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Dec 10, 2017, Sunday
Dec 10, 2017, Sunday

Recollection: Cappadocia balloons

December 10, 2017   Sunday
Goreme   Turkey
We now know that memories are not fixed or frozen, like Proust's jars of preserves in a larder, but are transformed, disassembled, reassembled, and recategorized with every act of recollection. Oliver Sacks

Here is a recollection of a day spent in Turkey, told largely in photos. It was several years ago, before I started this blog.

Morning in Goreme      

In Goreme I woke to a load buzzing, its source circling like a giant mosquito. I could even make out voices but I couldn't quite make out the words. Then I walked outside and saw the sky full of colorful orbs, each propelled by an occasional blast of flame. And underneath were baskets full of people. And they slowly drifted across the sky.

I was in Goreme, a small town near the center of Turkey in an area called Cappadocia, to see the sometimes rather phallic-looking fairy chimney rock formations. On arrival something else caught my interest, the fact that Goreme's climate is near perfect for ballooning. So one morning I got up early, drove out to a nearby field, and watched a balloon being filled with warm air.

Cappadocia balloon      
Our balloon to Goreme      

As I watched, the balloon became filled with warm air and it righted itself.

We're off      
As soon as the balloon was full I climbed into the basket (along with half a dozen others). We then oh-so-quietly took off. It was an eerie feeling.
Fairy chimneys      
Being in the balloon provided a grand view of our fellow balloonists as well as the fairy chimney rock formations that surround Goreme.
Looking over the edge      
What a view      

For some reason I wasn't fearful in the balloon, no claustrophobia being confined in the cramped basket, no acrophobia despite being high in the sky held up by a bit of temperature difference.

Piloting the balloon      

The fellow on the right is the balloon's pilot. What's notable about this shot is it's like I just discovered it. I'd never tried to process it, I just assumed there was nothing in the interior, as the scene's got a too-wide wide dynamic range. Of course now I know how to pull detail out of dark areas, even in shots from an old D300.

Our fellow Butterfly      
Our target      

We floated over Goreme, from one edge of town to the other, for about an hour. Then, once past town, we came in sight of a field. A small truck pulling a trailer was moving towards us across the field. We started our descent and soon stopped. The balloon landing was smooth and uneventful, just like you'd want it. We climbed out of the basket and found it was sitting straight on the flatbed, almost ready for another trip. I think they've done this a few times.

The captain      
Heading back