Monday, October 16, 2017

70th Birthday

My 70th birthday celebration was just what I would hope it would be.  I picked op the cake in the morning - I had drive about 15 miles or more into central Albuquerque to find a bakery to bake a spice cake.

Relaxed the rest of the day until getting dressed for the celebration.  Plans were for food, drinks, and conversation at Billy's Long Bar in Albuquerque.

Cousin Don arrived early about the same time I did.  At 5:30 the guests started filtering in.  All totaled, 13 of my ham radio club friends and spouses settled into the Dart Room.  My friend and real estate agent Leland, also made the function. 

The food and service was great - thanks for the folks at Billy's.  The room was just the right size for our group of 16 people.  Thanks to my Albuquerque "family" for making my 70th birthday celebration a success.


Saturday, October 14, 2017

Getting Photos right

Today was my last shift at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.  Weather was a lot warmer this monring, still chilly in the tent.  There were originally 3 of us on the work schedule - ended up with 5.  Being a Saturday, we were pretty busy talking with folks about ham radio.

I seemed to finally got the right camera settings for shooting the Dawn Patrol.  To get enough light, I set the ISO all the way up to 6400.  Manual focus because there was not enough light for the automatic settings.  Had to run -3 stops compensation with the bright balloons and the black sky.  I could (or should) have set the compensation at -4 or -5,  Processing the image from RAW, I was able to get the light correct.

Very light winds this morning.  Many of the balloons seemed to just stay on the same place.  The first ones launched drifted off to the SE.  No box wind running today. 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Wednesday Shift - Balloon Fiesta

It was a COLD morning at Balloon Fiesta Park. Thermometer was hovering just above 40 degrees.  Had a big crew, mostly because 2 nets were being controlled from the High Desert display at Balloon Fiesta.  I checked into the SCAT (Senior Citizen and Travelers) net.  Was busy talking with folks about Ham Radio during Rusty's Raider's net, so skipped checking into that net.

I did a little more photography.  Still working on setting the camera to shoot the Dawn Patrol.  The shots are tricky because of the low light and the bright glows when the balloon gas jets are firing.

Three days at the Balloon Fiesta, I wore my Georgia Boot Company work boots.  While they were heavy when I first got them on, they were very comfortable for walking at the fiesta grounds.

Body was tired by the time I headed to the car, only finding the gate I entered in was closed.  Had to walk down to the next gate and back to the car.  Crashed into bed when I got home

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Frustrating Morning

Up almost all night, waiting to head to my shift at the Balloon Fiesta.  Left the house almost 30 minutes ealier so I was no rushed at breakfast.  Breakfast was again at IHOP on Unser in Rio Rancho.

It took forever waiting for my food to arrive.  To add insult to injury, it was cold.  My pancakes did not melt the butter! A couple in the booth next mine had the same complaint.  On top of that, the were some king of error in my bill - yesterday morning breakfast was supposed to be about 30 cents more than this morning, yet my tab came up to almost a dollar higher this morning!

Traffic this morning entering the park was a breeze - drove right in and parked next to the gate. Gates opened about 4:15 and went into our tent.  And there I waited.  There supposed to be 2 more people on the shift.  Eventually, they showed up about 6am, about the time we were supposed to open our exhibit.  Then, they spent over an hour getting the flex radio running.

I found at that the function chair told the 3 others to arrive at 6am - opening time, not leaving set-up to be done after we were already open!  I was so frustrated, I headed out to shoot photos of Dawn Patrol. (above)

The morning was awesome for photos.  The winds were bringing the balloons overhead, and many crossing in front of the just past full moon. (photo on the right)

Same is yesterday morning, once the balloons were in the air, the crowds started walking through our tent.  2-3 of us were kept fairly busy talking with folks. The other person was busy making contacts.  A friend of mine from the Albuquerque Mountain Bike Association stopped by to say "hi". 

By the time we were closing up for the morning, I was exhausted.  There were 2 of us (me and one other" from our club, the other two locals, but not members of HDARC.  I held in my comments until I had a chance to talk to the other member.Was still fuming when I got home.  Talked with the committee co-chair (a friend of mine) to vent.  Told him that I will wrote a note to the chairman later when I was rested and cooled off.

Made up a stiff drink, and fell asleep.  Next shift I will be working is Wednesday morning.

Balloon Fiesta - 2017 - Opening Day

Friday evening, I finished charging camera batteries and packing up mt camera bad in preparations for the first morning of Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.  Had breakfast at IHOP for fuel for the day.  (Service sucked - had to call into in the kitchen to get someone so I can pay my check).

I was at the entrance to Balloon Fiesta Park about 4am, - traffic was already backed up to get in and park.  But was able to get front row parking near the entrance.  Two other HDARC members arrived about the same time.  Two others of our crew for the day started our a little later and got stuck in heavy traffic.

We finished getting the special events station W5B set up.  Made a few digital contacts - including a couple with Japan ON 40 METERS!  Watch the Dawn Patrol lift off.

 Ed gave me a primer on current ham radio SSTV (slow-scan TV).  The two of us headed out to shoot photos of the balloons, sending them to the test via ham radio (ala "roving reporters").  I had lots of fun with this new version of SSTV - much more compact that the old days!

.After the mass accession of the balloons, we got busy in the Balloon Discovery Tent.  Folks where checking out what there was beyond the balloons.    Met a couple other haps attending the fiesta.  Lots of youngsters that were wondering what we were all about.

The crowns starter thinning out about 11am.  My speach is about to go out and getting a head ache.  As the morning sessions came to a close at 11am, I was tired and ready to head home.  It was all I could do to walk back to my car.

When I got home, I undressed and head into bed - was exhausted.