Despite having been born and raised in Albuquerque, I never seem to tire of the annual Balloon Fiesta. In the four years I spent away in Los Angeles for school, it was something I always missed. The Fiesta is my own personal marker for the start of fall. The colors start to change, the days get shorter, the air crisper. And no matter how many times I see it, I can't help but turn my eyes skyward when there are balloons in the air.
Under pretty much any circumstance, I am not a morning person. But when the Balloon Fiesta is going on, I can barely fall asleep at night in excitement for the next morning, and then happily get up at 4:30 so I can hit the field before sunrise.
For two years running now, I've biked to the field and taken my camera along for the ride. Last year, I found myself wishing I knew how to modify settings so I could make sure I could get a proper exposure. This year, the technicalities were much less an issue and I was able to really focus on capturing the moments.
I'm not generally in the habit of naming my photos, but this one spoke to me. I watched its steady journey from inflation to takeoff. I always find that hot air balloons seem to have a life all their own. They eagerly look to the skies and wait for the launch directors (who are affectionately referred to as Zebras) to set them free.