Category Archives for "NEWS"

The QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning Returns to NJ July 28-30, 2017

It’s that time of year again in Central New Jersey! For the 35th year, the QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning is returning to Solberg Airport in Readington, NJ from Fri. July 28 to Sunday, July 30, 2017. There are always many photo opportunities at the show (especially when scores of balloons are in the air). And there are always a lot of interesting balloons to see. This year, they include the Angry Bird balloon, Simba the Lion (built to help build awareness and help stop the poaching of lions), and many more.

So when should you go? An evening ascension is planned for Friday afternoon (7/28) at 6:30pm, and morning and afternoon balloon ascensions are planned on Saturday, July 29 and Sunday, July 30 at 6:30am and 6:30pm. There is also a “Balloon Glow” during the Saturday evening concert that is usually an amazing sight to see. I would recommend taking a look at the weather forecast a day before the event to help you decide when might be best for you to attend.

From a morning ascension at the QuickChek NJ Festival of Ballooning. Photo © Andrew Darlow

What to Do at the Festival

There are many family-friendly events at the festival (including rides for kids), and there are MANY food options, including a multitude of food trucks and a “pop-up” QuickChek store. The bands that they have lined up look fantastic, and there are quite a few musical acts that play both day and at night (see the schedule for exact dates and times). You can either purchase reserved seats if you want to get close to the stage, or you can just enjoy the show from a lawn chair or blanket outside the main show area with your ticket to the festival since all of the concerts are held outdoors. I was there a few years ago for the Joan Jett concert, and she and her bandmates rocked the house!!

This year, for the first time, they are having a Friday Kids Concert with Laurie Berkner at 1:30pm. I know Laurie and her band’s music well because our son Tyler has enjoyed it for many years. They are also having a “Camp Package,” for the first time with special discounts for camp groups.

Special Opportunity for Amateur and Professional Photographers

On Friday morning 7/28 at 6:30am the festival organizers allow members of the press as well as amateur and professional photographers/videographers to attend a “Pre-Festival Media Launch” for no charge (parking is also free). To attend the festival after the media launch, you must then have a ticket and pay for parking in a separate area. I plan to attend once again on Friday morning to take photos with many other pro and amateur photographers and videographers. Experiencing the sun rising with the balloons all gathered in one place is truly breathtaking. Below is a self-portrait from a few years ago, taken with a GoPro camera. I’m sporting one of my favorite ways to carry my gear–using The Wedding Photographer’s Vest from Another favorite accessory (the Peak Design Capture PRO Camera Clip), allows my camera to hang securely from my chest. For more information, including parking instructions, see the bottom portion of this page on the festival’s website.

Ticket Information and Discounted Tickets

Regardless of which day you attend, there is a special discount available when you purchase tickets by end of day Wed. 7/26. Kids 3 years and under are free, and tickets for children 4-12 are about 50% less than the adult tickets.

Any general admission tickets purchased are valid for one day only. You can also avoid an online ordering fee by purchasing tickets at a QuickCheck store (here is a link to a page where you can search for a QuickChek location).

Join Our Meetup Group

I also posted a Meetup event for the Friday Media Launch over on this Meetup Group. You are welcome to join, and there’s no membership fee. I post events, workshops, etc. there from time to time (both local to the NY/NJ area as well as virtual events).

Photography Workshop Tour w/ Matthew Jordan Smith Comes to New York 5/24, Plus Many Other Cities

A few weeks ago I posted information about the Next Level Photography Workshop Tour w/ Matthew Jordan Smith on two of the Meetup Groups I run (links to the groups can be found at the end of this article).

I wanted to send a quick note out here on as well because I think this would be an ideal workshop for many of our readers. Matthew Jordan Smith is one of the most accomplished portrait photographers in the world, and he will be sharing many of his lighting and posing “secrets” during his talks, which include about 30 cities worldwide, including Philadelphia on 5/23/17 and New York City on 5/24/17. There will also be an opportunity to photograph models at the event. I should also note that a digital course will also be available for those who are interested in the content but who can’t attend a live event.

I’ve copied a few of the attendee testimonials below from social media to give you a feeling for what people are saying about the tour:


The workshop organizers have created a special $25 discount code for photo groups and sites like ours, which can be entered on the checkout page. The code is PhotoGroup25. The fee for the full-day event is US$219 before the $25 discount, for an adjusted total of $194 (that pricing may be slightly different in countries other than the USA).

For more information, including the full schedule and list of cities, VISIT THIS PAGE.

Please note: Andrew Darlow and receive no direct compensation for sharing this event. We were offered a media pass to attend the event, and we may have a table at the New York City event where we can share information about ImagingBuffet, our Meetup Groups, etc. 

I hope to see you at the New York City event on 5/24!   -Andrew


Matthew Jordan Smith’s Main Website

Andrew Darlow’s three Meetup Groups are listed below (all are free to join, and even though most Meetups are held in the NY/NJ metro-area, some events are online and in other locations.

The Art of Photography and Photoshop Meetup Group
The NY/NJ Photoshoot Club Meetup Group
The NJ Shore Shooters Meetup Group




Artwork as Far as the Eye Can See! Artexpo, Solo and Photo Solo Shows at Pier 94, New York City, 4/21-24, 2017

If you like looking at art (and/or if you are a collector looking for something to add to your walls or collection), I think you will love Artexpo and the two other shows being hosted under the same roof from 4/21-24, 2017 at Pier 94 in New York City. The other two shows I just mentioned are named [solo] and [photo solo], and what I like most about the “solo” shows is that most of the people who exhibit there are independent artists showing new work, or work that has yet to be exhibited publicly. Many of the artists who exhibit in the Artexpo show are also independent artists, but many exhibitors are galleries who represent a number of different artists. I also noticed that a photo lab (Bay Photo Lab), will be exhibiting in Booth F331. Based on previous show floor layouts, you may not really notice when you move from one show to another.

Here is an overview from the Artexpo website that describes the Artexpo portion of the show:

Each year thousands of art industry insiders flock to Artexpo New York in search of the art and artists that will shape trends in galleries worldwide. Hosting more than 25,000 avid art enthusiasts annually, we’re the largest international gathering of qualified trade buyers—including gallery owners and managers, art dealers, interior designers, architects, corporate art buyers and art & framing retailers.


Just be sure to wear comfortable shoes, because the event is HUGE!

For more information and to register, visit the Artexpo website HERE.

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