Going up in a balloon in a couple of weeks
I was told a few days ago that I will be getting to go up in a hot air balloon for an hour. I will be over lake powell and pictures will be a must. Anyone do this or some other type of high altitude photography? Lens choice and film choice? I will want color since I will be shooting early morning over the lake and I do not have a darkroom so MF BW is out.
I have at my disposal
1-Hartblei Master 88 with two backs.
I will take any advice
Technological society has succeeded in multiplying the opportunities for pleasure, but it has great difficulty in generating joy. Pope Paul VI
So, I think the "greats" were true to their visions, once their visions no longer sucked. Ralph Barker 12/2004
I've flown in a balloon and it is a rush. It typically is not a high altitude flight. Close to the ground is better. Quarters within the basket are close and the balloon is huge. I used a 43mm lens on 6x6, but I didn't have the selection you do. I wouldn't think the long lenses that usable. Beware, the landings can be sudden and bumpy if there is any breeze.
Several years ago I had the pleasure of a hot air balloon ride... it is a rush. I had two 35mm cameras, one with an 80 - 210 and one with a 50mm. Both cameras were loaded with color print film, danged if I could remember what film it was.
Mark, you're gonna thoroughly enjoy this experience. It will take a week to get the smile off your face!
And Loose Gravel is right, those landings can be bumpy!!
Haze is always an issue, even if not terribly noticable to the naked eye. You want to use higher contrast, more saturated film if shooting color.
If shooting early morning, you'll want to be shooting at least somewhat westerly - unless you feel flare is creative. Not sure how much of a choice you will have in a balloon.
Enjoy the experience.
I think the shots taken at or below 1000 feet are the best, as they tend to show the larger foreground objects best and give a nice perspective of the distance. I’d use the two widest lenses, both for the perspective and the fact that longer lenses tend to show motion blur more.
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If shooting B&W, remember the haze that is ever present over Powell and the rez now a days. You might want a haze filter or even something like an orange or red filter to get rid of it. What size filters would you need? I have 58mm and 67mm in all colors.
Problem with the red filter is it will wash out the rocks and make the sky and water almost black. Depends on the look you want.
I've never been in a balloon, but I do a lot of archaeological air photography in light aircraft, usually between 1,500 and 2,000 feet. I find a standard, or very slightly wide angle lens to be the most useful. I fly with three cameras: 2, 35mm SLRs, one with a 50mm lens and one with a 70-200mm zoom, of which I use the first far more. I also take a Pentax 67II, with a 90mm lens. In aircraft the vibration levels are very high, so you need very fast shutter speeds and so fastish film. The balloon won't have the same trouble, but they do swing and rotate and can still be moving quite fast over the ground. I use 400 speed film, colour in the 35mm cameras, usually Kodak Pro Elite colour 400 (I think it is called 400UC in the US) and B&W (Tri-X) in the Pentax. You will probably get away with 200 speed film, but I would still try to keep the shutter at around a 500th. As others have said, you need to use filters. Even if there is no visible haze there will still be a lot of UV between you and the ground, so a UV filter, or better a skylight 1B is vital on the colour. For B&W (and you can get MF B&W processed by others) a yellow filter is best. Orange and red soak up too much light and can make the ground look weird. Lens hoods are vital to avoid flare. Focus is easy, as everything is at infinity and, just for once, auto exposure tends to work well as you don't usually have much sky in shot.
A few tips. Take far more film than you think you'll need, you'll probably still run out (I average over 140 shots per hour airborne). Also make sure you have everything firmly strapped to you. You really don't want cameras, lenses etc falling out and killing those below. I never do change lens in the plane. I just take a camera for each that I need. Take care taking films out of the camera too: if you drop them you won't be able to pick them up again :-)