GoPro Adventure – Aerial Photography WITHOUT A Drone

Ever wondered what would happen if you tied your GoPro camera to 23 helium balloons? A GoPro adventure and awesome aerial photography!

Before drones became popular and aerial photography and Instagram seemed to work hand in hand, I decided to experiment with my GoPro to take aerial photos of my farm in Ireland. The experiment went very, very wrong and you can read all about what was almost a total disaster right here.

Apparently tying your very expensive action camera to 23 helium balloons then letting your infant cousin play with the string is not the cleverest idea in the world…or so I thought as it flew out of my cousins hand and high up into the clear skies over Ireland!

What you might not know about this crazy story is that I was stopping at nothing to get that camera back! I contacted the local radio station, and used the power of social media to get the word out to everyone in the area to keep an eye on the skies for a crazy contraption consisting of 23 balloons, a styrofoam mount and a tiny little camera!

On Good Friday I had an email from a girl my sister went to school with, Debbie Deane, saying her husband had found my camera in one of their fields, over 20km from my house! I was speechless. My parents did not know what was going on as I jumped up and down mouthing silently and pointing at the computer. We simply COULD NOT believe someone had found it. I jumped in my car and drove down to collect it, with a smile on my face that was not going to be leaving anytime soon.

I had a great laugh with Debbie and her husband as they told me about how they had been checking up on a sunburnt cow when they spotted the balloon in the field and went to investigate. They then went home, put the memory card in their computer and looked through the photos to see if they could recognize the owner but had no luck. Later, Debbie’s brother arrived, and recognized me straight away. An Easter Miracle!

When I arrived home I couldn’t wait to look at the photos and I was not disappointed! There were over 900 photos of the Cork country side, as the camera took a photo every 2 seconds on its crazy GoPro adventure in the sky. Next thing I knew I had National Newspapers contacting me, saying they wanted to publish the story! You can read the Irish Examiner article HERE, and the Irish Independent article HERE.

My friends could not believe my good luck and one remarked, “You come home for 1 week and you make the papers!

Life really is one big adventure. Even for my camera!

Mapping the balloons journey from my house to Innishannon

  • Karen @ Folk Haven
    April 9, 2012 at 10:56 pm

    Oh my! How beyond cool is that! I am so very happy for you, and for the rest of us who won’t have to miss out because you’re without a camera! Those pictures are amazing. I love the shadows of the balloons on the roof of the house. Is that the curve of the surface of the earth in all of the photos, or just the way the horizon looks because of the angle, or the lens or some other factor? i bet that if you do this again it will be with a much more substantial tether! I wonder how many followers you will gain because of all of the publicity about your Easter miracle?

    • intrepidtraveller
      April 9, 2012 at 11:16 pm

      Hey Karen. It’s the lens I believe as the GoPro has a wide angle almost fish-eye lens. I know some other people that did something similar, tied a camera to a weather ballon, and it almost made it to space! In their pics you really can see the curve of the earth which is pretty darn cool!

      • ampc
        September 1, 2012 at 11:37 pm

        I just got a chance to check out your blog again for the first time in forever and LOVE that your camera came back to you with such fantastic shots!

        I’m thoroughly impressed that you were able to keep your head despite your horror of losing the camera to be so persist in getting the word out! Great job!!

        Also, the video montage is amazing :)

  • Travel Spirit
    April 9, 2012 at 11:04 pm

    Wow…unbelieveable! This could go viral! So cool!!

    • intrepidtraveller
      April 9, 2012 at 11:14 pm

      I know the whole story is so crazy I couldn’t have made it up if I tried! haha

  • John Phillips
    April 9, 2012 at 11:13 pm

    Incredible story. May i reblog it?

    • intrepidtraveller
      April 9, 2012 at 11:14 pm

      Of Course! :)

  • John Phillips
    April 9, 2012 at 11:23 pm

    Reblogged this on Is It Possible To See It All.

  • A Gripping Life
    April 9, 2012 at 11:35 pm

    That’s amazing!!!! I always wonder how far balloons go when you let them go, Now maybe we know? Haha?

    • intrepidtraveller
      April 9, 2012 at 11:52 pm

      haha yea in this case they went about 20km in a westerly direction! lol

  • The Feists Great Escape
    April 9, 2012 at 11:58 pm

    That is really awesome.

    • intrepidtraveller
      April 10, 2012 at 12:29 pm

      Thanks for your comment and joining in on the balloon adventure! :D

  • Travel Spirit
    April 10, 2012 at 12:18 am

    Reblogged this on Fabulous 50's and commented:
    This story is amazing…she tied her camera to balloons to get a view of the top of her parents’ house and land and it snapped off…but someone found it 20 kms away! Really neat photos!

  • Nae's Nest
    April 10, 2012 at 12:24 am

    Very clever, pics are wonderful.

    • intrepidtraveller
      April 10, 2012 at 12:31 am

      Thanks! What’s funny is I can’t even take full credit for the pics as technically ‘my camera’ took them, not me! haha :)

      • Nae's Nest
        April 10, 2012 at 12:33 am

        hahahaha, very funny

  • Carl D'Agostino
    April 10, 2012 at 12:24 am

    Once again truth is stranger than fiction.

    • intrepidtraveller
      April 10, 2012 at 12:30 am

      I know, the whole thing was unbelievable. Such an exciting Easter weekend! :)

  • Nae's Nest
    April 10, 2012 at 12:25 am

    Reblogged this on Nae's Nest and commented:
    I thought this pictures were pretty cool and wanted to share with you. From Journalist on the run, Janet

  • katesomethingdutch
    April 10, 2012 at 12:39 am

    Your story is both hilarious, random, and so full of LUCK and amazing photos. You are one lucky girl! Your photos are amazing, I love that they are accidental, and I love that you embrace this as another adventure. Seriously, that is the way to go about life- I myself have busted cameras, lost SD cards in bizarre ways, but I have never seen my camera leave me attached to balloons!
    Thanks for some humor and some awesomeness, cheers!

    • intrepidtraveller
      April 10, 2012 at 12:56 pm

      I know it’s just full of randomness! In fact when it first happened I didn’t know whether to laugh of cry as the whole saga was so incredibly ridiculous! :)

  • Jessie
    April 10, 2012 at 1:58 am

    What an awesome end to what could have been a tragic story! Althoug I must admit since it wasn’t my prized camera floating away (which clearly would have been tragic) it was really rather hilarious picturing it all happening. Glad it all turned out in the end and you got amazing photos to boot. I wonder if I could do something similar (minus the floating away part) with my husbands trail camera… and should I tell him before hand… hmmm… things to ponder!

    • intrepidtraveller
      April 10, 2012 at 1:13 pm

      Do it!! Just be sure to write your name and address on the camera first so people know where to return it if the rope snaps! haha

  • Elisa
    April 10, 2012 at 2:09 am

    Sherry re-blogged your post and I HAD to check it out! Amazing story. You’re blog is lots of fun!


    • intrepidtraveller
      April 10, 2012 at 12:57 pm

      haha thanks for stopping by and I’m glad you liked it…it’s caused such hype and excitement! :)

  • lyonsroarforgod
    April 10, 2012 at 2:12 am

    What an amazing story…so happy for you that it was found. You will have these wonderful pictures and adventure to share always…how awesome is that?! :)

    • intrepidtraveller
      April 10, 2012 at 12:58 pm

      Thanks,I’m so happy for me too haha. I’m hoping to get some of the photos printed and framed..will look good in my house at home! :D

  • photographybyjoylene
    April 10, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    Really cool and amazing! The pics are awesome and I’m glad you retrieved your camera! If you do this again, maybe you can put an address sticker or a note on the camera!

    • intrepidtraveller
      April 10, 2012 at 1:00 pm

      That’s what my friends and family said!! I should have made a video at the start of me saying “Hello! If you are watching this video it means I have lost my camera! Please return in to….” lol :)

  • Love 2 Type
    April 10, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    nice idea.. but I am scared to do this with my camera. In Philippines, it’s usually a finder’s keeper.. especially if it involves gadget that could be sold to the highest bidder and possibly feed hungry children. that or to buy drugs. nyahaha

    • intrepidtraveller
      April 10, 2012 at 1:43 pm

      haha well you could just make sure to use a strong leash/rope that won’t snap and you can control how high/far it goes! :D

  • theplaceswevebeen
    April 10, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    Such a great idea! Those are one-of-a-kind photos! I’m glad you were able to recover your camera.

    • intrepidtraveller
      April 10, 2012 at 1:44 pm

      I know I was so happy to get my camera back but EVEN MORE happy when I saw all the photos it had taken!!

  • summerfield84
    April 10, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    Wow ! These are really nice.

    • intrepidtraveller
      April 10, 2012 at 2:18 pm

      Thanks for stopping by! :D

  • festivalmonkey
    April 10, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    Great pictures, deadly story and a savage blog. Fair play Missus!

    • intrepidtraveller
      April 10, 2012 at 9:06 pm

      Wow, thanks for the positive feedback. I just checked out your website, what a great resource! I really need to get myself to some festivals in Ireland this summer! :)

      • festivalmonkey
        April 10, 2012 at 9:47 pm

        Give me a shout and I’ll try recommend something. Top of the Pops at the moment is a Turnip Tossing and Pig Racing Festival in August. Can’t wait! :-D

      • intrepidtraveller
        April 10, 2012 at 9:59 pm

        hahaha that sounds to good to miss! :)

      • festivalmonkey
        April 10, 2012 at 10:03 pm

        My thinking precisely!

      • intrepidtraveller
        April 10, 2012 at 10:36 pm

        Ahh been browsing your site for the last half hour…I think your my new hero!!!! Bog snorkeling? Pure awesome!

      • festivalmonkey
        April 10, 2012 at 11:17 pm

        Hero!? Rein it there Missus or I’ll want you to contribute comments every week :) You should try the Bog Snorkelling “Good clane fun!”.

  • petelamotte
    April 11, 2012 at 2:19 am

    Wow! What amazing luck to have your little gopro returned to you! And the pictures are amazing! Thanks for stopping by my blog and “liking” my gopro kite post!

    • intrepidtraveller
      April 11, 2012 at 1:15 pm

      Thanks for stopping by! I love checking out what other people are up to with their cameras to give me ideas for the future! The kite’s a great addition! :)

  • craftcrazygran
    April 11, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    This is absolutely fantastic! I love this story – from start to finish! The joy of Easter miracles! I love your blog too!

    • intrepidtraveller
      April 11, 2012 at 1:16 pm

      Thanks for you lovely comment, and I’m glad you like my blog! I see you’re from SA…this makes me very jealous! Such a beautiful country you live in! x

      • craftcrazygran
        April 11, 2012 at 1:29 pm

        Hi from South Africa! Yes I know how lucky I am, thank you! I’m also lucky enough to have lived and travelled widely here. It is gorgeous,and I encourage everyone to visit! x

      • intrepidtraveller
        April 11, 2012 at 1:31 pm

        I lived there for a year when I was 18, up North in Limpopo Province! Can’t wait to come back and visit some day soon! x

      • craftcrazygran
        April 11, 2012 at 1:36 pm

        It has grown and changed and you will not recognise it! It’s very First World in the cities, but still Third World in rural areas. But we are getting there slowly…

      • intrepidtraveller
        April 11, 2012 at 1:42 pm

        I can imagine. I’m keen to see what has become of all my students, who have probably all grown up at this stage and moved to Joburg or Cape Town! :) I look forward to following your blog btw, im a big fan of arts and crafts! :D

  • imurwritehand
    April 11, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    Oh my goodness. I’d freak out if I lost my GoPro Hero. I feel your angst. So glad you recovered it and WOW – great pictures. I mount mine on the windshield of my Harley Davidson. Every so often I’ll hit a nasty pothole or rough patch of road and I watch it shake from suction cup mount, but so far (knock knock on the wood of my desk), I still have it. YAY for you and YAY for the lovely photos. Here’s a video I did with my GoPro this past Saturday. Nearly 4 hours of video cut down to 9 1/2 minutes. (Now that was a chore since I’m a novice at video creations.) Cheers to you and have a great day.

    • intrepidtraveller
      April 11, 2012 at 4:00 pm

      I was pretty devastated at having lost it to the sky, and equally ecstatic and the thought of somebody having found it again! I have not attached it to the car yet, but have had some fun with it on my bicycle! Deffo up for being more adventurous this summer! Gonna check the video out now…sounds like a painful amount of editing!!

  • labeauvie
    April 11, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    These are really fantastic photos! :)
    I love it! :)

    • intrepidtraveller
      April 11, 2012 at 4:02 pm

      Thanks! :) x

  • The Blissful Adventurer
    April 11, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    These are brilliant shots and I love the fisheye perspective shot from a round dirigible :-) I am so glad your Tweeted me…happy to find your work!

    • intrepidtraveller
      April 11, 2012 at 4:03 pm

      hee hee cheers, glad you got to read about my Easter adventure while back home! :)

      • The Blissful Adventurer
        April 11, 2012 at 4:10 pm

        it looks so rad! I want to get back to Ireland very soon…there seems to be some part of my spirit I left there :-)

  • IƱigo
    April 11, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    Amazing! I love the pictures. It was like riding on an airplane!

    • intrepidtraveller
      April 11, 2012 at 5:14 pm

      I know, it was weird to look back on the images and think about the adventure my camera had..without me there!! haha

  • moment2smile
    April 11, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    That is fantastic!

    • intrepidtraveller
      April 11, 2012 at 7:13 pm

      Thanks! :) I’ll pass the complement on to my camera haha

  • Russell Smith
    April 11, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    Brilliant post! What breathtaking photographs and the video was perfect! You are a superstar!

    • intrepidtraveller
      April 11, 2012 at 7:13 pm

      Haha home it was an exciting Easter that’s for sure! :D

  • roybarnesphoto
    April 11, 2012 at 11:48 pm

    Crazy lady – you might as well have dangled 300euros from some balloons! But I love the idea and wondering about having a go myself – however, I have an old Nikon 6mp camera so if it flies off into sunset the loss won’t be missed!
    You’re going to get a lot of publicity from this – hope you can capitalise!
    Have a great day!

    • intrepidtraveller
      April 14, 2012 at 11:28 am

      I know, my friends all think I’m a little mad. But feck it..I got it back so all’s well that ends well!

  • roybarnesphoto
    April 11, 2012 at 11:50 pm

    Reblogged this on Roybarnesphoto's Blog and commented:
    Have a look at this article – crazy lady attaches camera from helium balloons to get some ariel pics – all great until the string broke!

  • My Tropical Home
    April 14, 2012 at 11:10 am

    This was amazing! Truly an Easter miracle. Great photos and glad to know you got your camera back!

    • intrepidtraveller
      April 14, 2012 at 11:29 am

      Thanks for your positive comment…I love the photos it took so much, can’t wait to get some of them printed off and framed!

  • davidstrachan611
    April 15, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    You know that biblical message about ‘Cast your bread upon the waters and it will return to you after many days’ !

    • intrepidtraveller
      April 18, 2012 at 5:36 pm

      haha if only it applied to everything in life David! :)

  • lrntn
    April 18, 2012 at 2:49 am

    I’m behind in everything and haven’t been here in a while. This is hilarious…but I should know by now to expect the unexpected here!

    • intrepidtraveller
      April 18, 2012 at 5:37 pm

      Better late than never!! Such a crazy adventure my little camera had! ;)

  • juliemunsch
    April 20, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    That’s a fantastic story, how serendipitous.

    • intrepidtraveller
      May 12, 2012 at 12:06 pm

      Thanks, I’m glad you could share the adventure! :)

  • Edna
    May 3, 2012 at 9:47 am

    These are GORGEOUS photos. Glad everything worked out for you in the end :)

    • intrepidtraveller
      May 12, 2012 at 12:07 pm

      Thanks Edna! I’m so happy everything worked out too, would have been a very sad blogger if I had no camera! :(

  • rutheh
    May 12, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    Your photographs are wonderful and enchanting. What an experience and adventure
    Thanks for the like today.

    • intrepidtraveller
      August 14, 2012 at 10:52 pm

      Aww thank you, really like your blog too!

  • The Blazing Trail
    May 12, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    The aerial shots are so captivating

    • intrepidtraveller
      August 14, 2012 at 10:52 pm

      Thanks, they are something to keep and show my grand kids alright haha :)

  • Six Degrees of Separation- Do you know this guy? « Journalist on the run
    June 26, 2012 at 10:48 am

    […] devastating. TRUST ME, I’ve been there and I felt like a little part of me had died.(You can read about my camera/ballon adventure HERE!) That is until some kind stranger found it, tracked me down and gave it back to me. And it felt like […]

  • Weekly Photo Challenge: Carefree | Journalist on the run
    August 18, 2013 at 9:06 am

    […] Admittedly I’m sure my camera was feeling a lot more CAREFREE than I was! (To read more about the camera adventure, click HERE.) […]

  • Peter Kortvel
    June 10, 2016 at 4:22 pm


  • AdventurerDeb
    September 27, 2016 at 6:05 pm

    That is super fantastic! Might be the most fun, crazy, AWESOME story I have read in forever!!! Love it! And sooo glad for the happy ending.

  • Jazzy
    September 28, 2016 at 9:17 am

    ahhahah… That is such a crazy story! What made it even more crazy was you finding it again! Classic! and the birds eye view video was the cherry on the cake lol!