28 June 2010

"DUSK" is NOT a Time

I've been picking up my camera fairly regularly lately. It is still too much of a mystery of how to operate it and get the results I want. The only remedy is experimentation and lots of use. So the Tigard Balloon Festival seemed like a great opportunity to try some different environments. In the evenings they have "night glow" when the balloon owners turn the burners on just enough to inflate the envelope but not lift off. Sounds like a great photo op, doesn't it? The night glow was scheduled to start at "dusk." Dusk. What time is dusk?

I waited until the sun was just about down, 8:30 pm this time of year, and headed over to the park. I asked the first parking attendant - "Are they still doing the night glow?" "I am sure they are, they like to wait until it's good and dark." he answered. I asked the next parking attendant who took my money, "Is the night glow still going on?" "I don't know, probably." I was feeling much less confident but paid the fee anyhow. At the admission gate I asked once again, "Is the night glow still going on?" "If you hurry, you may see the last few. But the ticket is good for all weekend, you could come back tomorrow for the launch." Argh! After paying to park and the ticket I turned down the street to head to the park and was met with a wall of people - leaving! I raced down the hill and made it to the entrance just in time to see the last balloon go down. I was so mad. Dusk! Dusk is NOT a time!! I was there, may as well make the best of it and take some long exposure shots of the carnival rides.

Once home I was still grumbling that I had forked over the money for "nothing." I decided I'd show them; stick it to the man! If I had to pay for a weekend ticket, I was going to take advantage of it. Despite the fact I wasn't going to bed until a little after midnight, by gum, I was going to get up at 5 am and go to the balloon launch! That'll show 'em! How silly, like anyone would care; I was only depriving myself of sleep. The balloons would wake me up at 6:30 when they started floating over my house, might as well wake up early and join them.

I still had a bad attitude in the morning. I was determined not to pay anymore money for this weekend adventure so I parked on a side street and hoofed it to the park. It may have been my bad attitude that motivated me to skip sleep and go early to the balloon launch, but it ended up being great. The balloon launch was really fun and interesting. I spent a couple hours taking shots, some actually are good. Since I was up, might as well get my workout in. I was already dressed in my gym clothes so I headed straight to Tualatin H.S. to use the track. To my delight, some of the balloons were landing. I grabbed my camera and ran to the other side of the campus, following a balloon as it came in for a landing. After it came down in the parking lot, the crew tethered it to a trailer and truck and started giving rides! Without the crowds around I was able to get up close for some shots, talk with the crew and learn a lot about hot air ballooning. Best of all, I got a ride! We only went up maybe thirty feet, but it was fun. It ended up being a great morning. Now how often does a bad attitude lead to a great day?

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