It had never entered my mind, so to speak, to sail in a balloon, but with luck, we had won a ticket for such an experience. To prepare myself, I had leafed through Yann Arthus-Bertrand's book 'La terre vue du ciel' again. I noticed that many of his pictures had dramatic lighting: the sun low in the sky made for long shadows and warm colours. Can't be too difficult, once you're in a balloon, I thought. How wrong I was! Not a single picture good enough to be compared with his! Not that the weather was not good enough. Beautiful setting sun, spring giving trees the freshest colours of green imaginable and blossom as well, nothing was lacking. But there simply was not enough light to take pictures at a low ISO-setting (to avoid noise), with a decent aperture to have enough depth of field ( around f/5.6 or f/8) and a shutter speed fast enough to avoid blurring. Yet I have a camera with built-in stabilizer (must make all those Nikon and Canon owners jealous ;-) ), which should add a few light values (EV) to what you can shoot without a tripod, still it did not work well enough! The two pictures that came closest to what I had expeced to make, you can see below. Some of the others are on display at my Picasa site. If you don't know how perfect they should have been (in my mind), perhaps they're not too bad... Of course, in the Picasa set there are also a number that were made for the others that shared the balloon flight rather than 'serious' pictures for the discerning few that read this blog.

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