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Hot-air balloon festivals are a visual treat for many. Not only do they provide a stunning perspective for their passengers, but their playful shapes, colors, and themes make these floating vessels excellent subject matter for photographers, both on the ground and in the sky. Here is a look at some of the 2015 balloonist gatherings around the globe. -- By Leanne Burden Seidel

A hot-air balloon flies over fields on the outskirts of Minsk on July 18, during the Second International Aeronautics Championship. About 70 pilots from Belarus, Ukraine, Russia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Moldova and New Zealand take part in the championship. (Sergei Gapon/AFP/Getty Images)