Hot Air Balloon Bucket List Adventure | West Friendship, MD


May 18, 2019

Howard County, MD, woman stands in front of bright orange, yellow and blue hot air balloon

My journey to meeting Sarah was such kismet. Kismet. Noun. Meaning destiny or fate. A handful of years ago, I started seeing Facebook posts about the annual Howard County hot air balloon festival. Friends would attend and post awe-inspiring photos of their cute kiddos backed up against half-inflated hot air balloons and I would get a little heart-eyed. In my heart of hearts, it was something that I wanted to check out but in my lazy-girl fashion, I talked myself out of going every year because of the crowds or how hard it would be to find parking or the pesky annoyance of potentially having thousands of strangers in the background of my photos.

Bright hot air balloon fills the sky at the Howard County hot air balloon festival.

Fast forward to this year when my friend, Christina, passed on a request from Sarah. Sarah was on the hunt for a photographer to attend and document the hot air balloon festival with her. For one reason or another, every photographer she reached out to was unavailable so I was the third (fourth?) contact. Christina, newly-ish pregnant, was in the throes of much-of-the-day “morning” sickness so she passed Sarah’s info on to me and, from the first moment we talked, I felt a spark of that kismet I mentioned above. Similar to the DC monument sessions I’ve done (Danicole, Marissa, Rachel) when I felt that my secret wishes to photograph those locations were projected to the universe in some way, I feel that it was meant to be for Sarah and me to link up. 

Woman stands excitedly in front of brightly colored hot air balloon

That’s not to say that the day went off without a hitch…we met at dawn and right away we could tell something was amiss because the balloon crews were just chillin’ in their trucks…nothing was happening. Turns out that the wind speed and direction weren’t ideal that morning — no one wants their hot air balloon to share a flight path with a 747 headed for BWI airport, amiright?? — so we managed to squeeze in some shots with the tethered balloon and the Wonder Bread balloon while they were up  and then we made our way to the carnival where we had the place to ourselves. 

Woman points at Wonder Bread hot air balloon

Despite the change in plans, Sarah was like an excited child – and I mean that in a completely complimentary way. She was a dream to photograph. She’s adorable, she’s uninhibited and her goal was to get great photos so she was agreeable to anything…what more could I ask?? Plus I got to check off another one of my personal bucket list items and photograph some hot air balloons – without the crowds, parking difficulties and tons of strangers in my shot. Which reminds me…I need to start brain-storming more photography bucket-list items…anyone want to do a Great Falls maternity session???

Thank you, Sarah, for a wonderful morning ❤️

Next, don’t miss the adorable Shin family’s maternity session as they prepare to meet their newest tiny member!

Liz Viernes Photography is based in Silver Spring, Maryland, and specializes in maternity, fresh 48, posed and lifestyle newborns and first year milestone portraits.

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