Writes an irreverent Ken Spence, “Never neglect foreplay. Always bask in the afterglow. One doesn’t really work, two together is fine, but being with a group of three or more is just amazing.” All will become clear in this ‘kiss and tell’ exposé of Ken Spence’s long and passionate affair with the genre of hot air balloon photography.
Writes Ken, "It all started in 2011. I was driving through the Melbourne CBD early one Sunday morning when I saw a group of hot air balloons gracefully drifting overhead – not an uncommon sight. I had some spare time and decided I would try and trail them to take a few photos as they landed (yes, I always have a camera close at hand).
"Following them wasn’t as easy to do as I thought. I was restricted to the road network, but they weren’t. As one was landing in a football oval, I quickly parked the car, grabbed the camera and ran as close as I dared. That was pretty good, but I was soon to be invited into another world.
"When the balloon had landed and was lying on the ground, the pilot waved me over and asked whether I would like to step inside it. Wow! I didn’t know that I had an addictive personality disposition until that moment and I am just so glad that this particular addiction hasn’t been detrimental to my health or landed me in jail (at least not yet on both scores). I immediately became a balloon groupie, spending early weekend mornings out spotting balloons and then attempting to follow where the wind took them.
"After a while, I established a relationship with one of Melbourne’s major balloon companies, Picture This Ballooning, whereby I could arrange to fly with them pretty much whenever I wanted, in return for supplying them with my photos. At that stage, I was working full-time in a major city law firm, but that didn’t get in the way. With a dawn lift-off, followed by the traditional ballooning champagne breakfast, I could still be at my desk on the 44th floor well before most of my colleagues had arrived at the office. Yes, I did tend to wilt in the late afternoon.
"With all this practice I learnt some tricks about this unique genre of photography; particularly how to predict when an interesting shot was likely to come into view and how best to capture it."
So, how does Ken photograph balloons? Read all about it in the current issue of Better Photography (Issue 105). Click on the link below to subscribe - plus you get immediate access to 50 back issues full of informative material and inspirational ideas! Use coupon code BP40 to get 40% off - just $29.88 for an annual subscription.