Sequential pictures from our sunrise hot air balloon adventure below.  Part of the adventure was in seeing (and helping) with the set up and break down of these colossal balloons, so some of the pictures show Steve getting the balloon ready (his wife was too busy taking pictures).

It is really impossible to imagine the sheer size of these giants – the balloon stretched over 30m in length!  Notwithstanding the size, the giants were as gentle as could be.  As I photographed the other balloons taking flight, I didn’t even noticed we’d lifted off the ground!

(ready for the adventure!)

(getting ready; industrial sized fan)

(Steve provides critical support for the inflation)

(and, whoosh, fire!)

(up, up and up…)

(and away…. that’s Melbourne in the distance)

Unfortunately, once we were sky borne two elements compromised the quality of the photos: the haze and the heat.  The heat from the burners played with my autofocus (and scorched our shoulders a bit!)

(the view up.  Yep, that’s right, we were positioned directly under the blaze)

(Steve hiding from the flames)

(approaching the CBD)

(urban sprawl as far as the eye can see)

(yarra river bend)

(the beginnings of a sunrise)

(view from the east)

(the 147th golf course)

(light creeps across the sky)

(port phillip bay)

(landing spot: Morrabin airport)

Although the landing was also quite gentle, it was clear that there was not a lot of maneuvering the pilots were able to do.  The balloons pretty much went where the wind took them.  And one got into a spot of trouble landing…

(rough landing)

(help is on the way)

(taking it down)