On Saturday, OC&NE correspondent Diana Duran got to fly in a balloon. Who is Diana? Diana is an intern architect, and architecture student working on her masters degree in architecture. Diana works for Cherry/See/Reames Architects (CSR), the architecture firm that shares space with ARC. Earlier in the year, Diana and Francelia, another intern architect at CSR, worked with me on a large security project for Albuquerque Public Schools. Diana mentioned that one of her dreams was to fly in a hot air balloon, so when I applied for media credentials for the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta this year, I added her as a photographer with OC&NE. I supplied her with a camera and lens, and she did a fantastic job doing photos the various times she was at the balloon park during the fiesta. On Saturday she flew with Jeff Haliczer in his balloon named Synchronicity. Jeff also has a special shape balloon of Humpty Dumpty upside down named "Off The Wall". You can read Jeff's bio at: http://offthewallballoon.com/Jeffs%20Bio.html. Rob Kaplan was another media correspondent who flew with Diana on Saturday morning. Rob is a Video Editor at NBC Universal, and his work can be seen regularly on NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt. The first 15 photos in this post are by me of Jeff and his crew setting up Synchronicity, and of Diana ready to fly and taking off. Diana added a few words about her dream, followed by 46 of Diana's photos taken on the ground and in the air.
Diana in front of the flames.
Jeff and his co-pilot Bandit. Jeff says "Dog is my co-pilot"
Taxying into position for takeoff.
Holding the basket while revving the burners.
Living a Dream
by Diana Duran
This weekend one of my dreams came true. It started around six years ago watching the news at my house in Colombia. I told everyone in the room that one day I was going to be there. Dad told me: Keep that dream with you in your heart, time and life will make it happen. Little did I know that I was going to be living in Albuquerque where precisely this event takes place. To me the most magical event I have seen in the world. The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is a work of art, engineering, and passion.
This year, thanks to amazing people, I had the opportunity to enjoy a balloon ride. After many days trying to sort between weather, luck, and life between school and work, everything finally lined up on Saturday for me to have a beautiful experience. Jeff Haliczer is the skilled pilot of his balloon named ”Synchronicity". The take-off was peaceful, and once in the air, he pointed out a couple of rules to follow inside the balloon. He proceeded to move towards the river where we did the famous "Splash-and-Dash" in the Rio Grande, and then followed the air currents for an hour and a half. The views were surreal, however, the sky was covered in dense clouds that prevented the sun from doing its magic in the valley, but that gave us a fantastic view of the Sandias and all the other surrounding balloons.
I doubt there is a comparable feeling to flying in a balloon. I will do it again and again. I will never forget this experience.
Bandit supervising the set up
Jeff and Bandit
Jeff holding the flap open for me to stick my head in and do an interior shot of the balloon. Rob Kaplan is waiting his turn.
Diana's view from the inside of Synchronicity.
Final pre-flight preparation and consultation with Bandit and ground crew member.
Over the bosque on the east side of the Rio Grande.
Fourth Street and the railroad tracks.
Sandia Lakes Recreation Area on the Sandia Pueblo. The lakes are directly across from our property on the east side of the Rio Grande.
Splash and Dash in the Rio Grande.
This is a great aerial view of what we call "Beaver Point". Most of the photos I do of beaver in the Rio Grande are taken from this point. Most of the photos of the Sandias that I have posted over the years are taken from this point. The the photo of the super blood moon rising I did in 2015 was taken from this point. The Corrales Fire Department recently installed a 195.5 mile marker at Beaver Point. You can see it on the edge of the at the end of the trail.
A great view of the Sandias.
Balloons starting to land in fields in Corrales.
Landing at the north end of Corrales.
Holding the balloon in place while it deflates.
Preparing the balloon to be put in its storage basket.