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Desert Balloon | by Panorama Paul
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Desert Balloon

Another highlight of my recent holiday in Namibia, was a sunrise hot-air balloon flight over the Namib-Naukluft Park.


These flights only operate in the early morning and offer an excellent way to view and photograph the beauty of the landscape... silently and unobtrusively. The only interruption is the sound of the flaming gas in occasional bursts as the balloon is kept in the air. Although the direction of flight is determined entirely by the light breeze at different altitudes, I was amazed to see how much control the pilot had... from hovering mere meters above the endless sand dunes... to landing the balloon's basket perfectly on top of a trailer which was hitched to a strategically-parked support vehicle!


After the flawless landing, we all got out of our baskets and sat down at a table for a huge champagne breakfast in the middle of nowhere... also provided by the support team. What an experience... I will never forget that!!


This six portrait-image panorama of the second balloon rising below ours, was shot handheld and stitched with Photoshop CS3.


In the foreground you can see the dry river-bed of the Tsauchab River... leading off towards Sossusvlei and the red dunes of the Namib desert.


Nikon D300, Sigma 18-200mm at 36mm, aperture of f8, with a 1/640th second exposure.


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Taken on September 21, 2009