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Photo of the Week: Oct. 12, 2012

Michael Clemmer

Editor's note: Welcome to  Yahoo! Travel Photo of the Week, chosen from the Flickr group created by our readers – you! Each week a professional photographer will select a photo that stands out from the crowd, and explain why they chose it. To have your own photo considered, join our Flickr group and start submitting your own photos!

Besides birds, who else gets to look down on a hot-air balloon? And how alien is a hot air balloon in a snowy environment? Spanish photographer Fran Gallego answers both those questions with this week’s Yahoo! Travel Photo of The Week – “Volando en Globo V” (roughly translated: Flying in balloon No. 5.) Gallego tells us in his caption: “We had almost two-hour flight, we started to descend. We were about 40km from the starting point, now just had to find a good place to land.”

The image was captured in southwestern Switzerland, north of Lake Geneva and the city of Lausanne. Gallego used his Canon EOS 5D Mark II, but he doesn’t share with us what lens was attached.  Since hot-air balloons are not easily steered it would be safe to say there was some distance between Mr. Gallego’s balloon and his subject, making a wide-angle lens unnecessary. 

Something else he probably used: Gloves! Can you imagine how cold it must have been?  Remember, the “hot air” is up in the balloon, not down in the gondola, where the people are. Something else to consider:  Gallego wrote that the flight had been almost two hours long; with the air temperature below 32 degrees, Fahrenheit – as it surely was – the battery in his camera was probably getting pretty cold, too, and batteries don’t work well when they get cold.  How horrible would it be to have gone up, up and away in a beautiful balloon and your camera stopped working because its battery had gotten too cold?

The balloon in the photo is sponsored by Tattinger, which means there probably was champagne for all once everyone was safely on the ground.  We should all raise our glasses and drink a toast to Gallego for his photo’s excellent composition and for providing us with a jaunty balloon against a stark black and white background. Gracias, Señor Gallego ¡Salud!

Alabama-based Michael Clemmer has been a photojournalist/travel photographer, landscape and golf course photographer for over four decades. Once a Senior Travel Photographer for Southern Living Magazine, he has also worked as an assignment photographer for the National Geographic Society and his photographs have been used in fine publications around the world. He currently specializes in golf landscape photography — visit his web site at