Taking photographs from a hot air balloon is not as easy as it looks. Photographer Afonso Salcedo discovered this while he was trying to snap some shots in Cappadocia, a place he describes as “the interior alien desert landscape of Turkey.”
Afonso is a storyteller at heart. He’s been carrying a camera since he can remember, always photographing or filming every single thing nearby. Lights, shadows, emotions, people, and nature are some of his biggest passions. Playing with all those elements in a film, creating a vision, and bringing it to life are some of his favorite things ever. After working in the film industry for more than a decade at companies like Pixar Animation Studios, DreamWorks and Framestore, Afonso is now the owner of Sutro Studios, based in San Francisco, CA. You can usually find him outdoors somewhere, or daydreaming while imagining new worlds, and always with that camera nearby.
His hot air balloon experience came about on a total whim while he was traveling around Turkey with some friends. When the opportunity to take his first ever hot air balloon to see the sun rise from the balloon came up, he knew he couldn’t pass it up.
“I always wonder when these moments come in your life, and I’m always afraid of never having that same chance again,” Salcedo said. “So I jumped at that, signed up, and caught an old van at 4 a.m. to drive almost an hour to the middle of nowhere where these balloons were located.”
Salcedo, who has taken photos all around the world, said Cappadocia’s landscape is very unique.
“It’s an unforgettable land of canyons, desert, underground caves and more. I live for nature and outdoors, one of my favorite passions to photograph, and I have never seen anything quite like this. “
“The main challenge was trying to not fall off the balloon, fighting some vertigo feelings of hovering in the air at a high altitude with no real sense of being attached to anything, and figuring out how to compose the images that I wanted as I observed the landscape and other balloons around me”
While Salcedo said taking photos in the balloon was difficult because the perspective was constantly changing, the conditions allowed him to capture some beautiful images.
“We were lucky with the weather,” he said. “The sunrise was perfect, and I had the right gear to capture photographs as the light, and shadows changed so rapidly in the early morning.”
However, it is the unpredictability of the weather that Salcedo really enjoys in his landscape photos.
“It [weather] shows you how the natural world is the real force of life, and we’re just lucky to happen to live surrounded by such beauty,” he explained. “I always try to capture that in my photography, and weather is just one of those elements that can add an incredible emotion to an image.”
To see more of Salcedo’s work visit his website.