Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Just found out I have two photos featured in the 2013 Pueblo County Emergency Preparedness calendar! It's circulated all around Pueblo county. Very excited!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Toy Run, 2012

Just got through another year of the Toy Run, put on by Pueblo Bikers United!  These photos consist of two parts of the event:  the parking lot where everyone gathered before setting out in the morning, and the unpacking and giving away of the toys at the Pueblo Christian Activity Center.  We had a lot of people come and hundreds of toys were given away.  The Pueblo County Sheriff was there as well, and he told the crowd how surprised he was with the event and the fact that bikers were putting this on for kids.  Hopefully they will be able to get more involved in years to come.

You can find out more about the toy bowl at PBU's website here.  Also, to see the article that the Pueblo Chieftain featured on the event, click here.  And as always, here's the slideshow of what I took below.

It was kind of interesting this year...as I took photos, I would periodically download them to the computer and display them on the projector, while the event was going on!  I thought that was kind of fun...

Friday, November 16, 2012

Home-Built PC

My dad and I are working on a new project:  build a video editing desktop from scratch.  We have looked for a decent (or, preferably, really great) computer that would take just about any task we could throw at it and have it just eat it.  I've looked for a couple years at the best value setup I could get, but nothing seemed to quite work.  Then we started looking at just building our own--researching the parts, buying it all, assembling it piece by piece and then putting the operating system on it.  While it costs to get the really good components, I searched and searched until I found a good setup with all the parts we need at a lower price than anyone else can offer.
Apparently, this is what the inside of our
processor (Intel Core i7) looks like.
Image from:

We've ordered all the parts now, and they have finally arrived at the house.  I personally think that was the hardest part, but I hear assembly can be a huge task of it's own.  I'm sticking to the PC building guide as much as I can to ensure that we will end up with a smooth, working, huge computing machine!  I can't wait to get working on it...

Also, just wanted to mention that the house is still coming along.  Right now we are in the stages of fixing it up before we move in full force.  It's always a process...

I have a photo job coming up as well during early December taking Christmas portraits.  This is one of my biggest income sources from a single job, so I am excited about it.  Last year I bought a portable photo studio setup and got the basics of selling people photographs laid out:  What size of prints they want, how many, if they want a digital copy, and (one of the hardest parts), figuring out how much to charge.  I don't want to make people unhappy and overcharge for my services, yet at the same time I do want to make some decent profit, at least enough to cover the costs of the equipment I purchase for the event (which, naturally, those costs were pretty high last year because I had to buy so much equipment.  This year ought to be a little less expensive).

I've shopped around some and found a backdrop that I thought looks good.  If I can find some Christmas-ey props, I think it will look great when I put it up with my photo studio.  And with my software, I'll be able to touch up more photos at once in less time!  I hope it goes well...

Looking forward to the next few days and weeks!

Monday, November 5, 2012

General Update

Well, I finally bought it--Adobe Creative Suite 6!  The software that I've been needing for over a year now is finally mine, with the help of many of the people from the 168 Project team I helped with this last year.  It was a bit of a process--first, ordering it from the store, then getting everything together to prove to Adobe that I qualified for the educational discount, then waiting for the serial number to get in, and then licensing the programs.  It's taken a while, but now I have the tools I need.

I've played around with the trial versions several times, so although many of the features are now unlocked, I am still pretty familiar with the way it works.  In addition, I've been using Adobe's Premiere Elements (8) for a while now, which is just a smaller version of the main program I have now.  But it's also much newer, more complicated, and there are a whole bunch of programs that came in the Creative Suite package, such as Photoshop, Premiere, After Effects, Illustrator, Encore, Audition, and many others.  All of these programs are individually complex and powerful and it is easy to get overwhelmed with all the features and functions.  I'm looking at a few ebooks that teach the programs, but they don't always cover all the details that you can just find on the internet and they are pretty expensive (just for the digital versions--in real paper and ink, they cost more).  I may end up just having to buy the books if I find myself getting lost or not knowing what to do on a regular basis and can't get the information I need for free just from tutorial videos and such.

Also, it looks like I and the family are moving!  I generally try to keep this blog real professional and business-related, but I figured this was big enough news to post.  That wouldn't usually mean a whole lot to impact my photography/filmmaking, except that our previous situation was a little tricky when working on large projects.  For the past several years, we've lived off-grid, so we've run our electricity from a variety of generators over the years.  That made it very difficult to keep going on one project steadily without any interruptions, as the generator would run out of gas, or nobody else would need to use it, or sometimes it flat-out broke down, which ended what I was doing right then.  Now I don't mean to whine or complain about this--I think living that way for a few years was good for me.  I learned to value electricity, and budget my time carefully.

But this new house will be on grid again, 24-hour electricity, almost all the time (it does cut out sometimes when there's a storm or something, but that's happening to everyone on the same line and is to be expected to happen at some point--it's way better than things were...).  Now I'll be able to set bulk amounts of footage to rendering overnight if I need to, or copy a whole hard drive's contents without worrying about it cutting out on me.  That's pretty good news for me!

Seems that the older I get, the more opportunities open up for me.  Looking forward to the coming months!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Josh and Emily Pregnancy Photos

These are some photos I took of Josh and Emily.  Their baby girl is getting pretty big now, so they wanted some photos while she was still pregnant.

Went out after work yesterday afternoon to the Pueblo Riverwalk (I love that place, plus Mrs. Emily thought it would look good, too).  It would have been nice to wait until we were a little closer to sunset, but we had been working that day and were ready to go home as soon as possible.

We only took a few minutes and walked around just a little, but I think we got some pretty good ones.  I used the flash in a lot of situations (even though I usually try to avoid flash--just a personal preference).  The lighting was pretty harsh, so I needed the extra light in the deep shadows.

I still wasn't quite happy with the photos when I got home.  They were okay, but not as good as I thought they could be.  So I ran them through Adobe Lightroom (I'm still just on a trial version, but I'm planning on purchasing it before my 30 days are up).  I went through them with Emily, choosing which ones were good and which ones didn't make the cut.  After that, I cleaned them up, cropped a few of them in, adjusted the levels and made some other edits.  I also added a vignette on a few of them.

Everything was done in that one Lightroom application, from import to...well, export, I suppose!  That made things pretty quick and painless.  The same evening, the photos were on Facebook and being admired by family members.  Pretty smooth workflow, I think!  Here's the slideshow...

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Homecoming Portraits Job

These are some photos I recently did at a Homecoming for a paying client.  Nice to do a professional job every now and then!  Took the photos at the Pueblo Riverwalk--great place for portraits, in my opinion!

General Update

The last week has been pretty big for me.  Although I don't have my motorcycle, things keep moving along.

First of all, I have finally enrolled with New York Institute of Photography!  The package was waiting for me by the time I got home from the trip, so now I have been studying a couple lessons.  So far, I think it's great! The lessons are pretty simple for now as it is designed for anyone from professionals to beginners, but it looks like it will pick up in complexity in another few lessons.

Also, I have started my new job at Barnes and Noble.  I think I am doing okay, but I am still just beginning and so am kind of clueless for now, but my boss says I'll learn things soon and get better and faster.  The first day was actually kind of fun--I had been afraid that my first day of work would be hard and I'd have to get to know everybody, but it was actually pretty enjoyable.

I'm also looking forward (now that I'm an NYIP student) to purchasing Adobe CS6 Production Premium with an educational discount.  Dianne Butts, who I worked with on the 168 Project in February, asked the team and she raised some money to help with the cost, as well.  Very excited for what lies ahead!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Trip Home

The last few days of the trip we spent getting home just about any way we could.  The day after we arrived back at the Pastor's house, Dad had another friend in Utah who was able to come pick us up from there.  With some difficulty, we got the bike loaded and hit the road.

He was able to take us all the way through Utah and into Colorado.  We stopped for lunch on the way and we met up with another HonorBound Member.  We talked about our situation, and when he learned that we hadn't been able to get my bike, he said he'd get it!  We told him he didn't have to, that it was a long way to Pueblo, but he insisted!  So, hopefully, I will have my bike after all in a couple weeks.

From there we went to my Uncle's house; he lives in Grand Junction, which was a perfect midpoint.  It was dark by the time we got there, so we all stayed there that night.  Dad's friend who took us there went back home the following morning (after we talked with him for a good while).  We stayed at that house all that day so Dad could figure out how to get home.  We ended up renting a U-Haul truck for a few days.  The next morning we got a ride from another friend Dad knows in Grand Junction (this guy he had known for years and years--he took us to lunch, and they spent some time catching up).  After that he dropped us off at the U-Haul rental place, and we left there in a big truck with an octopus on the side.

We had a hard time loading up the bike; it was a long way up to the back and the ramp wasn't as long as we would have liked, so it was very steep.  But once it was on, we got it secured and finally headed home.

We drove home all that day.  Since we already had the big truck, we stopped by to pick up some furniture we bought in Pueblo, too.  We drove home without any problems, and now I'm at Bikerchurch blogging.  So glad to be home!

Monday, October 1, 2012


Note:  this post is supposed to be after the first day, but for some reason it keeps going out of order.

When I woke up today, I was glad to see that the sky was completely clear. We had some breakfast at the motel, then packed everything up and got back on the road.

It was colder than Dad or I had expected. It wasn't really that windy, but the sun had only been out for a couple hours and things were still warning up. We took a little extra time to thaw when we stopped.

Were rode as far as the fuel tank would let us for the next few legs (and on a couple, we used most of the reserve tank, too).

As we got through Wyoming the wind kicked up a little. It had finally warmed up, and the riding was great. The mountains had pretty well disappeared, replaced by huge hills and cliffs that reminded me of New Mexico or Nevada.

We headed a little more toward the south and crossed into Utah. We had also crossed the Continental Divide and I noticed that we were headed downhill pretty quick.

We finally got to the town we were looking for, but then we were looking for the right house. After we found the house, we knocked on the door, called because no one was home, then, when Dad's friend came, he let us in, showed us or room, and gave us some time to relax after the day's ride. I was happy to unpack so soon after getting in.

It's been a big day of riding--500 miles, dad said.  We had hoped to do most of it yesterday, but, of course, after the rain and hail, we had to catch up today. Glad that we did it and that that part of the trip is completed!

Idaho...So Close!

Today we got up a little earlier than the day before. Dad was preaching at the church that morning, but church there didn't start until after 9, so we weren't rushed much.
When we got to the church (early, so Dad could make preparations for the sermon) Sunday School was about to start, as well as the morning youth group. I was invited, but I was hesitant to go. I've never really been comfortable with the youth group crowd, and as I get closer and closer to becoming a man, I feel less and less inclined to attend things catering to youth. I mean, I've worked at the "kids zone" my whole life! I'm used to entertaining kids rather than being the kid. But the pastor invited me too and Dad said I should go, do I did. It was alright, I may even have learned a thing or two.
The church service went well. Dad went up and did his thing; got people laughing, got people thinking. There were a lot of people that talked with him afterward. At the end, the congregation prayed for Dad and I.
After church the pastor took us out to lunch at a big buffet. Had a great time, eating and talking.
From the parking lot of that buffet Dad and I headed out for Jackson to get my bike. We had already packed everything into the bike in the morning, we were good to go and I was excited!
That leg was going good. I had been a little tired from the food, but it didn't last very long and soon I was just looking at the red mountains. We got into Idaho in a few minutes.  Things were going great...until I heard a big thunk and the motorcycle felt like it downshifted without the clutch! I also heard something fall off and go clinking down the road.
Dad pulled it over and we assessed the damage. The problem? A great big hole in the bottom of the motor. We still aren't sure exactly what happened, but the bike is definitely out of commission for a while!
Well, we called the pastor back (since he was not only close by but is almost the only person we really know in Utah) and he brought his trick with a trailer on the back. Couldn't help feeling I had been in this same basic situation before...
Now we're back at his house. Dad is trying to figure out a plan to get it tailored so we can get it and ourselves home. This is the closest I've gotten to my motorcycle!...but its just not going to happen this time.

Kids Festival

Today we took the morning easy. We didn't have to do any riding and we weren't really needed at the Fall Festival event until after 8am. When we did get on the bike to head over, we didn't even bring our chaps just because the ride was only a few blocks.
Usually at an event involving kids, bounce houses, candy and a show, I am busy taking photos for the ministry, setting things up or controlling the sound system. But today I found myself doing not much at all. Everyone already had their own jobs; this wasn't an event put on by us, we were just there to help. Kind of different for me.
Since I didn't have to do anything, I just had some fun.  There were hotdogs for everyone, and lots of them, so I was able to have a few throughout the day. Also, there were several programs including a juggler/magician that kept things going. The event was held in the parking lot of the church, which was a slot in a shopping center. Dad and I took some time to explore a little on the inside, and it turned out to be a lot larger on the inside than it looked.
The event went for about four hours. Dad closed it out with a short message to the kids and adults, also mentioning he would be preaching at the church the next morning.
We helped people close down a little at the end, then Dad got talking with the juggler, who as it turned out, Dad already knew.  After that, we went back to the house, had dinner with the pastor, and went to bed. It's been a pretty busy day, even if we weren't necessarily on the motorcycle. I can't wait to go get my bike tomorrow!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Just got done riding for the day, covered about 400 miles...now we are at a friend's house, hopefully going to take it easy the rest of the day.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Rough Start

I'm always a little nervous right before a big trip (even though this one isn't nearly as long as Run For The Wall). That's the way I felt this morning as we all got packed. However, as usual, things got better as soon as we were on the road.

It was a little cloudy when we started. The slightly overcast sky got worse as we headed up I-25 through Springs and Denver, and the traffic also got a lot heavier (as can be expected). I've been through Denver a few times in a car, but I noticed everything seems much larger and more intimidating on a motorcycle.

After we got past the big cities, it was very flat. Lots of prairie, but we could still just see the mountains in the distance. What we also saw were large, black clouds that had been steadily looking worse the further north we went. Pretty soon rain was coming down fairly heavy.  But we were in real trouble when it started to hail.  We pulled over and Dad got his rain gear on.  After we got back on the road it was only a couple more minutes and it cleared up. Things looked great for a good stretch. We passed through the Wyoming state line without incident, but it was not long after that when the hail started up again. We weren't sure how long it was going to go and we were getting worn out pretty fast, so Dad took an exit and we stopped at a Motel for the night.

We haven't gone as far as we hoped, but it was real rough today.  I was real glad to stop early. Hopefully tomorrow it will be a little more clear and we can go farther...

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Sturgis photos

By the way, here are some photos from Sturgis this year.  I forgot to put them online until now!

Motorcycle Trip Preparations (General Update)

Well, seems like the slow part of my life I mentioned a couple posts ago has ended. Things are moving along now, and fast!

In the last few weeks, I have graduated high school, taken (and passed, thankfully!) the ABATE Beginning Rider's Course, enrolled in New York Instute of Photography's Complete Course in Proffesional Photography and now am getting my motorcycle insured so that I can ride it back from Wyoming on a trip we're starting on next week. Also, I might possibly have a job at Barnes and Noble soon--but, of course, I won't know for sure until it's happened (if it does, hopefully).  I've been waiting a long time for a lot of this stuff to happen, and now it's happening all at once.

I'm very excited about the motorcycle trip coming up. I'll be riding up with dad on his bike, then I'll get mine and ride it down. It's going to be a big trip for my first ride, but Dad is going to be choosing the route and he'll be working with me.  Right now I'm just in the process of packing and getting ready for the trip.  We leave this Friday, so it won't be long now!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Race to the Rides video

Check out my latest video, Race to the Rides. It's a lot like the other video I did with Ryan, but this time we wanted to incorporate a bit of a story. I've had this video done for a while, just haven't had the chance to upload it until now. Enjoy!

Race to the Rides from Zachary Hubbell on Vimeo.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Website I Designed

I recently worked on a website for a friend of mine, Kevin Riley, a motorcycle missionary who has helped my dad out with various events and things.  He had a website, but never had the time or know-how to get it going as well as he wanted, so he asked me to help.

The website host he is with did most of the work for me--it was mostly just customizing templates, photoshopping some graphics and getting words together (along with embedding a few widgets).  I think it turned out pretty well--you can check it out at:


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Pueblo Zoo Photos

Here are some pictures I took at the Pueblo Zoo...this was with some kids from Biker Church and from another church.  We had fun looking at the animals all day and I had a great time taking pictures at the Pueblo Zoo!  I always find some great images at the zoo!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Family Reunion/Matchless Mountain Hike Pictures

Finally, got these photos edited and am finally uploading them.  I couldn't do much of anything with them for a while because we had Sturgis immediately after this, so I didn't have any time.  However, now that I am back home, I have finally finished up with them and so am uploading them in this slideshow...most of it is from the hike and there aren't actually a whole lot of pictures of family, in fact...

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Sturgis Bike Week: Final days

Sturgis Bike Week has been a lot of fun this year.  Sometimes I can kind of tell when it's a little down--not necessarily that we have less help or anything, it's just that some years seem better than others.  This year, in my opinion (even though we were missing some key people like my brother and Mom), was a great year.  Dad even said this year was "pivotal."  I don't know how much it changed exactly, but it has helped us to stretch our ministry in ways we haven't before.  Some people had to take on new roles to compensate for the lack of people, and everyone had to take on a little more responsibility than in previous years.

That said, I did enjoy this year a whole bunch.  I've had a lot of fun and a lot of work and a lot of memories to take back home with me.

But first, to catch everyone up.  Yesterday morning started out a little more difficult than usual as we had to set a lot more up than usual.  After the rain from the night before, we had to take down more than usual to keep everything from getting wet.  As a result, we all had to get up a little extra early to get the Kidz Zone open in time.  Dad had addressed us the night before, saying that we really needed to finish strong, even if a lot of the equipment had been put away already.  So we lugged it out again (only to be put away the last time in a few hours).  But I think it was good.  We had a pretty busy day, even though clouds threatened to turn nasty a few times.

We had something of a makeshift show at the end.  Dad didn't have much of a script, but it turned out working well without much of a script.  A lot of it was thanking people for all their help--we'd thank a group, then bring out a puppet or character for the kids to say goodbye to.  Dad even mentioned me.  He was going to have me wave at the audience through the puppet windows, but I suggested just throwing a thumbs up to the kids without showing anything else to kind of keep the mystery of the sound man who controls everything but is not seen except behind the closed curtains...I thought it was kind of cool!  We also gave away the Mp3 Player that the kids had been competing for all week.

It was getting chilly by the time we finished and the rain looked again like it might come down on us, so we started tearing down the whole setup as soon as we could.  The next hour or two were very busy--lots of work, whether folding and rolling up bounce houses or hauling bins or stacking supplies into a tightly-crammed trailer.  We were all very glad when it was over.  We had still managed to avoid the rain, so none of the equipment was put away wet.

After all that we went to Pizza Ranch in Rapid City to celebrate.  We know the manager there--he had been coming to help out since he was around twelve, so we thought it would be a good place to go (and, oh yeah, he gave out a few free buffet tickets)...

We had a great time, but when we finished it was time to say goodbye to a lot of friends.  We were still staying in Sturgis while the others stayed in Rapid City for the night.

The next morning we got up and packed all our stuff up from the church and got it put away.  We also cleaned up a little--vacuumed a little and stuff.  After that, Dad preached at the same church we were staying at (which made things a little more convenient).  We had lunch at Taco John's, then walked around in downtown Sturgis one last time.  When we were done with that we took the RV to the church in Rapid City, where we are staying tonight.  We had a look at some of T-shirts on sale at some of the stores, but they were all still too expensive, so most of us just went without a shirt this year.

We grabbed some pizza before going back to the church, which is where I am now, blogging away...

We plan on getting up pretty early tomorrow, then heading back home.  Ought to be sleeping in my own bed tomorrow night.  Pretty strange thought.

It's been a great year.  I hope next year will go great like it has this time around!

Hopefully I will be going to get my motorcycle sometime around the end of this month...I'll give more  details on that as I get them!  Thanks for staying with the blog for Sturgis Bike Week, 2012!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Sturgis Bike Week: Days 5 & 6

It's been real busy the last couple days.  I wasn't able to blog last night, so I'll have to try and remember what happened again today.

Yesterday was pretty busy.  We had kids come in pretty close to the time we opened and had kids most of the whole day.  Part of the way through, I started shooting interviews of the workers for a promotional video I'm wanting to put together (hopefully it will help us to get some more volunteers next year).  Getting people to interview, however, is harder than it seems.  There are a few people that aren't comfortable in front of a camera or just don't have any time.  But usually they will agree.

When I interview someone, I try to make it like a conversation.  I ask questions and let the person being interviewed answer in his or her own words.  I can edit everything afterwards, which makes things a lot more flexible.  One of the biggest challenges I was faced with was finding an area that I could record in without too much background noise.  I had come to underestimate how loud Sturgis really is--motorcycles, airplanes, lawnmowers (since we are in the city park) bounce houses, kids, and wind, just to name a few of the problems.  But with enough searching, I found some relatively quiet locations to film in.

Of course, I couldn't actually start filming without any batteries in my audio recorder.  It had run out of charge and, of course, I had left all the backup batteries at home.  I asked around, and eventually Tim Greeley bought me some the next day, which postponed my filming longer than I wanted, but that's what I get for forgetting batteries at home!  Thanks, Mr. and Mrs. Greeley!

With that finished, I started interviewing people.  I got three interviews done on the first day and they seemed to go pretty well--even if they took most of my day to get them.  It is pretty difficult to move around with a whole camera + audio recording setup in one hand...

It was a fairly busy day that day, but things went well.  The kids show, too, went well, and I was able to make it through sound man duties pretty much trouble-free.

After the show, I went with a few others to Rapid City because we were headed for an indoor water park that night!  I had a great time going down water slides and playing with friends (even if it left me a little sore the next day).

It was cloudy the next morning, and stayed that way for most of the day.  Business was slower than usual, but I used that to my advantage to get a couple interviews in.  Also, I helped Steve-O with his video blog on filming Dad.  We had done it the day before, but it somehow must have gotten deleted, so we had to re-shoot.  This morning, no one could keep a straight face, and as Steve-O needs it all in one continuous take, it took a very long time to get everyone sober and everything just right.

After Dad he interviewed me and my sister together.  It's different on the other side of the camera--having to think of what to say, saying it right and doing so quickly...it puts a different kind of pressure on you.  Rather than filming it all, you're the one being filmed, and you're the one making content for people to watch.
I thought I did okay, even though it took a couple takes (not nearly as long as Dad's interview went).

Rain clouds started to gather toward the afternoon.  The wind picked up too strong, so we had to take down the bounce houses.  As it picked up and started raining, we also began to put away the tents and electronics, along with anything that might blow away.

By the time the kids show was about to start, no one wanted to be outside.  So, instead, we went mostly off-script and just had the show indoors!  It went better than I would have thought and the kids had a great time.  We still had a game and Dad was able to preach to the kids.  The show almost seemed normal except for the closed space and lack of any microphones or music.

With most of the closing down done, we just prayed after the show and pretty much were done.  Afterward, we had an Honor Bound Motorcycle Ministry meeting that last for almost an hour.  It was nice to talk to adults and, as a member, almost talk as though I were one.  I took notes for the most part, however, even though I did say something or bring up a topic now and then.

Then everyone left for supper, so now I'm back at the pavilion on security.  The rain picked up a little while ago pretty hard and I had to start moving stuff away from the edges to keep it from getting wet.  A father and his son came in looking for shelter from the rain and I was able to give them a Bible lesson and let them color a motorcycle coloring page while they waited for it to subside a little.  I talked with the parent for a while, and he said he would try and come back tomorrow after I told him what we normally do here.  It felt kind of good to know I might have helped someone come to our ministry...

Anyway, that's pretty much all that's happened so far.  Just waiting for everyone to come back, then it's off to the Sturgis Church so I can go to bed in their basement with everyone else!  It's a little scary to think that Sturgis is nearly over; but I will enjoy it as long as I can!

By the way, don't forget to check out Steve-O's blogwhichever video you see, I was probably holding the camera!  (Unless, of course, you find the one in which I am interviewed...)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Going somewhwere tonight, not sure yet if it's Rushmore or a waterpark...very excited! Thanks to Steve-O!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Sturgis Bike Week: Day 4

Today started off slower than any of the other days yet.  The sky was clear, the bounce houses were up, the Kidz Zone was open--but no kids.  Not for the first couple hours, at least.  When kids did come, I actually felt like we weren't quite as short staffed as we are, just because it was going pretty slow.  I'm hoping it's just because this is the middle of the week...

But I was glad for a slow day.  I think all of us felt a little drained this morning--I was ready to go back to bed for a good part of the morning!  But I knew I had a job to do, so I went about my business.

We completed the show meeting early since we had the time.  Today was "Race Day," where we bring out a Hotwheels race track and buy some toy cars and race them.  This has been a particularly well accepted game in years past and we kind of look forward to it.  We also had a professional motorcycle racer called Rich Vreeland come and talk to the kids a couple years ago on this day.  Both of those contribute to our having made it a sort of annual event.

We had fun racing cars (and judging by the kids' cheers of excitement, I'd say they did, too).  The kids show went pretty well, and I was able to play music on my queues correctly!  After the show, we had another water fight.  I keep staying out of it to take pictures and videos of it, but I do want to participate at least once.  I just can't pass up the chance to splatter kids in the face with water balloons and have them wanting more!
While on security tonight (everyone else was gone doing laundry...can't say I was sad to miss that) I saw a few guys pull up near our RV on their bikes.  They looked like normal people, but I was pretty cautious.  After calling, Dad told me to just keep an eye on them.  Eventually, Chaplain D-No came by and went over to a bench to watch them closer.  Soon everyone came back, and then the others cleared away.
Well, it's been a few days and I'm starting to feel tired--the tired that lasts longer than morning or evening and kind of just stays in the back of your head.  But I am still having a great time, and I know it's only a week!  That's a good thing and a bad thing sometimes...

Sturgis Bike Week: Day 3

As the days go by, the general pattern of Sturgis begins to set in--getting up, setting up and working wherever we are needed all day.  It's not really a bad thing...it helps to get used to things.  However, it seems like once things settle in and we all know what to do, that's when the time goes by the fastest.

Today was slower than yesterday.  It started out cloudy and as the morning progressed it even rained just a little (but not enough to have to take down the bounce houses, thankfully).  While it was cloudy, we had almost no kids.  But an hour later, when the clouds cleared away a little, people started to come in more steadily.

I was busy most of the morning and could not help monitor the bounce houses until almost lunchtime.  First, I was setting the sound equipment up.  That was the last big thing on my list of what I had to set up.  Then Dad brought in a brand new printer (which he found for around $30--which I thought was a great deal for the kind of printer we got).  I spent much of the morning creating forms and printing them out.  One of them was to keep track of the kids' points.  Kids can get points by doing various activities here at the Kidz Zone, from bringing other people or doing Bible lessons to just attending a kids show.  Those points are then counted up for each kid and they go toward the grand prize of an Mp3 Player that we are giving away at the end of the week to the kid who has worked up more points than anyone else.

Sometime in the later morning Steve-O asked me to come with him so he could show me something he had done with our advertising signs over by the road.  When we got there, I saw he had hung up the "Kidz Zone" sign right below the city park sign.  We took turns taking pictures of it and of the road filled with motorcycles with both of our cameras, which I found to be pretty fun.  He also showed me his tripod that turns into a monopod on the way, which I thought was pretty cool.

After lunch, it was only a short time before I was called over to help prepare for the show(These days go by so fast!).  We haven't really had much of a schedule made at any point, but Dad is pretty good at choosing a theme and then adapting the materials and skits to fit that theme.  We have classics from years past and this year also have a new act or two that we use.  Even though we are using essentially the same equipment every year, Dad is always coming up with new ways to make the programs original and interesting.

However, as we don't have a set routine or anything I usually have to prepare music and sounds on the fly.  Each character or puppet has a different song that come out to and sometimes leave to, so I have to prepare those and queue them.  I used to bring out my laptop for that, but now I have a tablet of sorts (actually a Nook Tablet that I tweaked so it runs on android like a normal tablet), so I just bring that out and create a playlist on it, which helps keep things organized and queued when I need them ready.  As long as I have a few minutes it is usually no problem to get things ready by showtime.

I was going to record a whole show on my camcorder, but I figured out today why it quit working in the middle of yesterday's recording:  the battery ran out.  And, as I only just figured that out minutes before the show started, I couldn't record anything today--just take pictures.  I was, however, able to hook up an audio recorder directly into the system, so anything that was said into any microphones was recorded right into my device!  I was also able to hook up some earbuds and hear exactly what was being said.  I thought that was a pretty nifty trick!

I always have a hard time telling exactly when to play music or have a character come in.  Sometimes Dad tells me beforehand just to interrupt him at some point, but when the time comes I can't tell if he is still saying something that the kids need to hear or if he's stalling and waiting for me to play the music...this can be pretty disruptive to the show if I get it wrong (which I have been known to do on occasion).  Yesterday was, I'll admit, a little patchy, but today I feel I did better.  There was one point where the situation I described above about Dad stalling and waiting for me to start the music happened.  However, he remedied the situation by banging on the stage a couple times, which absolutely confirmed my suspicions that he was waiting for me.  Aside from that part, I did do better than yesterday.  Of course, in years past, just when I think I have it down pretty well, the week is up.  I'll just do the best I can while I'm here.

Everything wound down pretty much as expected.  After the show we had a brief water fight (pretty much the helpers get to squirt the kids with water or throw water balloons at them).  I helped Steve-O with his video message to his church again by holding the camera for him.  We closed down pretty quickly and before I knew it a lot of the team was leaving.  Those of us who stayed talked together for quite a while (guess that's what happens when you get Dad together with friends he doesn't see often from all round the country).  After that, we went to Pizza Hut and everyone got to eat at the buffet and pig out after a hard day of work.

Now I'm back here again in the pavilion watching the supplies.  Dad said I'll probably end up watching this stuff for a lot of the week before going to bed each night.  That gives good amount of time to blog and look at my pictures in the evenings as I am doing now.
Hopefully tomorrow I'll be able to record a whole kidz show like I've been trying to for a couple days now.  There's always been just one or two problems, but I think I'll have them all solved by showtime tomorrow.
Well, I'm excited for the week ahead.  It may be a lot of work, but I know that in the end it's always worth it!

By the way, if you'd like to see today from another's point of view, here's Steve-O's blog post!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Sturgis Bike Week: Day 2

I meant to post this last night, but I couldn't connect to the wifi the night before, so I was backed up one day.  Here's last nights:

Today seemed like the second really big, really busy day of Sturgis as a whole.  Of course, having set up yesterday made that the first really hard day of Sturgis.  But today, we had to finish setup and open for the first time of the week, which made things a little more difficult than normal.

We had to get up on time this morning for sure so we could get up and running as soon as possible.  That was pretty hard after the night before (staying up pretty late watching everything for security--oh, not to mention getting locked out of the church for a few minutes, just when I thought the day was finally over).  However, we all made it to the park right around 8 and setup began.  There was more moving and lots of unpacking yet to do.  Some things we weren't able to finish up the day before, so actually opening was still a lot of work.

I was too busy setting up sound and watching bounce houses to take many pictures at first.  I still found a chance to get some pictures, but it took some juggling to get a replacement first.  This is where I really felt how being short staffed made things a little more difficult.
The kids show started a little after 2.  We had only one microphone, so we had to skip puppets, but we pulled it off and had a good show.

I'm always surprised how short the day was when it's over, and today was no exception.  Everyone left for dinner and I stayed behind with a couple others.  While we were waiting, chaplain D-no came by and talked with us for most of the afternoon.  Now I am blogging yet again while watching the equipment.  It's dark, but the pavilion has lights and electrical hookups, so I'm good.

Over all, having a great time here!  It never seems as fun at the time as the memories do, so I'm trying to savoir the time now while I'm here...I think it's more enjoyable.

By the way, I've been helping “Steve-O” with his video blog for a couple days now.  You can check it out over here if you want!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Sturgis Setup

It'a been pretty busy these last few days.  In less than just a week, we have packed, left for Sturgis, arrived at the church in Rapid City (one day of driving--that was a long day), created fliers for the Kidz Zone, spread those fliers all over Sturgis and the surrounding areas, and today we ended up on Sunday, so Dad preached a sermon at the church we had been staying at.  After church, we went and had lunch at Golden Corral, then headed out to the Sturgis City Park to set up all our equipment.  We have a few less helpers this year than normal, but we have been able to do most everything we normally do without much difficulty.

Now I'm sitting under the pavilion helping watch the equipment with Mr. Kevin Riley while everyone else is getting dinner.  Its the end of a long week and I am tired.  And Sturgis Bike Week is only just beginning!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Pueblo Riverwalk at Night

Note:  this post was intended for my blog over at Wordpress, but, unfortunately, after much research and trial and error, I have had to switch back to Blogger in order to accommodate slideshows and other features.  I'll be posting from this blog from now on (unless something else happens and I have to switch again, which I really hope doesn't have to happen again).

I had the chance to take some pictures at the Pueblo River Walk.  My mom took me and my sister to eat dinner at Angelo's Pizza and afterward I walked around.  As the evening set in I was glad to have brought my tripod, as I set up many shots that took many seconds of exposure.

Here's some of the best ones...I've been looking into getting a Flickr account for some time now and today I actually did, so I'm able to put up this slide show here...