aka christopher, aka zane
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Location:Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States
Sunday, October 3
  AIBF, day 3, first event

first, i have to start with bad news...

note to self: today is the THIRD day, not the SECOND day!!!
additional note to self: get an ftp client that warns you when it is about to OVERWRITE a file!!!!

in other words, i named today's files "2a", rather than "3a", uploaded them, the client said nothing and proceeded to overwrite yesterday's files that were unlucky enough to have the same filename... namely "2a-massascensionX.jpg", where "X" is the number in the series...
not only does that mean the pics are lost, but, it screws up links in yesterday's post...
i keep cutting sleep short and i think it is getting to me... fortunately, i wrote today's post before i realized this, so, i don't have to pretend to be in a good mood...

while i am here, i might as well once again remind anyone reading that the vids are only temporary, they will almost certainly be deleted within 12 to 24 hours of this post...
though, these might stay longer because the next two days seem to have little that i think i will be watching...
we'll see...
also, the warning that the vids are being uploaded as i write this and it takes a while on dial-up, so, vid links in the post might not work yet... if you want to see it, try again later...

anyway, on with the post...

the most amazing day yet...

the winds were different today, so much so that the dawn patrol was cancelled... however, the mass ascension show went on and those winds blew them our direction...

we were surrounded by them...
they were landing all around us...
we could hear the people in the gondolas talking and see their faces...

also, it was cloudy and misty, which caused some gorgeous light effects, as well as the added bonus of seeing balloons traverse in and out of the clouds...

this is simply the best set of pics/vids yet...
we took something like 700 pictures and videos and i chose 15 of the pics and 6 of the vids...
there were some very very hard choices this time... we had tons of great shots of balloons close up, landing, great shots of some of the special shapes balloons, just gold and more gold... but, there are nine days of this, only so much webspace, etc., etc., so, some editorial decisions had to be made...

so, i went with plenty of great stuff showing the sheer size and beauty of the event and the number of balloons, and the only time i uploaded anything of a single balloon was when it related to two certain memorable events that took place...

firstly, there was the very close fly over of the maroon balloon...
miss mary got up this morning to sleepily watch the mass ascension (and jake even joined us!) and, after we stood downstairs for a while (where i have been watching/photographing from), we decided to change our position, so, we hopped in her convertible and drove across the street to the other side of the mall...
now we were even more surrounded than before... and this one ballon was headed straight toward us and flew right over our heads, REALLY low... i was thinking that if i picked up a rock, i could hit someone in the gondola easily... don't know how close you have ever been to a hot-air balloon, but, it is massive... like a house hanging over you in the air... out of a couple dozen pics and three vids, i have uploaded one vid and one pic... the vid is pretty cool because you can see the flame inside and everything...

then, there was the REALLY dramatic one...

miss mary had already gone back to bed (she first went to bed about 4a, got up around 6a for this stuff, and has to get up again around 2p, poor thing) and most of the balloons had landed... the couple dozen or so that were left were all VERY close... i saw a couple land behind our apartments, so, i figured i had enough pics from here, i would stroll over where those had landed and i could see more were headed to... i get about half way, when i look over at where i was... and there is a balloon, maybe 30, 40 feet off the ground, passing right over where i was standing before i decided to move...
it looked to me like he was going right past our bedroom window... like if i was on our balcony, i could have tossed the pilot a bottle o' guinness... but, there was no way i was getting to my balcony or even in front of our apt fast enough, so, i started hurrying the other way around the buildings, hoping to cut him off... and, it worked... i was at the end of our block of buildings and, there he was, right over the building across from ours...
so, i started shooting... i was a bit out of breath after my jog, but, i got a great pic and vid of him coming over said building, then a vid of him vanishing over the building i was standing in front of...
now i wanted to follow him, since it seemed we were headed the same place, so, i started jogging again... then, it was clear jogging would not do it, so, i started running (they move much faster than one might imagine!)... needless to say, stuff i shot during those moments is not upload-worthy... i did finally catch up in time to get a vid of him deflating (and a pic)... i am not the steadiest hand in the world, but, this one is particularly shaky because i am flat out of breath...

standing there, i took a few more and filled my (128MB) card, so, not much more to do but walk back home, sort, upload, and make this post...

and now, here in a couple of hours, is the first night show... glowing balloons, really looking forward to that... HOPEFULLY i will get some decent stuff from it, but, i have vowed to not post anymore pics/vids of specks unless i have a REALLY good reason...

so, anyway, this morning's batch is pretty fantastic, if i do say so myself, and again there are a few more that i did not mention in this post, so, go have a look... and remember, all of today's pics/vids start with "3a-"... [now, if only I had remembered that!]


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