Paul is the official photographer of the Albuquerque Balloon Festival. Paul has been shooting with the Canon 5D Mk. III lately because they are the sponsor of the festival and will basically let him shoot with anything, but he likes to shoot with an f2.8 16-35 and an f2.8 24-70. He will also shoot with a 28-300mm lens during the day, shooting at f8, which gives him the best sharpness across the entire frame. Paul says when it comes to shooting balloons, the biggest challenge is photo composition. There's so much to shoot and having to isolate elements that will tell a story can be quite challenging.
Paul also says that since most people shoot with their cell phone cameras, the key is also composition. If you have a brilliantly composed image that tells a story, and you take it with a smart phone, it can be a better picture than shooting with a $3,000 Canon. So think ahead of time about what story you want to take and then look for ones that will tell it.