Fotolia contributor Mihai Barbu, aka bizoo_n’s stunning series of hot air balloons soaring above vast expanses of rugged mountains in the dawn light is a truly mesmerizing sight. An ethereal calmness and sense of majestic peace is encapsulated in the photos leading us to wonder about where they were taken, as well as the circumstances in which they were shot. Here Mihai describes the story behind that stunning series:

“We were out on a summer road trip, my family and me, and our sidecar motorcycle, for one month. Our main destination was Georgia, in the Caucasus mountains range. On our way back to Romania, our home country, we crossed Turkey from east to west, and that’s how we got to Cappadocia, in the Central Anatolian province of Turkey. I must say, personally, I wasn’t very excited about it. One can see Cappadocia and its flying hot-air balloons in every all-inclusive brochure from tourism agencies, and I thought it would be too much of a touristic destination. But I thought that since we’re there, we might as well just give it a try.

We reached our destination and pitched our tent in a camp site a few kilometers away from Goreme, the heart of Cappadocia. Before going to bed the first night I told my girlfriend that I would wake up early the next day, to go and shoot a wallpaper with our bikes backed by flying balloons. I woke up at 4 am. The balloons start flying before sunrise, so I had to be there early.

I will never forget the moment I saw the first balloon lifting up. It was an empty, twisted road, with just a glimpse of light in the sky, when I saw a hot air flying balloon for the first time in my life. It was, I must admit, one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. I slowed down, to make sure I captured this with my eyes with as many details as possible. I was more than excited. I got to the place where the balloons were prepared for flight and started running back and forth, trying to get the perfect shot with my bike surrounded by balloons. They took off and I started chasing them all over the Cappadocian hills, desperately. I was blown away. The whole thing was over in about an hour and I headed back to my family with one thing on my mind. I got to them and said: “I don’t care how expensive it may be, tomorrow we’re flying with a hot air balloon”. And we did. And it was more than I ever expected. It’s an experience that cannot be described in words.”

A big thank you to Mihai for sharing this magical experience with us. Discover more of his work on Fotolia.