Hop in for one last ride in the basket as summer turns to fall. These pictures show the variety of shapes, colors, and patterns that can take flight with a little hot air. (Full story: http://on.natgeo.com/1LodzAN)
  1. Multi-colored
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    Hot air balloons take flight as part of a festival near Albuquerque, New Mexico. Every October, the area hosts the annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, where over 550 balloons participate. (Photograph by Ralph Lee Hopkins, National Geographic Creative)
  2. Spy Balloon
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    This image, taken in 1918, shows a French pilot looking down on enemy operations from his hot air balloon. These airships were first used as instruments of war during the U.S. Civil War. (Photograph by International Film Service, National Geographic)
  3. Backdrop
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    A man carrying a baby is silhouetted against a partially inflated hot air balloon in Snowmass, Colorado. (Photograph by Robbie George, National Geographic Creative)
  4. Ballooning for Science
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    A team of researchers use a hot air balloon as a platform to study air pollution over St. Louis, Missouri in 1976. (Photograph by Otis Imboden, National Geographic)
  5. On Guard
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    Three balloons drift past the Colossi of Memnon in Egypt's Valley of the Kings. The statue is one of a pair depicting Amenhotep III seated on his throne. They guard his mortuary temple near Luxor. (Photograph by Karen Kasmauski, National Geographic Creative)
  6. Mirrored
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    A spectator's sunglasses reflect the rainbow hues of a hot air balloon, which matches the person's beanie. (Photograph by Bruce Dale, National Geographic Creative)
  7. Ballooning for Bats
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    Scientists in Texas peer into the dusk from a hot air balloon in search of bats. (Photograph by Jay Dickman, National Geographic Creative)
  8. Threading the Needle
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    A brightly-colored balloon slips between two towers of ice floating in Nunavut, Canada's Arctic Bay. (Photograph by Michelle Valberg, National Geographic Your Shot)
  9. Green Lantern
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    A green balloon hangs in the air above a field of sand near Luxor, Egypt. The airship looks like an avocado-colored light bulb or lantern. (Photograph by Kenneth Garrett, National Geographic Creative)
  10. Shapes
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    Whimsically-shaped hot air balloons ready for flight during the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. Some of the newer shapes include a giant Darth Vader, Angry Birds characters, and animals like pigs and penguins. (Photograph by Ralph Lee Hopkins, National Geographic Creative)
  11. Camel Fair
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    A hot air balloon floats over the chaos of the Pushkar camel fair in Rajasthan, India. (Photograph by Jonathan Kingston, National Geographic Creative)
  12. Summer Festival
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    Smokey Bear readies for flight at the White Sands invitational Balloon Festival in New Mexico in 2012. (Photograph by Derek von Briesen, National Geographic Creative)
  13. Temple Flight
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    A balloon ferrying passengers drifts past Hatshepsut's mortuary temple in Deir el Bahri, Egypt. Hatshepsut was one of Egypt's most significant female rulers, guiding the country through 20 years of prosperity and peace. Photograph by Kenneth Garrett, National Geographic Creative)
  14. End of the Line
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    The side of a hot air balloon dwarfs the crewman attempting to help deflate the craft at the end of a flight over Fiji. (Photograph by Jason Edwards, National Geographic Creative)