Mike Chowla
Great Reno Balloon Race 2008:

Mass Ascension

After the dawn patrol takes to the skies, the full contingent of pilots begins to setup their balloons. Unlike most events, spectators can wander around the launch field during both setup and launch. Around 90 balloons participated this year. The balloons all launch in a pretty short window creating a great visual feast. This was first balloon festival and I was surprised by how beautiful a sight the mass ascension is. Previously, I hadn't thought such about balloons. I found out they are an almost magical aircraft.