Hot Air Balloons February 2, 2019

February 02, 2019  •  Leave a Comment

I thought about the photo I wanted to shoot of hot air balloons before I went to the Hudson, WI balloon fest on February 2, 2019.

I had a plan: I would arrive early, stand on the bluff overlooking the river and bridge, and wait for the balloons to enter the scene.

I was there before the sun came up. The sky was hazy and had soft pink and blue tones. I took photos and waited and waited. No balloons. Someone told me that the balloons launched and were heading in the opposite direction from where I was.

I drove around and saw many balloons. By now the sun was up and the sky had lost the soft, pink tones. I took photos of individual balloons against a plain blue-gray sky. I knew these photos by themselves wouldn't be impressive. Maybe I could use them in a composite. 

I was driving home and an idea occurred to me to use one of the photos I took in the early morning as a background for the individual balloons. I knew it would be hard to make them blend into the sky.

I opened the background photo in photoshop and make adjustments until I was happy. I then took each individual balloon photo and composited them on the background photo. I used photoshop's blend-if function to do this. I adjusted the color, brightness and clarity of the balloons. Each balloon was resized and positioned where I wanted it in the background.

Lastly, I adjusted the contrast of the overall image. It worked! I created the photo I dreamed about.


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