Kodak Moments in the Valley

Going high to get some direction

Going high to get some direction

Once again crewing balloons in the Yarra Valley produced some amazing “Kodak Moments” today. Given the weather this morning, I was pretty sure we wouldn’t get to fly.

On my way out to the shed at o-dark-hundred I was driving through patches of thick fog around Lilydale airport. At the shed near Balgownie Estate, the winds were blowing around me as I waited for Davin to arrive so we could start preparing the balloon & vehicles for the day. After meeting the passengers, we tried a few different launch sites but all were too high winds to stand a balloon up.

At 7:30am we were on a field that’s usually sheltered from northerlies as one of QANTAS’ A380s did its usual morning arrival into Melbourne Airport (YMMB). We were about to cancel the flight when the winds dropped and we realised there was a chance to go. We quickly set up, inflated and got the flight underway. While the passengers enjoyed a near perfect day for a flight, Davin & I played chase on the ground, trying to get ahead and be ready to help out when they landed.

Another beautiful flight in the Valley

Another beautiful flight in the Valley

While chasing balloons as ground crew, occasionally you get the chance to grab a great photo (like the one here). Usually, you see what could be a great photo but are too busy clearing the launch field or giving chase (or there’s no where to pull over and stop).

Today was one of those days where it sometimes just all comes together and you get a chance to take a good photo. Gotta love it.

Each day I crew in the Valley or in the city, I try to get a few good photos if time & effort permit. Today’s photos were few but, generally, good. Any good photos I manage to take while crewing wind up in my Best Of collection.

After crewing I dropped by Lilydale Airport to see if Dominique was flying at SkyDive Melbourne but not today. I then went over to the aeroclub to see if someone knew the pilot of “Grumpy” (a beautiful old Stinson L5B). Sure enough, they did – in fact, I got to meet Jeremy who was probably flying when I was out there the other day and got a great photo of “Grumpy” on short final.

Another great day in the valley. Blue skies, warm sun and lots of aviation related activities. Not bad for winter, eh? :)

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2 Responses to Kodak Moments in the Valley

  1. Steven Pam says:

    Nice shots and all. I’m spewin’ that the reflection of the balloon is missing from the second one! But I know what kind of rush you’re in when you’re doing this, so I guess you’re forgiven :-)

  2. Falcon124 says:

    Yeah – I skidded the vehicle to a stop on a small track we were following, leapt out, grabbed a couple of shots, jumped back in and was gone. Given the water was in the foreground and the balloon a very long way away, a reflection would have taken a bit of photoshop effort to make it happen :) :)

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