Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Both Feet Planted Firmly on the Ground

Fork Union, Va, 2011

Mrs. B. and I were in Charlottesville, Virginia, this past weekend to take a ride in a hot air balloon. (You dont do hot air balloon rides near the coast where we live lest an unexpected change of winds send you careening across the Atlantic Ocean to North Africa.) The balloon trip was originally scheduled for several days earlier, but that flight was cancelled because of rain.
The hot air balloon trip was a birthday present to my wife. Its something shes always wanted to do. I, on the other hand, dont do heights well. But Id been convinced that this wouldnt compromise my aerial anxieties and signed on for the ride.
In preparation for the flight I packed two cameras and lenses I thought would be useful from the vantage point of a couple thousand feet above the ground. (One fisheye lens for wide close ups and a zoom for everything else.) I'd also booked a hotel on the edge of town so that wed not have to drive far for the 7:00 a.m. scheduled take-off. This put us some distance from the University of Virginia campus, where I'd have normally wanted to walk in the morning.  The  lawn, the original Thomas Jefferson-designed campus, is one of my favorite places in the built up world. Under normal circumstances Id have spent some time trying to get a new and different photograph of Jeffersons grand Rotunda building at the top of the lawn.
But for this trip thered be no time for a sunrise walk. Besides, there was a U. Va. football game taking place on Saturday afternoon and we wanted to be well away the campus by the time traffic started getting crazy.
The flaw in this carefully planned trip was that our flight was cancelled yet again, this time due to high winds.  So on the one hand we were able to sleep in. But on the other, I was unprepared and too far away from campus to get down there, find a parking spot and get to the Rotunda before the best sunrise light was gone.
Instead of fretting about it, I turned over and went back to sleep.
The day wasn't without some fun, though. My wife and I decided to stay off the Interstate highway and instead took what we refer to as the "scenic" ride home along the country roads that hug the northern bank of the James River. That's how we happened to come across this quiet scene, above, in the little village of Fort Union, Village, proving once again that when it comes to photography, you sometimes have to take what you can get when what you wanted isnt available.
 No Flying Today, 2011


  1. Last time I was at UVA the capitols on the rotunda columns were shrouded in black. I believe repairs were underway. Rte 6 is my preferred way to travel between the mountains and Richmond. We try to go tubing each summer outside of Scottsville, and I also like seeing the sad little town of Columbia.

  2. That's such a pretty area. I recruited a guy for a job once, and he operated hot air balloons as a side business. He was always telling me I needed to go up sometime, but for this fear of heights gal, I knew that wasn't likely to be. You're brave to consider it.

  3. I've always wanted to take a hot air balloon flight and now that I'm in the grasp of shutter bug madness the urge is even stronger. Maybe next year at the start of the local Chautauqua Festival.....

    We avoid the Interstates whenever possible, usually taking 460 between here and VB but we used 58 to get back home this time and will be using it from now on. The trip went smoothly, less traffic (especially big rigs) and the scenery was superb!

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