A boy and his balloon

The amazing photographic results of other weather balloon projects inspired me to attempt my own take on the idea. I thought it would be neat to be able to freely look around at high altitude so I set out to make a home-built lens to give myself a 360 degree reflection.

360° video: Click & drag on it to look around

While I worked on and off trying to figure out how I was going to adapt a mirrored light bulb into a panoramic lens, a company created such a product for me. As soon as I discovered this low cost lens lens I was overjoyed and immediately pushed the project forward.

Click to see photos from the first and second launches:

SkyTiger I

SkyTiger II

After seeing a few of the shots someone asked me how I got interested in balloon photography. I didn’t really have a good answer other than I always thought it was interesting. That question got me thinking though. I remembered an event from the past that probably influenced me in this direction. I dug out a memory box looking for a long forgotten letter. Sure enough, I still had it, dated September 22, 1992.

Twenty years ago, as a boy, I tied a letter to a balloon and set it free. Amazingly enough someone found it and wrote back to me.  I remember being exciting about getting a response from my project but sadly I don’t think I ever responded.  This original balloon project piqued my interest enough to revisit the basic idea a couple decades later.

20 year old balloon with letter

Readdressing the current project, it wouldn’t have been possible without the help of a lot of great people, the greatest portion goes to the two other guys from the core team, P.C. and Felipe De Jesus. Tom Payne who started with us.  Other thanks goes to Ryan Carmen & Ryan Wodzenski (launch locations). Special thanks to Stephen Johnson for many of the ground-level photos. Photography and other support:  Brian Horton, Jeff Staddon, & Chris Brown. Industrial Welding Supply sold us supplies and were very helpful in general. Also thanks to others which I haven’t mentioned who I discussed ideas with and who gave support of different types!

 

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