National Geographic News

Hot Air Balloons, Cappadocia

Photograph by Kani Polat, My Shot

The success of a photograph almost always comes from planning, and luck definitely favors the prepared. In this shot of hot air balloons over ancient rock formations in Turkey, the photographer no doubt planned ahead to make sure he was in the right place at the right time. First, the cone-shaped rock formations complement the similarly shaped balloons. I especially love that one larger formation is included on the left. Not only is it a bold shape to have close to the camera, but it also has a curious, cave-like element and speaks to the geological history of the setting, giving the image that all-important sense of place. Second, the early-morning light raking in from the right is perfectly lovely, as are the soft clouds, which were a lucky element. Finally, the balloons are beautifully placed across the sky, but the red balloon in the upper left of the frame is the final, key element to the success of the image.—Catherine Karnow

Photo Tip: Planning ahead is essential to getting successful photographs: Be in the right place at the right time, and be ready for a lucky moment.

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