The Pro Football Hall of Fame is a pretty big deal in these parts. It’s kind of the only game in town in terms of tourism for the Canton, OH Area (there’s a couple of other things, but trust me, the HoF is it) and one of its biggest draws during enshrinement week is the Pro Football Hall of Fame Jackson-Belden Balloon Classic. It’s certainly one of my favorite events to photograph. It’s colors, shapes, people – the whole gamut of local festivities done to the max.

Hot Air Balloons are at the center of this particular event. Weather permitting, they will inflate and take off, landing at some point in a place that hopefully doesn’t cause too much trouble. A few years ago they actually landed in the park directly across from my house – this happened early in the morning and I totally missed the whole thing, doh!

Over the course of 2 nights and 3 mornings the balloons prep themselves for the flight which gives you, the photographer, ample chances to catch them flying high above. This year I put all of my chips on one afternoon for a chance to see the balloons take off. I was lucky, it worked – the wind was a little feisty but calm enough for the balloon to get off the ground and set sail. Below are a few of the pictures I took. Find me on twitter at and let me know what you think!

Benjamin Lehman is a Commercial Photographer in the Canton, Akron, Cleveland, and Northeast Area of Ohio.