Atlanta Photographer Sails Away into the Night...Almost

The Atlanta Balloon Glow 2019 - beautiful hot-air balloons glowing in the night

The balloons at night

Dreaming of Hot-Air Balloons

Those who know me know how much I love hot-air balloons. I started working on the chase crew at A Beautiful Morning Hot-Air Ballooning Company in San Diego many years ago - ya - I'm not sayin' how many! I was also a part-time receptionist in the office.

More on that next week. 

But this week, it's all about hot-air balloons in Piedmont Park in Atlanta!

I love being an Atlanta photographer because other photographers here enjoy getting together and going out to shoot. There's a lot of camaraderie among us. 

My friend, Lauren, has a meetup group (Atlanta Urban Photo Walkers) that has over 4,000 photographers!

AUPW was meeting on Thursday evening to shoot the balloon glow. There were about 14 balloons ready to tether in the park. 

Unfortunately, when Lauren, Nancie, and I got to the park, it was pouring rain, thunder, lightning, the whole shebang. 

You can't put a balloon up in that!

I saw some people in a van that looked like they were pilots. I walked over, under my umbrella, and tapped on the window. The woman sitting there rolled down her window.

I introduced myself. Her name was Vicki. 

I asked her if there was any chance of her inflating her balloon later. 

She laughed. 

"The only people up tonight if the weather clears will be the ones who need to dry out their balloons. Some of the pilots laid their balloons out before the weather hit."


I told her I used to work for a balloon company in San Diego many years ago and that I had my private pilot's license, though I hadn't flown in years.

We got talking, and it turned out she knows the people I used to fly with, including the pilots, Doug and Jay, who taught me to fly.

I haven't seen any of them in years. 

It's funny, though, how you can live in this huge country, but depending on what you do, it's a small community. So, now I'm searching them all up on Facebook and sending friend requests!

I love it when that happens.

It was still pouring, so we left the park. So, of course, an hour later the rain stopped and the sun came out. We rushed back to the park.

There were only four balloons up but it was fun to see them, hear the familiar sound of the burner, and feel the heat of the flames...and get a few photos. 

A hot-air balloon at Piedmont Park with a reflection in a puddle

Reflection of the balloon in the puddle


Lauren, Nancie, and I headed back to Piedmont Park on Friday afternoon for a more spectacular view. There were about 12 or so balloons up.

We had a beer at Park Tavern while waiting for the sunset. Now that's my kind of waiting!

Afterward, I found Vicki and her balloon. The pilot, Jeff, took us up for a tethered ride.

Being in a balloon took me back - the sound, the smell, the feel of slowly rising... 

I didn't make it back to the park on Saturday.

But, while I was taking this walk down memory lane with ballooning, I saw on Facebook that a high school friend I hadn't seen in years was wandering around the Old Fourth Ward the day before!


I left a message on her FB. She's a film editor and she's here in Atlanta for a month working on a project.

I met up with her (Jill) on Sunday. We walked about 10 miles all around the city and stopped and had lunch on the Beltline. We had a great time. 

I went home in the afternoon and rested for a little while. Then I walked the two miles back to Piedmont Park for the last night of the balloon glow.

A bevy of hot-air balloons in Piedmont Park

More puddle reflections

I saw Vicki again and got to go up in the balloon a couple more times. Thanks, Vicki and Jeff! Despite the constant threat of bad weather, it was a fun four days. 

I hope you had an awesome weekend too! And see you between the raindrops!


Love hot-air balloons? Find a couple of photos from this blog post here. I'll be adding more this week!