Cappadocia, Turkey // balloon-filled sunrise skies

this morning when I sat down to blog, I opened up Lightroom and asked myself: where do you want to go today? it's been a rough week. and so the answer was somewhere magical and far away.

cue: sunrise in Cappadocia. specifically, a sunrise spent watching hot air balloons sail through the sky.

a word about photo integrity: if you've been on Pinterest for 5 minutes, you've probably seen photos of hot air balloons over Cappadocia. a lot of them involve blondes with perfect hair sitting on Turkish rugs sipping coffee, while the sky is brimming with colorful orbs. and a lot of them are photoshopped.

while I sometimes use photo editing programs to bring out colors, crop people out of the frame, fix weird shadows or remove blemishes... I always try to give an accurate representation of the place I am photographing. just like I try to give an honest telling of my experiences. [because misleading blog posts are a huge pet peeve of mine.] SO I promise you that all the photos you see here will not have any additional balloons, only what was actually in the skies. end of rant. back to the balloons.

riding in a hot air balloon in Turkey was one of the most magical experiences, ever. so much that my friend and I decided once was not enough. but rather than pay the fee to fly again, we woke up before sunrise to view the balloons from a bluff we spotted during our ride.

the night before, we hiked out to assess the situation. we got there early enough to watch the balloons fire up and take off, and stayed until they landed again. in between we took a lot of photos [ok, no rug but at least I brushed my hair] and even did some yoga on a giant rock.

after the first 15 or 20 minutes, we realized that the wind was not blowing in our direction. the day we flew, our balloon had passed directly over the bluff we were standing on. but on this day they almost went straight up and down... which is why all my photos are pretty much the same angle. at one point I just put my camera down because I was taking the same shot over and over. [though apparently it was so early I forgot I had my zoom lens and only took that one close shot? oops.]

even though the balloons didn't make it very close to us, we still had a beautiful sunrise. I think if I lived in Göreme I could become a morning person - if it meant starting every day with a thermos of coffee and a sunrise hike.

is this view worth waking up at 4am for? it was for me.

eventually, what goes up must come down. the magic ends and it's time for another cup [or three] of coffee before heading out to explore some cave villages and crazy rock formations. as one does in Cappadocia.

[ps: don't worry, I'll share photos from the actual balloon ride. it was just easier to sort through these first than the 500+ I took from the air.]

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