Ditching all my plans for Thursday night, as I'd mentioned I might do, worked out fairly well. Instead I went to bed a few hours early (and isolated by earplugs, to boot) so I could get up Very Early Indeed yesterday.
I did indeed get up Very Early -- quarter to five, in fact. I was out of the door carrying camera gear and tripod by twenty past, and up at Ashton Court by 6am, in time to see most of the balloonists laying out their envelopes ready for launch.
I'm very glad I made it up there. It's definitely the best bit of the Balloon Fiesta for me (although the night glow comes a close second, in a totally different kind of "lovely"!) And yesterday it was perfect ballooning weather. A couple of artistic clouds in an otherwise blue sky, and a gentle breeze.
So, I generally watched, and took lots of photos. It's an odd thing to take photos of, a mass launch. It's very quiet and peaceful right up until the big BANG! that signals clearance, and then there's so much going on that it's impossible to get all the shots you want...
I also got to hang out with Mike (my erstwhile boss) and Jess, his wife. It was Jess's birthday yesterday, and they'd decided to start a day off work with the morning launch. I bumped into them by coincidence, which was cool. Mike's just starting out with his first SLR, so he got lots of practice snapping away :)
Then, unlike Mike and Jess, dammit, I went back home, had a shower and changed clothes, then headed into work. Had a day at work, punctuated by an Alexander Technique lesson at lunchtime. Then came home, picked up my camera, and headed out again to a work awards party at a wine bar.
I'd been roped in to do the photography. I think I got some decent shots, but there's nothing terribly special. It was a real bugger to shoot, as there was very limited angles available, and no light to speak of, so I had to use flash. This wasn't awful, but it's the first time I've used an external flash, and I don't often use flash at all, so there was a real steep learning curve that had to be hurdled in a hurry.
I was also worried about the flash unit not working -- so far it seems like if the camera battery charge drops below a certain level, then using the external flash I just bought locks up the camera. I'm going to try to test that theory the next time the battery gets low, but it held up all right yesterday, at least.
And it's all practice and the ironing-out of wrinkles for the bit of wedding photography I'm doing at the end of the month. I'm not doing the whole wedding, thank Jupiter, but only a small section, but I definitely want to get a bit more practice and familiarity with the equipment before I get to that, anyway!
Anyway, so, yeah, yesterday started at quarter to five, and I didn't get to bed until around midnight, and I walked for about ten miles -- four miles to Ashton Court and back, and three times two miles from work to home or back (I got the ferry for one of the trips!)
Add to that the fact I didn't sleep well last night, and you can probably guess how pale and wan I'm feeling today. So, all I've done so far is potter gently around the house, have a bath, and nip out to grab lunch and buy a couple of flash accessories (an off-camera flash lead and a small tripod.)
I doubt I'll get up to very much more today, either, although I should get out for my run. I'm going to have a nap in a couple of hours, and see if I feel energetic enough for a jog afterwards...