I treated myself to a day off from work today. Taking an occasional day of leave for no particular reason always feels like skipping school, and I love it!
I thought I might like to go on a photo shoot, but couldn't seem to pick a place to go. So this morning, bright and early, I headed out the door with no destination in mind. Of course it is still Balloon Fiesta week, so the first thing that captured my attention were the balloons lifting off. It was a perfect morning for it. I hope you don't mind a few more balloon pictures, if I promise some other subjects later on in this post.
These were some of the early risers, silhouetted against the eastern sky.
I started the day off with a breakfast at McDonald's. When I came back out to the car I saw this balloon, Sunny Boy, descending. His bright face was looking right at me, but by the time I got my camera out, the wind had turned him sideways. I could tell it was going to come down near the Cottonwood Mall, which was nearby, so I played "chase crew" and went to watch it land - along with about two dozen others who had the same idea. As you can see in the last picture of this series, another balloon was looking for a place to set down, but I decided to let someone else have the fun of chasing it down.
Before I left, Sunny Boy's pilot came over to talk to all of us who were there watching. He handed out trading cards (that's a Balloon Fiesta tradition) and talked with us a bit. He is from Colorado Springs, but used to live in Albuquerque. He does not own the balloon, but gets to pilot it occasionally for the owner, a lady from Akron, Ohio. Here he is, standing in front of the collapsed balloon.
So, I had had my McBreakfast and helped the balloons take off and land, and then I headed to a park I'd heard about but never visited before, the Rio Grande Nature Center Park. Once I got there I decided it was more of a park for people with good knees (i.e. not me). There are lots of trails, including a bridge that takes you to the trail that goes for miles along the Rio Grande. There is a nature center that sits at the edge of a pond that is populated with ducks, geese and turtles. Here are a couple pictures of the turtles.
From the park I headed to the Botanical Gardens, one of my favorite Albuquerque hang-outs. I had heard that the butterfly pavilion was open a little later than normal, to accommodate visitors for the Balloon Fiesta . . . and me :-) A lot of my pictures came out slightly blurry, since I was shooting with my telephoto lens without a tripod. But I got a few that are pretty.
After the butterflies, I wandered around a bit, taking in the model train and other sights.
By this time it was almost noon. YES, I'd done all of this in just five hours (I left home at 6:45 a.m.). I decided to call it a day, as I was getting warm and thirsty, which brings me to the perfect end of my adventures . . . a stop at Sonic for a cherry limeade!