Another collection of photos from a recent ballooning trip over Victoria’s gorgeous wine-growing Yarra Valley one early spring morning.
Perhaps the most gorgeous aspect of the trip was the mist at dawn, and how it interplayed with the landscape as the sun rose, transforming the landscape and changing the mood as it changed.
From the ground, the pattern of the mist is harder to discern, but from 3,000 feet, it’s beautiful to watch it steaming off waterways in the cool morning air, spreading like a threadbare cotton blanket over the ground, or catching long shadows from the sun low on the horizon.
As we first took off, we passed over a small flooded waterway. The sun was still below the horizon, and we were low enough that the mist still wrapped us. I took a first shot of the mist running off the water (below), and as we skimmed along its surface, snapped the image at the top of this post of reeds reflected in the still surface. Still low, I shot a third image of a tree at the water’s edge (beneath), again enjoying the utter stillness of the water’s surface as the balloon breezed over.
As we gained height, the waterways gleamed silver against a dark green backdrop, while mist clumped over low, damp areas.
As the sun first began to rise, it sent low shafts of light across the valley, catching treetops and lighting the topside of the mist while depressions remained in shadow. These next three images show the interplay of light and shadow, of mist, tree and water. You can see the mist boiling off the top of the rivers and ponds, much warmer than the cold air sitting atop them, like steam off a cauldron.
As the sun rose further, the mist began to burn off, swirling in those pockets of sheltered vale where the air was still and the sun’s reach weaker. The patterns left in the air look like currents in a slothfully meandering stream.
In this shot, you can see the local airfield as the mist slowly burns away.
Sometimes, as in the below image, the relationship between warm water and cool air was obvious, reminiscent of boiling lakes in Rotorua or Yellowstone, circles and puffs among the striations of ploughed fields.
Poplars slice upwards through the fug and sunlight streaks between the boughs, casting long shadows across the top of the mist.
As we come back down and the sunlight grows stronger, it seeps through to illuminate the ground, where strong colours struggle through the bleaching mist. Here, rows of vines and orchard trees greet our descending balloon, and a few minutes later we’re through the mist and back on terra firma, watching the last tendrils of fog burn off to a blue sky.