September 7, 2016 // 1:45 PM

New Hot Air Balloon

Written by Scott Miller

Early in the morning on Friday, September 2 – 4:12 a.m. to be exact – the phone rang.  After an exchange of good mornings, Stan Hess from the U.S. Hot Air Balloon Team said, “A review of the weather at Garden Spot Village shows we should have a good half hour to take pictures of your balloon this morning. It should be best from 6:00 until about 6:30. After that we expect the winds to kick up. We’ll be at Garden Spot Village at 5:45.”

After hanging up the phone Gavin Sauder who takes care of the photos and Brandon Adams who helps art direct and choreograph the shots received a text message at home that the photo shoot was on.

Around 5:30, Gavin walked into the marketing suite to get the camera and tripod. Ten minutes later the phone rang again. It was Stan – he was on campus with the balloon and his crew. Gavin and I jumped in the GSV Nissan Cube and met up with the balloon team to escort them to the photo location, with Brandon joining us shortly after.  About a week earlier, Gavin and Brandon scouted the campus looking for a good place to capture some photos. Behind the Legacy Garden is a retention pond that’s flat and open, which made it the perfect spot. Shooting from the south put the rising sun behind us with Carriage Homes, Cottages and Apartment buildings in the background. In addition, there was the interesting landscape with the gardens, the Pavilion and walking paths winding their way through the gardens.

Stan’s team rolled out the balloon and inflated it in short order. The sun was just coming up and Gavin had the camera mounted on a tripod across the basin. Using a wifi connection, Brandon was able to preview the photos that Gavin was taking on his phone. Working together, they were able to direct the balloon team for the best positions and shots. Fortunately, the weather cooperated nicely. There was barely a breeze which made it easy to control the balloon.

Stan suggested tethering the balloon above the campus so Gavin would be able to get some aerial photos. Not only did he get great shots of the campus, but also of the flames shooting up into the canopy of the balloon.

While all of this was going on, early bird residents began to come out to see what was happening. They walked, drove and rode their bikes over to see what was happening. The people who lived in the houses close by were sitting on their patios and watching from their backdoors, taking their own pictures of us as we were photographing the balloon and the gardens.

As the photo shoot wrapped up one of the residents said, “thank you for the show!” Another commented, “just the start of another day at Garden Spot Village!”

Whether it’s a hot air balloon, flying remote control airplanes or boarding a 747 for the Caribbean on a mission trip, the people of Garden Spot Village discover experiences of a lifetime. There is simply so much life to live!

Chief Marketing Officer