Well, it’s back to the grind. Vegas was a blast as usual, and this was my first west coast Photoshop World, it was nice to finally put some faces to the online personalities and avatars that I have gotten to know over the years, I get usually get that opportunity with the east coast show, but as my work schedule prevented me from attending the east coast PSW in Orlando and hanging with my old friends, I figured why not head west and meet the rest of the NAPP members.
I spent lots of time running around between various classes, the expo floor and random side photo shoots, I actually spent very little time on the expo floor this year, I made a quick run through all the booths to check out the latest stuff, but for the most part I was off doing other stuff. I was fortunate to have the great Jack Reznicki give me a portfolio review and provide some much needed honest criticism of my work, there is going to be a lot of tweaking and experimenting over the next few months as I try some of his suggestions. I assisted on a couple of impromptu photo shoots, I watch friends model in other shoots. I hung out A LOT with the great Vanelli! And by hang out I mean I spent lots of time hanging with my new friend Krysten, V’s roommate for the week, as we tried our hardest to wrangle the big guy.
Tuesday was spent in the DSLR video precon with instructor Rich Harrington as he gave the class a good foundation in shooting video. For the class we shot a musician playing acoustically, we did a interview with him, and then shot a bunch of B roll outside of the hotel with him. Now we have a month to cut together either an interview segment or a music video. The winning video of both categories wins a copy of Adobe Premiere Pro.
I had one of my photos hanging in the APC booth, they are the canvas company that I use for all of my canvas printing, they really are the best. I am a little bummed I didn’t get to say hi to Lew the owner of APC, the couple of times I swung by rushing in or out of the expo he either wasn’t there or had like 6 other people talking to him. I did however get to spend a good deal of time talking to Melanie, both at the Tweet Up party Tuesday Night and on the show floor, Mel kicks ass, she bends over backwards for her customers, as do all the APC people!
Huge shout out goes to RC Connception! RC is by far my favorite of all the photoshop guys. I ran into him right away checking in to the hotel on Monday. When I mention that I was going to meet up with another NAPP member (Jim Stover) and go shoot sunset in Red Rock Canyon, RC says “Skip it, go to the Nelson ghost town, I’ve always wanted to go but have never found the time.” Well we took his advise and we had a blast. We pulled into Nelson to a we are closed sign. I know what you are thinking how can a ghost town be closed. Well its an old mining town from the 1800′s which a few people live at and take care of. It’s been used as the back drop for a bunch of movies and music videos. Well the woman that runs it opened up the shop for us, and let us roam around all we wanted, she was one of the nicest people I’ve met in a long time. It was also the first time I had ever had to sign a rattlesnake liability waiver, saying that if I got bit it was my own fault. We didn’t see any rattlers however there was a spotting only a couple of days before, we did see lots of jack rabbits, birds, even a coyote. Here is one of the images that I shot. I have tons more to go through, but this is a start.
My favorite class(s) of the week were the two classes that Jay Maisel taught about Light, Color and Gesture, and the class Zack Arias taught on stuff you need to know to be a photographer. I have been a fan of Zack’s work and his teachings for a couple of years now and while I may not shoot portraits per-say there is lots of knowledge that he imparts, I also got to spend a few minutes chatting with him in the hall between classes and he is one cool dude. What can I say about Jay Maisel, the man is a legend and my photographic hero, there is no one that inspires me more then him and he yet again set my creativity churning.
On of the most interesting classes I attended was Scott Kelby’s panel on blogging. I came away with some very useful advise to which I plan on putting into practice. The most profound being that blogging can burn you out very quickly, while it may seem like you need to do it everyday, don’t! Do it like three days a week, you will keep your sanity that way. Scott talked about how he started out doing it 5 days a week, it got to much so he started no blog Wednesday, which turned into guest blog Wednesday, it still became to much so now he is having boy wonder Brad Moore do more tech/news related type posts on Thursday. This frees up Scott to do other things during the week. Now I won’t even try to compare myself to Scott Kelby and the empire that he runs, but I can agree with him that it does take a lot of time and effort. I have been trying to pull it off 7 days a week, which is just insanity. Scott also mentioned that once you have established your blog to like 5 or 7 days a week it’s impossible to change it. Luckily my blog is still fairly young, I am going to be making some adjustments over the next week or two, tweaking the layout slightly, giving it a more updated clean look, and at the same time I plan on thinking about how I do posts and what I do them on. I plan on trying to do three more in depth posts per week rather then 5 or 7 light posts of just a photo and a couple of sentences.
I ended the week on Saturday by heading out with friends, Brian Arsenault and Jim Stover and his wife to the Hoover Dam and Valley of Fire. It was my first trip to the dam, and I got to see the new Tillman Memorial bypass bridge in person, it’s as amazing as the Hoover Dam itself, and it fits perfectly it’s like it’s been there as long as the dam. The trip into Valley of Fire was my second and it certainly wont be my last. The photo at the top of the post was one taken while out there in 112 degree heat! Stay tuned for more photos from my adventure to the desert playground that is Las Vegas.
EDIT: The Masse Effect!
I don’t know how I could forget to include it. I got to hang with Nancy Masse, the social media ninja of NAPP, other wise known as NAPP_News to a lot of you. We chilled, laughed, traded stories, and I attempted to teach her how to play blackjack! I don’t know if I was successful at my first attempt in teaching her, but I walked away from the table down $100 and she walked away down $3 so something worked. After we hung for a while with Alan Hess and Scott Diussa, both class acts and great concert photographers!