ALBUQUERQUE PHOTOGRAPHER AARON BLANC figures he wasn’t even a year old when he attended his first Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. He’s been a “balloonatic” ever since. Even while living away from the Duke City, he returned for the October event. Today, his two-year-old daughter goes with him. Blanc started taking pictures at Balloon Fiesta with his Canon 6D camera in 2018, and the experience altered his outlook on the world’s most photographed event. “Taking pictures just changes your perspective on everything, from watching other people’s expressions and emotions when they see a balloon launch to going to different places in the balloon park,” he says. But his favorite view is watching the entire sky fill with color. “I guess it’s just the kid in me,” he says. Blanc, who took first place in the Nightscapes category of our 21st annual Photography Contest, shares a few tips for taking captivating photos.
➤ Focus on the action. “I’ve been part of a balloon-chase crew for a while now. Getting into the action is a great way to see and learn about the balloons and photographs,” he says. “Talk to the chase crew and see where you can get into a unique position while the balloon’s inflating.”
➤ Don’t crop the crowd. “It’s really hard at Balloon Fiesta to get a picture of a balloon on the ground with no people in it,” he says. “Embrace the people and the community at Balloon Fiesta.”
➤ Find new angles. “Balloon Fiesta offers the opportunity to be more abstract and to be creative with your images,” he says. “You don’t have to capture the entire balloon, just part of it. Being at the bottom of the balloon is a cool way to take a picture.”