I'm not sure what it is about hot air balloons that seems to make people absolutely have to photograph them. Looking through family slides from the 1980s seems to demonstrate that this theme is not generation specific given the large numbers of shots devoted to balloons shaped like Busch beer cans or advertising Ronald McDonald and other healthy kid themes! The annual summer balloon race in Saint Louis's Forest Park definitely captured my family's attention that much is clear.
These shots come from a visit to Cappadocia, in central Turkey, a few years back when my Mother and I visited the famous "fairy chimneys", which are large cone shaped rock formations that dot the local landscape. Created by oddities of erosion, the hard rock caps remain while the rest of the formation wears away leaving these very distinctive towers and providing outstanding rock to build homes into, which inhabitants have being doing since before recorded history.
One can of course go visit fields of the chimneys and wander around a bit, however the perspective is such that it's difficult to take photos of them from ground level or even get a good feel for their scale. As such one of the most popular ways to see the area is to wake up at 5am and head out for a hot air balloon ride. Now this isn't just any balloon ride, this is basically a short daily balloon dash with 50 or more balloons launching in several waves floating through the morning skies amidst each other, hovering up and down through the rock formations as the sun peaks above the horizon.
Needless to say I quickly understood why this is the preferred method to tour the area! Having never been in a hot air balloon before I didn't know what exactly to expect, but the ride is truly fantastic. Unlike most other methods of flight the near silence of the balloon as it wafts along punctuated only by an occasional pull on the burner really contrasts with the way we typically take to the air. It's so different from "normal" airplane or helicopter flight and really very pleasant and relaxing. Following an hour or so in the crisp morning air my takeaway in the end was that some photography subjects have very much remained in the family....