The skies are grey, it is cold outside, and you would much rather be snuggled up next to a warm fire in the living room than romping around the winter wonderland in a balloon. Yet, you miss the smell of propane, the snap of the fabric, and the roar of the burner.
With the right computer equipment the long winter nights might not be so unbearable. OJO (pronounced ó-ho, which is Spanish for eye) Magic Corporation in Albuquerque, New Mexico has produced a CD-ROM disk about ballooning. The disk uses photography and video footage to bring the sport of ballooning to life.
If you have enjoyed photographer Ron Behrmann's work in this magazine over the last eleven years you will certainly enjoy this CD-ROM. The majority of balloon photography on this disk is from Ron's extensive portfolio. Many of the pictures have been featured in Balloon Life.
The initial computer screen is shown in the picture nearby. By clicking on any of the nine balloon icons you are transported to a different selection of material. Clicking on the Montgolfier balloon will take you to a historical time line of hot air balloon development. The flying pig represents Special Shapes. The world balloon will take you to events in other countries.
Every phase of balloon operations is touched on. There is a section on experimental balloons. For the real computer techies there is a balloon morphing section. Some sections contain not only still photography but also include video footage of ballooning. The history section has video from the original Albuquerque balloon event in 1972 with comments from Don Piccard. In one video clip Don Piccard and Ed Yost exchange friendly banter at Ed's place in the mountains.
Looking for a winter project. How about building a tissue balloon. The disk contains an interactive section where you select the number of gores and weight the balloon can carry. The program will give you a template for the gore pattern.
How about a balloon game. Click on the clown and you will be transported to the game area where you can fly a hot air balloon trying to grab the keys off a pole while avoiding flying saucers.
Balloons in every phase of operation, special shapes, evening glows, ballooning history, and more are featured on this disk. And, lots of pretty pictures of balloons. The disk provides hours of ballooning material that one can enjoy while waiting for the snow to melt.
The downside of this disk is that you have to do Windows. The minimum system requirements include a 486/66 Wintel computer with 16mb of RAM, sound card, color monitor, and at least a double speed CD-ROM drive. If your system does not have Video for Windows a copy comes on the disk. Macintosh users can save your money.
The CD-ROM cost $29.95 postpaid and can be ordered from Ron Behrmann Photography, 8405 Monitor Drive NE, Albuquerque, NM 87109.
If cloisonné and enamel pins do not have enough detail, how about a pin with a photograph on it. Although new to balloon pins, Southwestern Balloon Adventures has been producing picture pins of U.S. Postage stamps for the last four years. Recently they teamed up with Ron Behrmann to create a signature series of balloon pins.
Pictured nearby is the 1996 Season's Greetings pin Is It Snow? The picture was taken at the White Sands balloon event. The back of the pin has information about the pin and Ron's signature. Also shown is one of three other balloon picture pins that were produced in this limited edition series.
The ornament pin is two and half inches in diameter and is designed to hang. Pins can have safety pin, butterfly clutch, or magnetic backs. The pins are created by using a four color process. A die cuts the a piece of brass in the shape of the pin, the pin is then plated, a white coating is put on the pin to hold the image, then the four color process (similar to the process in printing this magazine) places the image on the pin, and finally an epoxy enamel is added.
The large ornament pin sells for $7 each and the regular size balloon picture pins sell for $5. The pins are available from Southwestern Balloon Adventures (800) 336- 2724, or Discover Balloons (505) 842-1111.
Southwestern Balloon Adventures told Balloon Life that currently the minimum order if you would like your own picture pins made is 2,000 pieces. They are currently working with their supplier in the Far East to bring the minimum number of pieces down.
Ascension 1997, Scenic Balloon Calendar is a 9 by 12 inch full-color engagement calendar that presents 15 pages of hot air balloons gracing the mountains and valleies of Northern and Central California and Nevada. The pictures combine unspoiled scenery with the hot colors and majesty of ballooning. Calendar grids are enhanced with original color artwork.
Calendars are $10.95 postpaid (CA residents add sales tax) and may be ordered from Shery Larson, PO Box 1566, Mt. Shasta, CA 96067 or call (916) 235-4595.
Phantom Video has produced another in their series of ballooning videos, Sunrise Sunset IV "Fun Flight Adventures." The video follows members of the Central Texas Balloon Club on several flights in the beautiful hill country near Austin, Texas.
Video footage is without narration but does have soothing music overlaid on the track. The opening sequence of preparing the balloon for flight and launch is produced using time lapse photography.
One flight experience includes an interesting chase where the balloon lands out of sight of the crew. The crew locates a landowner to get permission to try and find the balloon on their property. The landowner jumps in their Cub airplane and goes in search of the downed balloon. Once located the plane returns to direct the crew.
Other film footage includes lake and rolling hill flights. In addition to the flight sequences, the video covers the whole balloon operation, from setup to packing the balloon away. Good landowner relations are practiced by the balloon teams.
Sunrise Sunset IV shows balloonists enjoying the fun of balloon flight. It provides a nice introduction to ballooning that can be used as a background at a party or to show during a general presentation to people not familiar with ballooning.
Sunrise Sunset IV "Fun Flight Adventures" is 30 minutes long. Cost is $19.95 plus $3.00 shipping and may be ordered from Phantom Video, PO Box 90936, Austin, Texas 78709 or call 1-800-401-3330.