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A few weeks ago I blogged about watching the Perseid Meteor Shower and I mentioned that before heading out to the desert we had spent the evening at the Sandy City Balloon Glow which is part of the annual Balloon Festival.

Last year when we attended the balloon glow it was a last minute photowalk that was cut short due to some extreme winds. This year the weather was perfect and we had plenty of time to listen to the band and walk around all the balloons.

3 Shot HDR @ 2EV Handheld

But before I show any more balloon images I want to share images of the incredible band that played the festival this year. The Folka Dots have a fun upbeat back country sound that gets your toes tapping and for those less self conscious among us you’ll find yourself dancing. I was super excited to see them live as I had first heard them last year on my favorite radio program Radio West.

The Folka Dots  perform at the Sandy City Balloon Festival – August 11, 2012

I wanted the images to match the music, so I gave them a vintage feel.

Marie Bradshaw and Bronk Onion (I swear that’s his name, at least that’s the name I could find for him…)

Corinne Gentry and Kiki Sieger (L-R) and yes that’s a washboard! Of The Folka Dots

Marie Bradshaw and Brian Manecke of The Folka Dots

Corinne Gentry, Kiki Sieger, and Brian Manecke of The Folka Dots

I grabbed a peek at the sound board while they played as well

Marie Bradshaw of The Folks Dots

Corinne Gentry and Brian Manecke of The Folka Dots

After a few songs the balloons showed up and started to get ready to light up.

Testing the burners

3 shot HDR @ 2 EV handheld

What does it take to hold these things down?

You need 6’5″ and +300lbs! This guy was sweating buckets just a few minutes later.

As sunset deepens the glow really becomes visible. 3 shot HDR @ 2EV handheld

It’s fun to be able to get this close to the balloons.

I laid down next to the basket looking straight up to get this shot. I felt like my lens was going to melt.

As the ambient light fell the glows got even brighter.

A large basket balloon and a solo balloon light up together.

I love the distortion of the 10-20mm!


Looking past the first two Balloons you see the other field full of even more Balloons. Unfortunately they didn’t light up so well due to their darker material.

This is a solo Balloon, it’s just him, a tank, and a harness!

My favorite shot of the night! (I actually shot this on manual, not something I do very often, but totally necessary to catch this properly, especially handheld)


I had such a fun time at the Balloon glow, and the great evening I had there turned into a great night out in the West Desert watching the Perseids. I can’t wait for next year!

Thanks for taking time to look at my shots, I hope you enjoyed them. Please check out the links to The Folka Dots and Radio West (the host Doug Fabrizio is an amazing interviewer!) and I’ll see you soon with some more images.

Happy Shooting!