I have had a long fascination with fire, not in a "Set random things on fire!" kind of way, but in a "What an amazing tool and force, that scares me and draws me in close when it is harnessed." kind of way. It is also the stuff of my nightmares. If there is any choice in the matter I would choose to NOT die in a fire, or even live after a serious burn. It just messes with my head.
Maybe that is why I am drawn to hot air balloons. It is all about the fire, contained, forceful and making something beautiful. I just can't get enough of them. Love seeing them in the sky, watching them inflate (I have been reliably informed by a certified "Ballunatic" that it is inflating not "Blowing them up." I guess I can see the reason for that.) watching them gracefully maneuver on the wind. Actually hoping to ride in one over Canyonlands NP for a birthday sometime soon.
I love the photos I make with them too. I will go a long way off my path to look at one. This slideshow is from a local festival that is a regular on our calendar. I have shot it several times, but never got to go to the glow in at night, where they inflate the balloons, and occasionally run the burner to illuminate them. It was a really REALLY cool experience.
My favorite photo is this one: 20s exposure at f14 @ 10mm, most of that time waiting for him to make the burn. I love the movement in the balloon envelope and the fire shooting out the back toward his hand as well as out the front. Just cool!
Anyway, if you ever get to go to a balloon festival, especially if they have a glow-in, definitely go! For the glow-in take a tripod and cable release and a sense of adventure!