Taylor White & Iggy
My husband, Zach, and I have a map that we're trying to cover in photos of us for each state. We needed New Mexico and thought the perfect time to go would be during the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. We didn't have much planned other than riding in a hot air balloon one day and dinner reservations on the top of a mountain the next day. Since we had the time, I reached out to Taylor to set up a shoot with her with no real expectations; I just knew she had done some modeling in the past and thought it would be fun to set up a quick for-fun shoot to experiment with new poses, a new scenery, etc.
It wasn't until about a week or so before my trip that I realized we could try to shoot with the hot air balloons! It was then that my expectations went through the roof and I started thinking of how cool it would be to make this shoot happen. I searched the internet to see what the best viewing locations were for the balloons. Of course, Fiesta Park is the best spot to go but they don't even allow dogs so I don't think we'd get away with bringing a horse into the park. I found another park that was said to be a popular landing spot- so I checked it out and liked how there was plenty of parking, views of the mountains, and easily accessible for a horse- we chose that one.
Here are the things I learned from this experience:
1. no one (not even really the balloon pilot) can control what direction the balloons will go. It all depends on the winds for that day, and each day is different.
2. the balloons land FAST. They also take off FAST. We missed not one, not two, but three balloons up close because we weren't quick enough. The first one I'm still beating myself up about- they were setting up the balloon right in front of us but I had Taylor change into her second outfit... they were so fast to take off that we didn't even get one photo with that balloon and it would have been so perfect if I would have had her stay in the same outfit and just wait another 2 minutes.
3. if I were smarter, I would have chosen a better looking location (NOT a park with a ton of people, neon green grass, houses in the background, cars in the opposite background... the list goes on) and just hoped for the best. Because the chances of seeing a balloon up close would have been almost about the same.
4. last thing I learned which was one of the most valuable ones: most people don't care/wont get mad if there's a horse in a park like this (or downtown even... keep a lookout for my next blog post about my latest downtown shoot). I'm always so worried that we're going to get in trouble by bringing a horse into the a public location like this. Now, it's not outright illegal (I'm not into breaking laws), but it can be dangerous and there's always the chance of some Karen seeing a horse & immediately calling the cops to have us removed. *knock on wood* that hasn't happened yet. The key thing here is to use all the safety precautions: have a "safe" horse (they're unpredictable animals by nature but some are better fit for public outings than others), park in a safe area, and have a pitchfork/shovel and bucket for poop.
I'm very, very thankful for Taylor and Iggy being so willing to wake up bright and early to watch the balloon filled sunrise with me and experiment with this shoot. This is why I'll always set up at least one free, for-fun shoot in any state that I travel to, as long as I'm able to make the time. It's really important to be to be able to experiment like this because I'm able to learn so much in the process and also get to meet so many cool people and horses, while getting (normally) awesome photos at the same time! In this circumstance the photos didn't turn out how I envisioned but I'm still happy with them and happy with the learning process.