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I am not a morning person and I’m really struggling to get up and out in time for the Canberra balloon spectacular. I’ve been three times this week – and not once early enough. Actually, my earliest arrival coincided with a too-still morning that kept most balloons grounded.

But even a little too late, when the sun is up and the balloons are on their way, what a spectacle it is to watch Canberra come to life, the air cool with just a hint of Autumn, as bikers, rowers and strollers appear to witness dozens of coloured balloons dot the sky and drift across the lake. And (Sydney-siders take note) – no horrid crowds! One of the most glorious things about this place.



I’ve tried a number of spots now to test out various vantage points and light options. And taken many dozens of ordinary shots, and missed most of the action.



Tomorrow I promise I’ll make it there before the sun does.


Friday: I did it. Today I made it on time. I set the alarm, woke up several times during the night, pumped, thinking it was early morning and time to go (apparently not: 1.19am, 3.15, 4.50am). Got up in the dark, confused the dogs, and arrived before 6am, proud as punch of my fine efforts, only to discover it was too windy and balloons weren’t going up, not even tethered. Not one. Ugh! All that wasted sleep.

Not to be deterred, I opted to stay with camera in hand to witness and capture Canberra waking up and the pink glow of a sunrise-lit lake. Alas, not even that was to be – those clouds kept any hint of sunrise colour at bay.

This photographing balloons in the morning is proving to be way more difficult that I thought. I now have much greater respect for those fabulous postcard shots of balloon-filled skies, sweeping views, the Carillion or other landmarks beautifully lit, rowers in synch in the foreground, birds’ wings in full span – perfect placements and perfect timing.

And trying to get the early morning lights of Old Parliament House without a tripod – not happening.

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No balloons, no pink sunrise

Two more days left of this Balloon Spectacular…  and my photography tips to follow.