Follow us on Instagram and use #themainemag to share your love of the state.

The first time I experienced hot air balloons was last summer at the Great Falls Balloon Festival in Lewiston. It was one of the last warm days of the year, and my goal was to capture the audience’s reaction to the balloons as they rose into the sky. As this balloon was unraveled and prepared for flight, adults and children gathered around the wooden basket and the blazing, loud torch. As workers untethered the balloon, I could feel the excitement in the air, and as it lifted off the ground, the crowd circled it. It was a fleeting but magical moment, and we all watched in amazement.

Since everyone was moving, I had to act fast with my camera and anticipate the right moment for the perfect composition. I wanted to capture this balloon as it rose above the crowds without blocking the one behind it. To me, this photo represents summertime bliss and the beauty of a community coming together.

Molly Braun lives in Portland. She can be found shooting both film and digital photography across Maine and New England. Follow her on Instagram @mollybraunphoto.