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énrich “Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.”

From Concept to Completion

– Anne Frank

38 | Sailing the Skies 42 | Nature’s Greatest Show 45




From Concept to Completion The Making of a Photo Shoot

angela likes to paint. ithyle likes to sing. angela likes #6699CC. ithyle likes #FF9900. angela is an over gifter. ithyle is a good package wrapper. angela paints her toenails pink. ithyle paints his toenails black.

WRITTEN BY Darci Hansen | PHOTOS BY Angela and Ithyle

Like many things in life, what appears to be simplistic in nature can actually be a logistical nightmare from behind the scenes. A fashion photo shoot has countless details that implicate coordinating the schedules, desires, intentions and tastes of many.


ngela and Ithyle do their job. Together they make a great team shooting both TV commercials and still photography.

“The team concept works for us because we can focus. We trust each other so much that it frees up our brains to give total concentration to what we are doing...We are making better art together than we ever did alone because we have this freedom, “ says Angela. Angela and Ithyle make the complicated appear facile as seen here in a fashion photo shoot outside of Las Vegas…in the midst of a desert rain.

angela startles easily. ithyle relishes the fact that angela startles easily. angela likes road trips. ithyle likes bicycle trips. angela likes what ithyle orders at dinner. ithyle eats what’s left of angela’s dinner. angela likes to eat more than her fair share of tofutti cuties. ithyle laments this.

“Hot air balloons are so magical, the way they float, their colors, textures, sheer size and billow y shapes… combined with beautiful clothes...the fabrics and shapes could mirror each other and give new context to each.”

- A ngela

It doesn’t take much to slip the surly bonds of earth, just bring together a few scraps of colorful nylon, a basket to ride in and a source of heat and it’s up, up and away. You don’t need an airport, just a small piece of flat ground to lay out the balloon as it inflates. Have a few friends help hold the basket as it struggles against gravity, then let it go and soar with the winds.



Sailing the Skies WRITTEN BY Kathryn van Roosendaal | PHOTOS BY Mariah Baumgartle

no graceful way to get in and out of a basket,” she laughs. A little more work and her shout of “fire in the hole” echoes through the air. Flames leap to the sky as she tests the burners, and “ooooohs” and “aaaaaaaahs” rise from the watching crowd. A few more test shots roar overhead, then she climbs back out as Silsbee and his two daughters, Courtney and Ashley, lift down a canvas bag just larger than a duffel and open the top to let the color spill out.


ost hot air balloon pilots are eager and willing to show you their art, and Judy Holt of Phoenix is no exception – as attested by the “Hug a Pilot Today” button attached to her vest. She travels the Southwest taking advantage of air shows and balloon festivals to meet with other balloonist and show off her piloting skills. She occasionally wanders farther – she has even flown in France – but red rock country is where she and her balloon Desert Drifter feel at home. “I’ve loved balloons since I was a little girl,” says Holt. “Do you remember Babar, the Elephant? I vividly remember the Babar books, and when Babar married Celeste they took off in a hot air balloon.” “The Wizard of Oz” also fueled her love of balloons, and during her career as a grade-school teacher her classroom motto was “The Sky is the Limit.” The clincher for Holt was when her then-husband took her to the Albuquerque balloon rally and bought her a hot air balloon ride. She was immediately hooked.

and the first Desert Drifter – and a “Balloon X-ing” sign. Holt’s vanity plate reads “Hot Aire.” “I’ve been a pilot for 30 years now. You have to be a real pilot. You need to be trained and certified just like if you fly airplanes,” says Holt as she climbs into the basket with the help of her crew chief, Mike Silsbee of Phoenix. “There’s

“You can only control altitude in a balloon, the up and down,” Holt continues as she and Silsbee carry the bag between them to pour the balloon out in a straight line. “You heat the air with the burner to go up and there’s a vent at the top where you can release air to go down. To go laterally, side to side, you have to use whatever wind is there. You can only go where the wind is blowing.” The next item out of the trailer is a large fan, and Silsbee sets it up at the balloon’s opening as Holt

checks the ropes connecting the balloon to the basket. The fan turns on and with a whoosh of air the colored nylon starts to flutter and writhe against the ground. The balloon starts to fill and take shape, its curved side pulsing against the pavement. Then Holt crouches in the basket and lets out a rush of flame and Desert Drifter rises. Silsbee, his daughters and others help hold the basket to the ground as another breath of fire fills the balloon, making it light up against the darkened sky. And standing in the basket with Desert Drifter straining at the ropes, Holt continues her lesson. “You have to steer using wind currents. The wind goes different directions at different altitudes. If you need to go left and the wind is going that direction at a higher altitude, you add hot air to go up.“ How does she know which way the air currents are blowing? She spits over the side of the basket and watches what happens. “It’s not ladylike,” she says. “But it works.”

“I turned to the pilot and said ‘I need one.’ And I got one within a year.” Hot air balloons are a very portable way to fly. The basket and the propane tanks for the burner take up the most space, and they can easily fit in a small hitch trailer, the back of a pickup or even inside a cargo van. Desert Drifter rides in style in a custom trailer complete with a painting featuring Holt’s past balloons – My Blue Heaven, Morning Glory


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“It’s like sailing in the sky. You can’t control the wind.

The wind controls you.”

- Judy

Interested in More Information? Photo by Angela and Ithyle.

Holt and her fellow balloon pilots use the many balloon rallies throughout the country to get together and swap news and also to compete against each other. They test their piloting skills with balloon races where they have to sail to a specific point and drop a weighted streamer – called a flag – and see who gets the closest. “The flag is like a bean bag with a tail on it. You have to sail – using the wind currents to control direction – and hit an X with the flag. Sometimes the winds don’t cooperate and no one really makes it to the X. But it’s still a great time.” Holt opens the vent at the top and the balloon starts to deflate, wilting to one side and finally collapsing to the ground. Soon the Desert Drifter is loaded back into its trailer and its pilot waves goodbye, on her way to another balloon rally and her next great adventure. woman

You can find Judy Holt and other balloon pilots at the following rallies throughout the Southwest: Great Reno Balloon Race September 9-11, 2011 Snowmass Colorado Balloon Festival September 16-18, 2011 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta October 1-9, 2011 Page Lake Powell Balloon Regatta November 3-6, 2011 Red Rock Balloon Rally – Gallup, New Mexico December 3, 2011 Panguitch Valley Balloon Rally Late June, 2012



From Concept to Completion 38 | Sailing the Skies 42 | Nature’s Greatest Show 45 “Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy...