I skipped the event last year. Having shot the 2010 and 2011 editions and noticed that there were only a few new hot air balloons, I decided to give it a year off and hopefully the next time I attend there will be a lot of new attractions. The hiatus served me well. I was glad to be back.
There were indeed a lot of new balloons, but also a lot of old ones, those who I now consider to be mainstays. This year's venue is also new - the Omni Aviation grounds - which I totally dislike. The parking is a loooooong walk (about 750 meters) from the balloon flight location, and the place is REALLY dusty. No exaggeration, but you should wear shoes and shades. Give your feet and eyes some mercy. If you're bringing kids with you, make sure they're amenable to the hassle. Now it's a whole new mess if it rains.
I also noticed how expensive the tickets have become.They now go for 250 pesos (I remember it was 150 last time) and to be honest, I don't think it was worth it. Not with that trek from the parking that they forced on the public. On the other hand, I love that they've added a new attraction : the Breitling Jet Team exhibition. For me, it was the best thing about the event. It could have been the centerpiece. Besides, there were a lot of hot air balloons that failed to take flight on the day I went there (the first day).
Without further ado, here are my photos from this year's Hot Air Balloon Fiesta in Clark, Angeles, Pampanga :
And now, the magnificent Breitling Jet Team exhibition :
I've already gotten a couple of questions about what gear I used for the jet photos. To answer, I used a Canon 60D and a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens. I didn't use a teleconverter (I don't have one).
And no, I didn't have a photographer's pass. I took these photos from the public viewing area. But I'd like to thank Tynn Daez for recognizing me in the dark (at 5AM) while I was looking for a spot, calling me, and sharing his shooting space. I got lucky. All those dust notwithstanding.
Thanks for viewing. I hope you liked it. =)