There was a lot to see at the recent balloon festival in Queensbury, NY. Thousands of people criss-crossed the airfield while large speakers blared an eclectic mix of music from popular songs to movie soundtracks. Meanwhile dozens of lighter-than-air behemoths with fire in their bellies struggled to rise from their grassy beds.
Each balloon’s crew carefully kept both their machine and onlookers safe as photographers like me struggled for a spot to get a good shot in wherever we could. Added to everything was the challenging light: the sun struggled to shine through overcast skies and made each press of the shutter button an exercise in artistic risk because of the inevitable sensor noise.
Fortunately modern DSLRs tend to take great shots even at extreme ISOs. A denoise filter, in this case Topaz’ De-Noise, helped to eliminate most of the grain.
In an environment where conditions constantly change, such as weddings or busy events, having a zoom lens with a wide range of focal lengths helps to eliminate potential fumbling with many different lenses and subsequent loss of the moment. At this festival I used an 18-270 mm zoom, my “swiss army knife” of choice.
Exposure Data: ISO 6400, f/4.5, 1/60