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Photographing the Fiesta

September 23, 1990|FERNE SALTZMAN

The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is one of the country's most photographed events. Crystal-clear air lends a special quality to the light. Optimum weather creates perfect blue backdrops for the subjects. The colors of the balloons are gorgeous.

Here are suggestions for making the most of this glorious photo opportunity:

--Take some faster film (ASA 200 or 400) to capture pre-dawn activities on the field. ASA 64 or 100 should be more than adequate after sunrise.

--Use a polarizing filter to darken the sky and enhance balloon colors. You'll be amazed at the difference it will make.

--Forget your tripod. The field will be extremely crowded and you'll be moving a lot. After sunrise you won't need it anyway.

--Carry a wide-angle lens or wide-angle zoom for the balloons on the ground. Add a telephoto zoom for shooting them in the air.

--Take much more film than you think you'll need. There are 625 balloons, almost all different.

--Bring extra batteries. You'll be rapid-firing during ascension. A lens brush and cleaning cloth are a must on the dusty field.

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