Five buddies from San Francisco recently sent a tech-laden weather balloon on an incredible 90,000-foot journey that garnered some stunning aerial footage of their home city.
Loaded with a Sony a7S mirrorless camera with a 10-18 mm f/4 lens, two GoPro Hero4 cameras, a Hero3+, and a Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone (plus a GPS tracker and several batteries), the entire kit drifted to an altitude of 91,470 feet – more than twice the cruising altitude of a commercial airliner – capturing some beautiful imagery over San Francisco before the balloon burst, bringing the whole lot crashing back to terra firma in Salinas, 80 miles south of its launch point.
The best of the content has been showcased in a captivating five-minute sequence called San Francisco – above the clouds, embedded above.
The friends – Bryan Chan, Ashish Goel, Tyler Reid, Paul Tarantino, and Corey Snyder (aka Night Crew Labs) – were able to locate their gear relatively quickly in Salinas, a major improvement on their last effort when the camera remained missing for a whole two years, and was only found by chance.
In a post on its website detailing its most recent mission, the team describes the moment they found the balloon: “We immediately pulled out the SD cards from the cameras and to our delight, found that all the cameras had captured some amazing footage. We were literally jumping with joy when we saw the amazing views of the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco downtown, Bay Bridge, Monterey Bay and a giant rainbow across the Bay area.
They also captured some incredible slow-motion footage of the balloon bursting. “One can see how the rip travels along multiple longitudinal lines, leaving behind a cloud of talcum powder,” they write in the post.
The aerial adventure was, in part, a test run for a far more ambitious project the friends are planning for the challenging climes of Alaska, where they’re hoping to capture footage of the Northern Lights from up high. Judging by this latest effort, they’re good to go.