Northam Nationals 2017
It was a very early start for a Saturday as we needed to get to Northam airfield by 05:30 for the first practise day of the Northam Nationals 2017, so we were up and on the road by 04:20. Caitlin (my daughter), George (workmate) and I headed out into the darkness, coffees in hand, and drove for a bit over an hour to get there on time.
We joined a good sized group of spectators, fellow photographers and other interested people waiting to find out where the starting point would be. 06:00 came around, the location was announced and everyone headed for their cars. We dropped into the line and joined the convoy heading back west out of Northam to turn left towards Spencer’s Brook, where the balloons were launching from.
As you imagine, parking was at a premium but we managed to find a part of the road side that wasn’t taken, parked then grabbed our gear and walked back towards the balloons. With the temperature down to a chilly 3 degrees it was rather bracing but we all had warm clothes on so it wasn’t too bad (apart from our fingers). We were separated from the balloons by a small fence but were actually fairly close and it was a marvellous view watching them set everything up.
I had my Nikon D7200 with a Tokina 11-16mm on it for some nice wide shots, and my trusty old D90 with a 50mm to get in for closer shots. Both were hanging from neck straps around my neck, so I imagine I looked a tad silly, but it made it nice and easy to switch between cameras.
We spent the next hour or so, snapping away as the balloons filled up and took off. It was a wonderful spectacle and one that I’d like to repeat. I’m not sure when the next one is due to be held in WA but I will be keeping an eye out for news from the Australian Ballooning Federation.