cross over.

Apart from the balloon rally the Prosser area is very interesting for photography in general - its beautiful brown hills look absolutely gorgeous in golden light. Exit 88 (Gibbons road) on 82 E takes you  on some side roads with interesting views of the surrounding country. I would highly recommend to spend an evening shooting the general area. During the event it is very difficult to get a hotel room in the Prosser area, your best bet is to reserve something in the tri cities area which is around 30 mnts away.

Prosser hill country

Equipment: Canon 20D, Canon 24-70mm

Image details: TBD

Directions to Prosser Balloon rally

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very useful information! Thanks a lot!