The quiet of the moment was shattered when the pilot commanded, “Landing positions!” and with a slight bump, we were back among the land-dwellers on terra firma.
Much like that briefest moment just after waking from a spectacular dream, it’s hard to know what’s real and what isn’t. And, inevitably, the conscious mind drags us back to reality, often leaving us with a bit of melancholy at the loss of a world we once loved. Balloonists are used to this sort of thing and have developed a fool-proof cure: champagne. Nothing better to raise your spirits than a champagne toast to the dream we shared together.
Book early. Balloons Over Bagan fills up way in advance ($320 per person). Snag the right, front gondola compartment—you’ll have an unobstructed 180-degree view (the rear compartments have small control lines in front of them). Don’t be afraid to shoot into the sun; just meter the ground, keep the shutter release half-pressed, and tilt the camera up until you have the perfect frame for your shot. Shooting around the sun can require a bit of post processing; an iPhoto can do the trick but Photoshop is better.
Christopher Michel is a photographer, writer, and entrepreneur. He has photographed some of the world’s most unusual places and people, from the jungles of Papua New Guinea to the edge of space aboard a U-2 Spy Plane.