Balloons over Cappadocia

Balloons over Cappadocia with the rising sun

Every day, when the weather allows it (which is more than 250 days a year), more than 150 balloons rise to the sky before daybreak and glide slowly with the wind over the spectacular landscape that is Cappadocia. It is an important part of most tourists bucket list when visiting Cappadocia. Each balloon can take between 16-24 persons, which means that probably nearly 3,000 people travel by balloon each day.

Jennifer and I started our visit to this fascinating landscape by a balloon tour to see it from above. However, we choose a “premium ballon” and we are only four of us in the basket, Jennifer and I and another couple. That gave us enough room to play around with our camera gear. We then spent another morning photographing the balloons from the ground. With the help of Nuri, our guide, we were able to find the positions where we could catch the balloons as they flew past us and also landed.

We had excellent weather for our day of shooting on the ground, but unfortunately it was mostly cloudy during our own flight. However, we got a break in the clouds just as the sun rose above the horizon and you have a few very nice images as that happened.

A balloon is about to take off. The flame thrower in the balloon is heating up the air until the warm and therefore lighter air expands and fill the balloon and it is ready to take off. You can see the last passengers climbing on board their basket. To the right another balloon is heated up but hasn’t yet fully risen to its upright position
And here a number of balloons are ready for take off. Those using the flame thrower at the moment are lit up very beautifully and the others are dark. These photos are all pre sunrise and it is actually very dark. For the photographers: I was using an ISO of 12,800 and this photo is captured at 1/15 second.
Taking off
The first balloons are lifting
The sun is looking up behind the distant mountains. This photo and the following three are captured from our balloon
Shot from the balloon
…and from the ground
Balloons over Love Valley
Balloons over Love Valley. This and the previous four images were captured from the ground
In sunshine from the ground
And in cloudy conditions from the balloon
Here you can clearly see the number of balloons that take to the sky in early morning
The original layers of soft volcanic material (tuff) with a few valleys cut into the tuff
In the background, rising above the layer of mist, we could see Mount Erciyes rising 3,916 metres up and dominating the sky. Then the clouds swept in and covered it once more. We had experienced the same phenomena the evening before standing at the Castle of Uçhisar (see earlier post), while a storm swept through

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