So I’m a little excited about embarking on Monday on my first trip into Canada. I’ve been to the other side of Niagara Falls when I was a small child, but never further then that. Our trip includes exploring St. Paul Street, going to the Notre Dame Basilica, exploring Old Montreal, and St. Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal, exploring Quebec, Chateau Frontenac, Montmorency Falls, The Sanctuary of Saint Anne De Beaupre, and ends with a visit to the Montreal Casino. This is a bus trip through Flo’s Tours and White Star Tours, but still looking forward to sharing my pictures from the trip! I hope to get some black and white film shots of the historical parts and the natural parts of the trip, along with digital color shots of the places we go.
Living near Baltimore there are many places I try to visit at least every couple of years. As I have friends and family come visit who don’t live in the area, I make it to some of these sites more often then when they aren’t here visiting. It is very easy to take for granted the sites in DC, Baltimore, and Annapolis, let alone all the other areas near by. My last visit to the Baltimore Aquarium was this past April, and it made me want to make it there to visit more often.
When I went there was still an official Dolphin show taking place several times a day, and I hear now that is not the case, but visitors can still go watch the trainers interact with the dolphins and can pay extra to spend a day assisting the trainers/or become trainers for the day.
There are many fish and exhibits to be seen that can teach young and old alike about our oceans and water ways. There are even special exhibits that occur sometimes. When I went there was a special Jelly Fish Exhibit to capture the visitors imaginations. The fish are beautiful and there is lots to learn along the way. The aquarium has activities for children and lots of information that is fun for the adult visitors, too. I’d recommend a trip to the National Aquarium in Baltimore to anyone who is contemplating it!
All I can say about Albuquerque is if you ever get the chance to go there and experience the Balloon Fiesta, GO! It is an experience that you will never forget and you will not regret it! In 2011 I witnessed a world record being broken as they launched more balloons in an hour then had ever been launched before the first weekend we were there. It was beautiful to behold and the sky was just filled with balloons! There are many different events to behold, some very early, and some late. The day starts with the Dawn Patrol. And it is just what it sounds, balloons taking off in the pre-dawn light and it’s a site to behold as you can see the balloons gradually inflate and glow as their fires are lit and fill them with hot air…and then they sail up into the dark sky just before dawn, then as the sunrises, they can be seen floating around as the rest of the balloons fill and take off. One of the great parts of the Fiesta is that you can walk around the field as the balloons are laid out for their flights, and then watch as they are filled and then take off. Their are officials who monitor the take offs called zebras and I have to say that the zebras keep everything orderly and clear the area as the balloons take off.
There is little going on during the day after the morning balloons take off, so the park clears around 10-11, as the food and gift vendors close until the evening when the Evening Glow takes place. In the evening no one takes off, but the balloons are laid out and inflated as everyone walks around and beholds all the unique balloons. There is everything from standard balloons to special shapes that come in all shapes and sizes!
I’ve been to the Balloon Fiesta twice now and this past year I even got to go up in a balloon. I was honored to represent the media at the event and will never forget my first balloon ride. I hope to be able to up again in the future, too. My flight almost didn’t happen because it was a windy day, and the pilot almost chose not to go, but the winds improved and we went. It was not as long as many other people got to have, but it was long enough to make me want to have the experience again. I’ve been in a chase crew twice now and that is almost more fun then going up…but as I said, ALMOST! Sailing up and away from the field and then floating in the air with a balloon keeping you up is not something everyone would want to do, but most the pilots are very experienced and they know what they are doing.
don’t know for sure when I’ll make it back to another Balloon Fiesta. I wish I could go every year, but that just isn’t in the cards. But I know I’ll go back almost every chance I’m given!
So I’m going to really try to be better at this blog thing…and post at least once, if not twice a week. I’m going to share my adventures (including such events as going to Myrtle Beach, trips to Ocean City, and white water rafting the New River in West Virginia) and my Interests (NASA, Airshows, Hapkido, and photography including black and white film and even exploring wet plate (ambrotypes) and Cyanotypes). Come along with me and maybe we’ll all learn something together!
The last few weeks I find myself getting more and more excited about the beginning of October fast approaching. The reason I’m excited is because on September 29 I leave for about a week and a half in New Mexico and Arizona. John and I will be attending the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, their 40th year actually. We are even going to be doing a photo walk while out there, John is leading it.
We are dividing the trip up just a little, leaving New Mexico and heading towards Arizona Sunday night to go to Page and see Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon, The Upper and Lower rim of the Grand Canyon, and coming back to Albuquerque via the Petrified Forest. The sites will be amazing and I hope to get a lot of fantastic photos!
I also can’t wait to compare with my photos from 2-3 years ago when I went to Antelope, right after getting my first Canon 40D camera…and a few months later when I first went to the Balloon Fiesta. We’ll see what comes from this adventure. 🙂