Ted's Master - Dr Andrew Peacock "One On One" Competition

8 April 2016 1:39:06 PM AEST

Andrew Peacock

It was a very difficult task selecting one winner from over 300 written responses to the Ted’s Cameras “Andrew Peacock One-on-One” competition but in the end I chose young scientist Chris Freelance to accompany me on a balloon flight over Melbourne with the excellent team at Picture This Ballooning.

Andrew Peacock
Image By Andrew Peacock - Canon EOS 5D MKIII

Andrew Peacock
Image By Andrew Peacock - Canon EOS 5D MKIII


Chris explained in his entry that he wanted to gain more confidence with his photography and in particular hopes to combine his passion for science work with his love of photography in the future. This resonated with me because I’ve been able to combine my work as an Expedition Doctor with the pursuit of Adventure Travel photography.

Andrew Peacock
Image By Andrew Peacock - Canon EOS 5D MKIII

Andrew Peacock
Image By Andrew Peacock - Canon EOS 5D MKIII


We met before dawn for a briefing in the city by our excellent pilot Jeff and were shuttled out to Westerfolds Park in Templestowe with a flight plan based on northerly winds aiming for a landing at Moorabbin airport. I have watched balloons being inflated at the huge Albuquerque International Balloon Festival at dawn but never flown in one and so after grabbing a few frames in near total darkness of the inflation process I was super excited to finally step into the basket and await lift off. Chris and I had talked a little bit about what to expect photographically but as always in a new environment it’s hard to know exactly how the light and subject matter will combine and it was important not to preconceive too much about what I wanted to shoot.

Andrew Peacock
Image By Andrew Peacock - Canon EOS 5D MKIII

Andrew Peacock
Image By Andrew Peacock - Canon EOS 5D MKIII


Suddenly without warning the ground was 20 metres below me and as we gently floated upward, but before gaining too much altitude, I concentrated on composing a wide angle shot with people in our basket in warm light from the gas burner flame while also capturing other balloons rising just above the surrounding landscape. In the far distance the sun was peeking over the Dandenong Ranges National Park and I hoped vainly for the angles to line up so that I could capture a silhouette of one of the other balloons against the rich light of a hazy summer sunrise but it was not to be! Our flight track didn’t allow for any close up city images and so Chris and I turned our attention to finding abstract patterns in the suburbs below for much of what was a superb and enjoyable flight.

Andrew Peacock
Image By Andrew Peacock - Canon EOS 5D MKIII

Andrew Peacock
Image By Andrew Peacock - Canon EOS 5D MKIII


Once back in the city I reviewed Chris’s RAW images, I thought he did a good job considering all of this was so new to him. We both learned a lot about photographing while ballooning and the cool thing with this adventurous activity is that each flight can have different weather conditions that mandate changing take off and landing spots which means new vistas and angles to work with photographically. I’ll let Chris tell you about his experience.

Andrew Peacock
Image By Andrew Peacock - Canon EOS 5D MKIII

Andrew Peacock
Image By Andrew Peacock - Canon EOS 5D MKIII

Chris's Story

When I entered the competition, I didn’t expect to win. So when the email came saying that in fact I had done just that, I was more than pleasantly surprised – it was a great opportunity to experience hot air ballooning with an experienced adventure travel photographer there to pass on some skills and knowledge. I wasn’t sure what I’d expected hot air ballooning to be, but I’ve always wanted to try it. And what an experience it turned out to be. Gliding smoothly over a carpet of air with gorgeous views, it was unreal.

Andrew Peacock
Image By Chris Freelance

Andrew Peacock
Image By Chris Freelance


But it wasn’t all about ballooning; it was also an amazing chance to learn from Andrew. I’ve always enjoyed photography, but with landscapes I’ve known I had lashings of room to improve. And after working alongside Andrew albeit only for a little over an hour, it seems clear that some of the ideas and inspirations are there, I just need a better handle on what to do with them – tweak the framing here, go down another f-stop there. Not that shooting from a balloon was as easy as I thought it would be…both of us hadn’t realised just how easily a nicely lined up shot would be thrown off because the basket moves as other passengers shuffle into a different position. I also hadn’t quite realised just how quickly the balloon moves relative to the ground so that even when shooting at a shutter speed of 1/250 of a second the result could be blurred!

Andrew Peacock
Image By Chris Freelance

Andrew Peacock
Image By Chris Freelance


Overall it was a priceless experience, one that has given me a glimpse into the endless possibilities for landscape and adventure travel photography. And it’s amazing what a confidence boost you get from someone as talented as Andrew telling you he thought your shot was cool. I’m certainly inspired to keep practicing, exploring, enjoying and immersing myself in all aspects of photography – possibly from another hot air balloon in the near future!



0 Comments

Submit Comment

  • In response to:



* Required Fields