Tuesday, March 22, 2011

3rd Putrajaya International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta 2011

Putrajaya Hot Air Balloon Fiesta 2011

A few hours before I left Japan for Kuala Lumpur, I came across a friend's posting on Facebook about the Hot Air Balloon Fiesta in Putrajaya, Malaysia which were held from the day I returned home on 17 March 2011 to the weekend. The timing was just right for me and since I have always wanted to photograph such a beautiful event, I had decided to stay back in Kuala Lumpur area for the weekend.

It was a Saturday morning, that I woke up as early as 6am to get ready for the event, which started with Hot Air Balloon Flight from 7am to 9am.

Hot air balloons getting ready to take off at sunrise

Just as I reached the venue at around 7.15am, the participants were setting up their balloons, which started with blowing ambient air into the balloons and as they got into shape, the burners were ignited to heat up the air. As the air temperature inside the balloon increases, they become lighter than the ambient air outside of the balloon and thus, creates a lifting force upwards. The amount of lift provided by the hot air balloon depends mainly on the difference in air temperature inside and outside of the balloon.

Burners that were used to increase the air temperature in a hot air balloon
Burners in action on a hot air balloon
Setting up the hot air balloons and getting ready to take off

Hot air balloon is a registered aircraft navigated by licensed pilot. It is made of Ripstop Nylon and normally flies at an  altitude of 10,000ft above sea level.

The Woodrow C. Greenleaf Hot Air Balloon
The Cathay Pacific and Star Hot Air Balloons
The Country EURE Hot Air Balloon
The big Micheline Bibendum Balloon from Belgium
The popular Doraemon Balloon
First batch of Hot Air Balloons took off
The Micheline Bibendum Balloon
First batch of Hot Air Balloons took off

As the balloons took off, I followed them on foot, photographing them with the beautiful buildings and landscapes of Putrajaya. I believe many went to Seri Wawasan bridge to photograph the take off of these balloons as I walked towards the Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin Mosque instead. To my surprise, I was alone there and here are the pictures I got - Hot Air Balloons with the Monorail Suspension Bridge and beautiful reflection on the lake.

Hot Air Balloons with Putrajaya Monorail Suspension Bridge
Hot Air Balloons with Putrajaya Monorail Suspension Bridge

The weather turned cloudy after the first take off. I was lucky enough to photograph a few balloons with clear blue sky early in the morning. Later, I returned to the fiesta ground and  found an interesting subject to photograph - small balloons for sale!!

Small balloons for sale

Another interesting scenery I got that day was this picture, which somehow showed that the Clown balloon dislike Doraemon showing his backside to him.

The clown balloon was in bad mood

Soon after that, I walked towards the Seri Wawasan bridge, hoping to get some good photographs of the entire hot balloon fiesta arena but the outcomes were not satisfactory, mainly due to the disturbed lake water and the cloudy weather.

Putrajaya Hot Air Balloon Fiesta 2011 from Seri Wawasan Bridge
Zoom in of the Hot Air Balloon Event Ground

Later that night, I was there again in Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin Mosque to photograph the rather short and disappointing Fireworks Display. Maybe my expectation was too high as few of the last fireworks display event that I attended were in Japan, which lasted for at least half an hour.

Putrajaya night scenery while waiting for the fireworks to fire
One of the few presentable photograph of the fireworks display that night

One lesson learned from this fireworks display photography session, is to survey the wind direction prior to the launch of the fireworks. One should stand in the direction where wind blows from your back so that the camera comes first, then fireworks and lastly the smoke. I was careless that night to forget about this, and ended up photographing more smoke than fireworks. To read more of my fireworks photography tips, click here.

Note: 18 of the 21 pictures in this article are HDR pictures. The non-HDR pictures are "The big Micheline Bibendum Balloon from Belgium" and the last two night scenery pictures.

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