We just finished the very first X-Treme Team Roping Finals. It comes to no surprise that Ben and Jodi Clements produced a professional event, they always do. I’m grateful they let me be their photographer, they could easily get anyone in the world to do it. They are excellent to work with. However, this blog post is about what we did at Olie’s Images. I wanna tell you about some new things I tried, some things that didn’t work out, and a couple close calls where we avoided a mishap.
I’m always looking to improve the way I do business. There’s gotta be a better way than my first idea and for the most part, that’s true. The first new thing is the booth layout. For years, at the Lone Star Arena, we utilized a platform that extended out over the bleachers. There was room for 3 tables in a “U” shape. The last time we set up shop at the Lone Star Arena the new owners told me that they are removing that structure and replacing it with something much better and it will be an announcer’s stand. So, it was no surprise when we arrived last week that something was going to be different. After discussing it with Ben, we decided to use the new structure as the print station and then place a row of tables in front of it. This layout, aside from where the print station was located, is pretty common otherwise. We typically lay out a row of tables to use as viewing stations. So, it worked well plus it was nice to have the print station separate to reduce confusion as many people think it is another place to view photos.
Lately, I’ve been trying out a new concept for Olie’s Images, a “self-serve” station. This is a 27” iMac with a 50” TV connected to it. This station is connected to www.oliesimages.com. It allows users to find their own photos and either write them down or place an order online. If they write the photo info down, we can transfer their notes into an order and take care of their order in the booth like normal. If they decide to place their order online, they will either log into or set up their account then finalize their order. Online orders will be shipped if it is a print of any kind or we will email the digital copies. This self-serve station seems to be a good option for those who either already have experience on my website or they are tech savvy enough to figure it out on their own. We will continue to have crew ready to help you like normal for those who aren’t or don’t want to bother with it. :) Also, if you have questions while you’re at the self-serve station, we will be glad to help. You aren’t totally on your own. LOL
Some of you like the behind the scenes stuff or the gear talks. This part is for you! I sometimes think that I’d like a clipboard holder to change how I write the photo numbers down. Last week I was looking at laptop trays that mount to a baby pin. The brands that make such a thing like Kupo and Tether Tools wanted $150-$200+ for such a thing. That’s way too much for such a simple thing. So, I found a laptop desk stand for less than $30 and a wall mounted baby pin receiver for about $40. Then I just used some construction adhesive that have laying around to glue them together. So, for less than half the price of the manufactured options, I was able to build my own. It worked perfectly, except I didn’t find anywhere that I could put it that would be more comfortable to write on and be out of the way of the moving parts. I tried mounting it in the space above my cooler where I normally write but to have it high enough so the lid could open made it uncomfortable to write on. I moved it to the other side but since I’m right handed, it was awkward to write on my left side. I tried to put the fan on it, but someone slammed a steer into the panel and knocked the fan off. The friction arm that I used to mount it was attached to the panel at that point. I kinda ended up not really liking it much. I’ll keep experimenting with it. Maybe, I’ll buy another laptop and get some work done between runs.
There are always some things that didn’t go as planned. For example, the laptops overheated. It has been several years since I shot an event where we had any trouble with equipment overheating. Typically, I schedule my events at indoor arenas and/or during seasons that are normally a nice temperature. However, this weekend was a little different. The Lone Star Arena isn’t climate controlled, though they did recently install several Big Ass Fans. It as over 100 degrees almost every day so it was plenty hot inside the arena too. The first day we quickly realized that overheating was going to be a problem. We turned the fans toward the computers and TV’s and that helped get us through the day. Soon after we finished on Thursday, we headed out to Staples and picked up a couple laptop fans to help cool the machines down. I don’t think we had a problem after that.
The chairs that we use are not the most study things in the world but people insist on leaning back in them and doing other strange things while viewing their photos. This leads to fatigue and eventually something has to give. Unfortunately, catastrophic failure happened this weekend. One of my chair collapsed when Brenna sat down on it. I’m glad she didn’t get hurt. We knew the useful life of this chair was coming to an end soon but we’ve gotta milk it to the end. LOL Bye chair, it was nice knowing ya.
We had a close call with the printers this weekend. I know from experience that the printers I have in the booth are prone to failure due to high humidity. I also know from experience that there can be an actual cloud inside the Lone Star Arena if you come inside early in the morning after it had rained all night. When we left the arena to get something for dinner on Saturday evening it was looking like it was going to be a nice night. By the time we made it to a restaurant it was starting to rain. Before we finished our meal though, it was seriously coming down. The parking lot out front was about 8” deep (ask me how I know LOL). Water was rushing everywhere, the streets were flooded and people were plowing though it in their cars and trucks. I immediately thought about my printers sitting there in the booth. Luckily, when we arrived the lights were still on and the manager was still doing some last minute tasks. I told him that I came to rescue my printers from the humidity, LOL. I was planning on loading them in my truck to take inside my trailer for the night, but he had a better idea. He opened up the office and let me put them in there with the air conditioners running. :) That saved the weekend. I just bought two new printers last month because the previous two failed do to high humidity in Rapid City.
That about sums up all the highlights from the 2019 X-Treme Team Roping Finals. At least from my viewpoint. Thanks for reading my blog!