Balloon Fiesta goers embrace smartphones, tablets to capture memories

Posted at: 10/08/2013 3:50 PM
Updated at: 10/08/2013 7:31 PM
By: Elizabeth Reed,

Regina Valencia snapped this photo with her iPhone.
Regina Valencia snapped this photo with her iPhone.
Photo: Courtesy: Regina Valencia

ALBUQUERQUE -- Not long ago, Kodak was the official sponsor of the Balloon Fiesta, point-and-shoot film cameras were all the rage and the only social networking people knew involved breaking out the photo albums.

"I was probably 18 in college here at UNM when I went to my first Balloon Fiesta. I had an SLR," said Regina Valencia, a New Mexico native who's attended the festival several times over the past 30 years. "You set the settings you thought were correct and then you had to wait for those pictures to become developed to see what you actually got."

But at this year's Balloon Fiesta, Valencia came armed with her iPhone and an attachable smartphone lens. She loves to share her shots on the photography-based social network, Instagram.

"I have found that I've gotten followers from all over the world," she said.

Baby Boomers like Valencia are embracing smart devices and social media just as much as Millennials. At Balloon Fiesta, several people told KOB Eyewitness News 4 they were taking pictures with their iPads because they could see the picture better, it was easy to use and they wanted to be able to share the experience with their friends and family at home.

"I cannot imagine going back, it's so instantaneous," Valencia said. "The editing capabilities are amazing. It's an art now, really."

Tens of thousands of Balloon Fiesta pictures have been uploaded on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Valencia said she looks forward to watching her photos entertain others for years to come.

"You just hear people say, 'I could never imagine this, what it looks like in real life,' and now they're sharing it with their friends," she said.

Balloon Fiesta is also hosting daily contests to reward visitors who upload their photos on their social media pages. For more information, visit Balloon Fiesta's Facebook page.