Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA
Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

46th Annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, Part 5 of 6 - Evening Glow, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA

For nine days in early October, the spectacular event known as the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta unfolds in the mile-high city of Albuquerque, New Mexico in the southwestern United States. As many as 500+ balloons may participate daily at the Fiesta. It is the largest balloon gathering in the world.

This image illustrates the evening glow event. On many nights of the nine-day Fiesta, the balloons remain on the ground and demonstrate coordinated illuminations wherein each pilot fires his/her burners simultaneously. It is quite a visual and auditory spectacle and very well attended!

This blog post is Part 5 of a multi-part series about my recent experience at the Fiesta and covers the first part of the evening glow event. Part 1 covered the pre-dawn activity. Part 2 covered the dawn activity. Part 3 covered the daytime morning activity. Part 4 covered some of the special shape balloons that participated in the event.

(Click on an image to view a higher resolution version if your device supports that action).

The crowd begins gathering in the late afternoon light at Fiesta Park. The 10,000 feet high Sandia mountains at right tower over the valley. (Panorama, click to view full width).

After the sun has set, the balloons are unfurled on the ground and the inflation process begins.

A quick blast of flame to check the burners are functioning properly.

The balloon and basket are lying on their sides and inflation is underway. A cooperative pilot poses for a budding young photographer.

A warming blast of flame heats the air inside the envelope and raises the balloon off the ground into a vertical position.

They are incredibly beautiful against the darkening sky with their colorful and ethereal glow.

Getting the timing right when multiple balloons were igniting without over-exposing the image was often elusive to me.

Imagine the sound that accompanies this blast of flaming fuel.

This is almost the same as the previous image except a different balloon is illuminating.

I count twenty simultaneous lightings including the small distant ones.

I can still imagine hearing the thunderous roar of the burners during the coordinated glow, all firing simultaneously.  It is a thrilling moment to be here for this show!

Only one more blog post about this event - stay tuned soon!


  1. A lot of walking and poking around capturing the best up close and personal. Can’t be too easy with all the people and the vastness of the acreage you have to cover, but you are managing all of it, beautifully. Simply amazing!