Air Vehicle, Crowd, Entertainment Event, Exhibition, Hot Air Balloon
Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA - October 13, 2006: Hundreds of hot air balloons take off en masse at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta - the largest such festival in the world. It started in 1972 and takes place in early October, lasting 9 days. Starting with just 21 balloons, the number rose to 1019 in 2000 and eventually had to be limited first to 750, then to 600. Over 100 pilots are from foreign countries. Numerous mini-events are held during the 9 days, including races, night burns, accuracy competitions - but a couple of the more popular ones are the special shapes events and this one: a mass ascent of all the participants. The air is a sea of balloons and one's senses are overwhelmed with the color and the sounds of hundreds of burners firing up. This image was shot from the air while rising in another balloon.