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Best Of 2009

(January 1st - December 30th, 2009)

Rolf Ris


John Riley

Attack of the Mutant Alien Balloons!

Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA

October 9, 2009, 11:0:40 - 11:05:45 pm MDT local time (UTC - 6 hours)

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© 2010 John Riley, All Rights Reserved.

This panorama was shot at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. The IVRPA and IAPP held a joint meeting in Albuquerque during the same time frame, giving attendees a great opportunity for some interesting panos.

I shot this pano on the evening of the Special Shape "Glowdeo". The announcer would count down from 10 and, when he hit zero, all of the balloons would fire their burners at the same time for several seconds. The resulting glow was spectacular to behold. It was impossible to catch all of the balloons glowing simultaneously, so I had to shoot multiple times to try to get as many illuminated as possible in the final panorama.

I accidentally transformed the image into black and white while I was post-processing. This serendipitous act inspired me to do something a little different with my entry. The balloons had taken on an ominous character, leading to a swift train of thought: huge menacing balloons - the enormous roar of the propane burners - not terribly far from Trinity Site, where the first nuclear weapon was tested - and remember what radiation did to Godzilla! With my knowledge of nuclear physics, the answer is obvious: This must be the Attack of the Mutant Alien Balloons!

I went back to the original image and massaged it heavily in LightZone, using LightZone's excellent Black/White conversion filters, over-sharpening the image a bit, and finally applying a palladium-gold-tone treatment to give it the semi-authentic feel of a low-budget, trashy science-fiction movie from the 1950s.

USA-Canada / USA-New Mexico

Lat: 35° 11' 48.69" N
Long: 107° 36' 49.16" W

Elevation: 1212m

→ maps.google.com [EXT]

Precision is: High. Pinpoints the exact spot.

Fujifilm S2 Pro

360Precision Absolute panohead

Feisol carbon fiber tripod

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