A Post By: Kav Dadfar
After a recent assignment to Central Turkey I uploaded some images to my website and Facebook page. Since then I have had several people asking me how I managed to capture some of my shots. This particular photo of the inside of a hot air balloon had the most questions.
Sometimes opportunities for great shots easily present themselves but most photographers will tell you that hard work, preparation and research help you to get the image you envision. This was no exception.
Research the area ahead of time
As soon as I had details of the assignment I began to research the area. It was obvious that this part of the world was famous for its spectacular landscape, and balloon rides, so I knew that photos of balloons were an absolute must on my shot list. But looking at various image libraries revealed that there is no shortage of these types of shots from Turkey.
As always, I began to write down potential ideas of shots that I would like to get which would be different to what already exists. It didn’t take long for me to notice that there weren’t many photos of inside a hot air balloon and none that I could find with the burners on. At this point I didn’t know if a shot like this was even possible but I knew if I was able to get one it would be unique.
I always try to give myself an extra day at a destination so that I can scout locations, speak to local companies, hotels and restaurants for advice on how to achieve this sort of shot.
Once I arrived I went to see the balloon companies on my list and it was evident that there was one with the highest reputation and an English pilot! I couldn’t believe my luck and the next day I went back to speak to the pilot about the shot. It turned out that is was possible to get a shot of inside the balloon with its burner on.
So the next morning I headed out with the crew at 2 a.m. to get there before all of the other customers arrived.
I knew I was only going to get one chance at this and would only have a few minutes to take my shots, so I had to have all the settings on my camera already set.
To be on the safe side I set my ISO at 1250 which I anticipated would give me a fast enough shutter speed in the low light condition. But, I also knew that once the burners were on I would have more light inside so I didn’t need the ISO to be too high. I decided that I would rather have the extra noise in the photo rather than risk the sharpness. I thought about my composition and if I should go for portrait or landscape format so I was ready to just press the button as soon as I got in there.
Once it was time to enter the balloon the pilot gave me my cue and I walked inside. I then composed the shot and began to shoot having already set the camera to continuous shooting mode before I walked in.
From taking the first picture to the last picture was less than 1 min. The one that is above was the last shot taken and the one that my image library (4Corners Images) chose.
Some of the shots taken before I managed to catch the burners the way I wanted.
All of my research and hard-work of trying to set up this shot was worth it as I managed to capture the shot that I wanted.
What have you had to go through to get the shot you wanted? Have you ever gone the extra mile, done the hard work and had it pay off for you with a once in a lifetime shot? Share your stories with us below.