WPPI 2008 Recap

I'm fresh from WPPI 2008, or at least as fresh as one can be after a 3-4 day stay in Las Vegas...I don't know about any of you, but everything I brought (including my hair!) now smells like moldy cigarettes, EEYOOO!

Because of high winds across CA and NV, our flight was delayed an hour. While we waited in the airpoirt, Matt relayed his opinion about what we were about to encounter at WPPI:

The first thing Matt did when we rolled into our hotel room: bust out the laptop and set up internet service.That's how we Children of Technology roll.

This year's WPPI was great, I met a lot of friendly faces and hung out with the coolest people!Here's just a few:
Brooke & Paul from Seattle
Jason Meyer
Jim Kennedy
Jasmine Star
Serena Choi
Xuong, Margie, & Connor of Happy Photos

It was so much nicer than for me this time around, because last year I didn't know ANYBODY! This year I feel like I ran into everyone under the sun; I even bumped into Chris and the Welcome Reception mixer, who was a college classmate of mine and is now getting into portrait photography. RANDOM!

Monday was a heck of a day. We sat in on Mike Colón's Nikon salespitch seminar about shooting 100% natural light w/out flash, and how it's possible now with low/non-noise cameras such as the Nikon D3 ;-) I'm not a big fan of "flashing people," (hee!) so the idea of entire weddings without any kind of flash is so exciting!

There's a big ol' awesome stained glass dome in the Paris hotel that no one can resist photographing.

We met up with some people for lunch right before the trade show opened:

Lunching w/ fellow SoCal photographer Jen Harris

L-R: Jeff & Dana of Sipper Photography, Lilia & Raymond of Lilia Photography, Matt & myself, Kristen Wild, Jeret Slack, Jen Harris, and Melissa McClure.

WPPI Trade Show 2008!!My humblest apologies for how shaky the video is; obviously I will not be winning SteadiCam Operator of the Year anytime soon.  But it at least gives you an idea of how big and busy the trade show usually is. I noticed that there seemed to be double the number of professional photos labs represented there this year.

Me with a Nikon D3 at the Nikon booth. Mmm. Noiseless.

By the way, you all may be interested to know that Nikon boss-man "Ed" confirmed to me that Nikon is releasing a 45mm tilt-shift lens this summer!! It's going to cost obscene amounts of money though, I think he said something like $1400 if I remember correctly. Bummer. I consoled myself with a LensBaby instead...I probably could have resisted their trade show special prices, but Matt talked me into one.  Maybe I shouldn't take him to the trade show next time, he's a bad influence!!

Taken in and around the Bellagio and Caesar's Palace with mah new toy, the LensBaby 3G!

We also saw a Yervant seminar which was enjoyable, and then we went to a seminar to get some action from my HERO!

I, like soooo many others, absolutely love Kevin Kubota. He's an entertaining, concise, and coherent speaker and just full of useful information. He usually speaks about Photoshop actions and post-processing workflow, but he has an awesome photojournalistic shooting style, too. The particular seminar he was teamed up with lightning-fast posing guru Doug Gordon, and they're awfully funny together. I tried to catch some of the funny moments, but most of the time I couldn't get my camera out fast enough; generally they like to get people on their feet, bouncing beach balls, yelling and clapping, and dancing. You have to get up on the stage and dance with Kevin if your phone goes off during any one of his seminars.

I wasn't able to get to my camera in time to catch some of the primo moments, but there is this: Kevin routinely gives away sweet prizes (such as LensBabies, Photoshop actions, T-shirts, etc) throughout his seminars, most often to people who will get up and shake their booty with him! At one point so many people crowded onstage to dance that he tried to thin the herd by picking someone whose birthday is closest to his. Of course, someone in the back of the room began shouting that today was their birthday, and Kevin calls them a chicken for not coming up and dancing, lol!

Taking notes during seminars

OMG what a long day! I don't know how all those St. Paddy's Day revelers manage it.
Then again, they weren't schmoozing and at seminars and a trade show all day.

Me w/ Laina

On Tuesday we had breakfast with my buddy Laina, whom I know from college. She happened to be in Vegas at the same time to celebrate her birthday (another March baby!). Then we did a little more of the trade show, where I ran into Amy and David of Journey Photography, who were smart enough to volunteer as models for some of the photographers at the convention. That's definitely one way to get a high-end photographer's ear!

Me, Amy, David. Golly, they are TALL. Or maybe I'm just a lot shorter than I thought I was.

I love this shot that Justin took of Matt. Matt is hanging on my every word in this pic, like a good little minion =)

We met up with my friend Justin for a drink before heading off to the Zookbinder's party at the Tequila Bar in Bally's, which was pretty spiffy b/c in addition to free tacos, taquitos, and quesadillas, it was an open bar. OPEN. BAR. Hot stuff, Zookbinders! We spent about an hour shooting the breeze with Kathy and Mike from Brooks Photography in Las Cruces NM, and Denis Rule from Ottawa, who had a lot of insight into marketing!

Then it was off to see David Jay and Jeff Jochum talk about working smart (not hard!) before dragging ourselves back to our room! It was definitely a room service kinda night:

Wednesday was a lot more lax. I picked up my Lensbaby and some new Kubota actions and said hi to Kevin himself. I was actually a little nervous (you know how it is, when you're a huge fan and get to meet the person!) and probably fubbled something about how much I've learned about Photoshop just by using his actions, but at least I finally got to shake his hand!! Lol. My HERO!!

We also wandered into the FAO Schwartz toy store in Caesar's Palace to kill some time before our flight back home:

Rockin' with the Very Hungry Caterpillar.

I tried to play "Yo-Ho, Yo-Ho, A Pirate's Life For Me," which is about the only thing I can play on the piano, but that thing was just so enormous that it didn't work out so well. Tom Hanks makes it look so easy!

And that was that! I had a great time, but it was Spring Break there too, so I'm glad to be back among sane, sober people again!