Ray A. Valdez takes us on a tour of the Albuquerque International Balloon Festival! *Are Hot Air Balloons Art? Watch and let us know!
Ray A. Valdez was born and raised in Santa Fe, NM, and has attended the Albuquerque International Balloon Festival almost 100 times over the last 25 years. Ray is an artist/photographer, builder, designer, history buff, snowboarder, and more! @ray_a_valdez
Anne Kelly (00:18):
This is art in the raw in the a while it’s 5:10 AM. And I’m here with Ray Valez at the Albuquerque international balloon Fiesta,
Ray A. Valdez(00:31):
And now it is 5:41 AM. And we are the tram way park. There’s another one of these it’s east Santa Fe that they’ve converted into a bar, but this one lives here, onward.
Speaker 3 (00:49):
This is the state fair aspect of bloom Fiesta.
Speaker 3 (00:58):
Here we are at Don patrol, right on time down patrol is the way the pilots on the field get to see what the conditions are. Aloft we’re flying in the dark. So aviation beakers will be dropped from the bottoms of the gondolas as they rise into the morning air into the dark. It’s a unique feature that was developed specifically for the Albuquerque international balloon Fiesta field and the operations of flying a Dawn patrol for the benefit of hundreds of pilots on this massive balloon field. If you take this field and compare it to NFL stadiums in the US this field is the size of 64 of them, You’re gonna that first you,
Speaker 4 (02:17):
Anne Kelly (02:36):
Why are they
Speaker 3 (02:36):
Not gonna do the box? Well, I think all the winds, basically the winds are calm and everyone’s going south. The higher elevation balloons are actually drifting to the west a little bit, which means the box might actually be in effect in about the next 15 minutes. But if it’s a full box and the way the wind’s blowing, it’s probably gonna make them go to the north. And they do not wanna land in Santana land or worse Northeast land in San land, both, uh, Indian reservations that are extremely difficult to retrieve balloons. Once they’ve come down on their fields,
Speaker 3 (03:37):
Is it a, that’s almost perfect with the river and the way that air temperatures come off of it. Meanwhile, you have this huge mountain at about 10,400 feet in the air. So about two hours ago that cold air on the other side of the forest backside of that mountain started to lift. As the sun came up, as the earth rotated into the sun and those drainage winds coming up over the Sandy crest, this crest of an uphill rift mountain then begins to drain off of this 10,000 foot elevation into this 5,800 foot elevation of the valley. And as the sun warms up the air, as the air comes in, we have a conveyor at a lower elevation going to the south. Let’s just go around. But then this wind is cooling back over and bringing it over the top. So what they just did successfully there is they took off in this elevation. Then they rose to the other conveyor, and then they came back down to this conveyor. They are now going to do it again. Wow. This Dawn patrol that you just witnessed, the Dawn patrol has show on all the other pilots on the field, what the conditions are. Okay. And they now know they can do a perfect Albuquerque box. Wow.
Speaker 4 (05:12):
Is that so, Ray,
Anne Kelly (05:53):
There’s a lot of balloons in the air right now. I’m gonna take a quick look. They’re everywhere. How many, how many do you think are up today?
Speaker 3 (06:03):
I was just doing a count and I think right behind me, there’s about a hundred behind me. And, uh, we’ve seen about 300 go up so far. There’s a line of maybe 10 that are trying to do what they’re gonna get up. But I think we’re done for today. I think it’s about 300 to 350. We think there’s about over 500 registered this year. Uh, some of the international balloons couldn’t make it. So we’re missing some international pilots, but some really fun things from Belgium. We’re here this morning, we had Darth Vader and Yoda go up from all together. This has been a perfect morning where the balloons have risen gone up into the lower level of temperature. Went south rose to the higher temperature, went over us and completed the Albuquerque box almost perfect.
Anne Kelly (06:51):
So this is one of these days that will go down in the book. There’s one of the epic balloon morning.
Speaker 3 (06:59):
It will. And, uh, don’t forget the cotton candy sky we had earlier. Oh
Anne Kelly (07:03):
Yes. And you’ve, um, been working on a time lapse video from this, uh, GoPro.
Speaker 3 (07:11):
Yeah. This is our in the raw, in the raw with Ray A Valdez artwork in my life. Any media, the camera was involved. The video was involved somehow. So this morning I decided to shoot a time lapse of the entire wave coming up. So technically you can count all of the different balloons that showed up this morning on this camera. But this is one of my fun R projects.
Anne Kelly (07:37):
Can’t wait to see it.
Speaker 3 (07:39):
I’m excited too. I’m gonna talk a little bit about the photography of bloom Fiesta. We have so many photos being taken here this morning that are digital. The event is known as the most photographed event in the world. And with the advent of the cloud and digital media, you can only imagine the media that was created this morning and to two hours, I’m gonna walk us down to the pond right here, where my friends have been filming with a different kind of setup here, and you can see their film and their camera right in here. And you can see the people over there.
Anne Kelly (08:30):
So, right. Which, which pens are you looking for?
Speaker 5 (08:36):
It’s always the rare one that we’re looking for. Which
Anne Kelly (08:39):
One would be the rare one in this,
Speaker 5 (08:41):
In this stack here in the stack, in this exact stack right here, these little baby ones right here, maybe that one’s valuable.
Speaker 3 (09:00):
Uh, we’re here this morning at Albuquerque international blue Fiesta field with Julie.
Speaker 6 (09:05):
Hi Julie hub from Colorado.
Speaker 3 (09:08):
Julie had her first experience here, first mass extension with Albuquerque blue Fiesta. And what did you think? What was your
Speaker 6 (09:14):
First morning life I’m telling you? It’s absolutely insane here. It’s so magical to be under all these hot air balloons and to be a part of a group of all these beautiful people, all experiencing something so great altogether.
Speaker 3 (09:28):
Excellent. What’d you guys think of that? Was, was that good? That was good. Huh? Did you guys like it?
Anne Kelly (09:36):
We just got here at 5:00 AM. It’s now 10:00 AM. We got to see the Dawn patrol all the great balloon excitement. We had a breakfast burrito and you, you got some pins,
Speaker 3 (09:51):
Pin collecting is a huge part of balloon Fiesta. So here’s some of the pins that came up this morning. Um, this is actually from last year, they had done these 2020 pins. It didn’t happen with the Wiley coyote on there, and here’s this morning’s mass Ascension pin, special shapes pin.
Anne Kelly (10:10):
And how many years have you been collecting these pins?
Speaker 3 (10:13):
I would say I have a good collection, maybe 20 years at this point. And some of my pins go back 45 years. I have one that goes back almost to the first BOLO Fiesta. 49 years ago, 50 years ago. This is the, uh, pin for this year for the 49th. And they did it in a white and they did it in a, in a, in a tur quise. So you got two colors. And then from the Plano pin company, Plano pin comes out of Texas from Plano pin company. I always go to them for my purchase of the Darth Vader balloon pin. And for the last several years, they’ve brought the Yoda balloon with them. So now the pin comes with both branded Darth Vader and Yoda, uh, with the Albuquerque international balloon branded year. And I’m sure Lucas film has something to say about it on the other side, but what’s kind of fun is you can see they did it in the shape of the state of New Mexico. So these are highly collectable. Uh, Dar Vader has been been coming to the balloon festival for years and all the pins are severely collectable. And
Anne Kelly (11:28):
You said they have a different Darth Vader pin every year,
Speaker 3 (11:31):
Correct brand to the correct the year that they’ll appear at any of the big festivals. So they have their pin collecting down, uh, that higher level of pin collecting the, uh, Plano pin company is also famous for their series of the famous AMC television show, seen bad and better call Saul. This is their version this year with a, uh, coronavirus take on Jesse Pinkman and Walter, uh, Mr. Heisenberg himself, and, uh, the breaking bad themes as they are. And then to help out the, uh, us forest service that sells a close in a collector pin over at the international bloom museum. Uh, they now sell the smoky, the bear pin for them and give all the proceeds back to the smoky, the bear foundation, which is a wonderful foundation, teaching wildlife, fire skills and so forth. And that can be found over at the Albuquerque international balloon museum. This is the field that we were on today. This morning, the Albuquerque international balloon Fiesta filled is the size of 64 NFL stadium fields. If you lined them all up as such, it’s a large facility for launching the, uh, capability of how many balloons launch every year from this festival over eight days and seven nights. Amazing. Thank you for the tour. You’re very welcome.
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