These might just be the proudest photos I have ever taken – “but why, Caroline?  They don’t look so different from your usual stuff.”  Well, read on!

I was asked to do a love shoot in a hot air balloon.  Sounds fantastic, right?  I guess that depends on how you define fantastic.  Days before the shoot, I was told that I would only have 5-15 minutes to shoot on the ground once the balloon is inflated, depending on the winds.  I was freaking out a bit because there’s a huge difference between 5 minutes to shoot vs. 15 minutes to shoot, but either way, a really short time.  They couldn’t even tell us where we would be taking off from because it all depends on the wind conditions.  I was also told that it would be really tight inside the basket.

This was going to be a mystery shoot.  We show up, they shuttle us to a spot that they determine at that moment, then we have 5-15 minutes before we take off.  Ok, fun!  So on the way to the hot air balloon, I realized that I forgot my external light meter.  No biggie, I can use the meter in my Contax.  I’m used to it and do it all the time, so I’m good.  We get there and now starts the 5 min shoot we have.  We quickly start shooting when I realize that the meter in my camera is broken!  I stayed calm on the outside, but so freaking out inside.  I figure it would be best to pack light given how fast I will need to move, plus the tight space in the basket, so I didn’t bring a back up camera as I usually do.

At this point, I just had to “guess” on all of my exposure.  I’m used to shooting closer to sunset, so it’s brighter than I usually shoot too, but at this point, all I can hope for is that I have enough experience to pull from when determining my exposure.  It was like a pop quiz!

So we quickly shoot, jump in the balloon, and enjoyed one of the most amazing rides of my life.  The daaaays of waiting for my film scans to come back felt like an eternity, but when I finally saw them, I was blown away.  I am so proud of myself!  Just look at how pretty the colors are!

I’m so thankful that this could-be disaster story had a happy ending.  This was the biggest freak out I have had.  What’s yours?  I’d love to hear your stories!

P.S.  This was just a teaser from our shoot.  It’s getting published, so stay tuned for the rest!

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  1. Gorgeous shots!!! And congratulations for staying calm and creating some beautiful (and successful) images with a broken light meter. Now I’m even more impressed with you than I was before! As for my biggest freak outs… once I was doing a whole day of mini sessions and forgot my back-up camera. No big deal except in the middle of the third (of six) sessions, my shutter completely froze open for no apparent reason and then would NOT unstick even after I turned the camera off and did a million other things to resolve the problem. I was panicking inside, but I just calmly walked away from the shoot for a minute and took a few deep breaths. Finally, I thought to press the shutter again – just in case it would make a difference – and luckily it fixed the problem! Phew… I would have had to cancel all of my other shoots or run home for another camera. Near disaster averted! Oh… and one other time I forgot to charge my back-up camera battery, so when my first battery died, I stuck my back-up battery in and realized it was almost dead too. I shot the whole session without checking a single shot on my LCD screen in order to save battery life. Luckily I made it through the session and thankfully my exposures were good too. Phew. Thanks for sharing your story Caroline. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who has hiccups once in a while.

  2. WOW! So you shoot film? I am so impressed! Do you do digital too, or just film? This is completely perfect! Can’t wait to see the rest. I miss my film days, you have inspired me to bust out my old SLR film camera. =D


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