Goldie Locks Vanelli
WOW! Where to start. It was a whirl wind week for sure, lots of long hours with little sleep but it was all worth it. I have to say out of the 5 PSW’s that I have attended this was by far the most fun. I landed on Monday afternoon and met fellow NAPP member MIchelle Hedstrom for a couple of beers in the hotel bar while we waited for NAPP member Will Beem to arrive for dinner. Well in true PSw fashion as soon as Michelle and I stepped outside to meet Will, out of another car popped Will King another friend and NAPP member with a car full of people, so dinner for 3 turned into an expensive dinner for 7 at Capital Grille!
Tuesday was precon day, however this time I chose not to attend a precon instead my good friend Abby and her sister in law landed for the conference and we spent the day at Seaworld. We were all touristy, went to the Shamu show, a really corny but fun Sea Lion show and I even got Abby to ride the Kraken roller coaster with me! Every time Abby screamed I let out the loudest laugh ever it was a good time!
After a long day at Seaworld with Abs and Corinne it was time to buckle down and get to workBy that I mean I spent 15 minutes chatting with my buddy RC Conception in the lobby and finally running into my roomies for the week, the incredible Erik Valind and the badass Krysten Marlette the other 2/3 of team awesome!! These two are what truly made it an all around great PSW and we will be doing it again together in Vegas in 5 short months! In fact the planning has already begun!! With that it was off to a get a quick shower then meet other NAPP members for the traditional forum dinner. It was much smaller then usual only about 7 of us, unlike the almost 30 in Vegas and to be honest the food wasn’t that great but as always good conversations. From there we headed out to the the pool for the tweetup party started by NAPP social media Ninja Nancy Masse! Erik and Krysten were already out there as Erik sets up a great lighting station to take tethered pictures of the party goers that are uploaded pretty much instantly to flickr. Artistic Photo Canvas, the great people behind all my canvas prints were also there giving out stuff and offering people great discounts on canvas prints of the pictures taken at the party.
Here is where we also unveiled the start of our week long prank on Vanelli. Those who may not know of him, lets just say the V is the person to know at Photoshop World, he knows everyone and everyone knows him. He is a true legend and I am proud to be able to call him a friend. (as long as he doesn’t call me at 3am!) So to have a little good natured fun I designed a Wanted Poster of Vanelli with the help of a photo Erik had taken at the Vegas tweetup and I put them on T-shirts and magnets. Loads of laughs were had by everyone that knew V.
The Vanelli wanted poster prank was a hit with everyone! – Photo taken by Rob Knight (I think)
Well by the time we packed up all the lighting gear and got it upstairs it was past 1am and while most people would go to bed to get some rest before the start of the conference about 8 of us went across the street to Denny’s for something to eat and had a photo industry bitch session that lasted till almost 3am and by the time we got to bed at almost 4am there were only a few hours till the start of the conference!
Your awesome live bloggers! – Me and Krysten just before the start of the keynote
Needless to say the next morning came fast for Krysten and I as we were live blogging the Keynote event from the stage and had to be there by 8am for a 9am start. It went off without a hitch and we killed it and when you get Krysten, Nancy and I together typing away at a furious pace you cant help but have a little fun with it. Thank you to the 300+ people that put up with us for 90 minutes! After what seemed a head spinning 2 hours of morning classes the exhibit hall opened. I have to say over all the show floor was a little disappointing, it was really small compared to past years and there wasn’t really much of interest, not a lot of new products or head turning booths. The highlight of the week was the Westcott shoot out booths at the back of the floor. Amber at FJ Westcott again put together three great days of shoots, models and sets for the attendees to photograph models using Westcott’s new TD6 spiderlites.
Once the days activities were over it was time to get a bite to eat and then head to the Photoshop World After Hours Party, there the internationally renowned Big Electric Cat took the stage. Well its really Scott Kelby, his wife and friends up there jamming for all the attendees. The party was rocking people were having a blast and team awesome was in full effect hanging out with some of the models from earlier in the day! This helped immensely over the next two days as every time time one of us jumped into the booth with model Hope, she would immediately play to us, follow our lead and help us get the shot. Each of the shoot out booths seemed to always be packed with 20 or so photographers and getting a model to stay looking in a particular direction long enough to get the shot proved difficult, but with the connection we established with Hope by hanging out with her outside of the show floor we got much greater success.
Day 2 of the show started literally with a bang! Orlando was in the middle of a thunder and lightning monsoon. Huge winds, tornado warnings and constant down pours made for an interesting day. I got a late wet start to the first class as I tried to wait for the rain to let up a little but it was a lost cause and I sat in on Moose Peterson’s Aviation Photography class. He talked about some great concepts to a type of photography that has always fascinated me. I met up with Abby for a class on Copyright taught by Jack Reznicki and then we went to what turned out to be a really beginners class on Indesign but I still picked up a few tips that will help streamline some work flow. The exhibit hall opened again and you guessed it Krysten and I were at the Westcott booths shooting away. We had another reason though, the other 1/3 of Team Awesome, Erik Valind is a Westcott sponsored pro and we were there for moral support as he gave his first on mic talked to the show floor public and we also served as his VAL’s (voice activated lightstands) helping him adjust the sets as needed.
The afternoons classes on Day 2 got blown off. But with good reason. I introduced Krysten to my friend Will King who is an amazing model photographer and as soon as she saw his portfolio she wanted to put together a shoot right there on the spot. Small world because Will wanted to photograph her as soon as he saw her walking with me earlier in the day. See Krysten has a lot of tattoo work, actually she has less tattooed areas then she does tattooed ones and with that we all threw together a killer concept shoot in the hotel pool during the still ongoing monsoon rains. We even convinced the makeup artists that were busy with the Westcott models to take a little time out to do up Krysten in some great air brushing that made it look like loads of running mascara, perfect for a shoot in the rain. I served as the VAL while Will worked the camera and Krysten froze to death in the pool in the rain, but after all was said and done it was worth it, there were some killer images made that day! Nothing like some spontaneous collaboration between fellow creatives!
After some warming up it was time for yet another “small” bite to eat with my buddy Alan, his wife Nicolle, David and Jason at a rather unique restaurant. More laughs and stories, Alan and Nicolle are both originally from Mass but now live in the Tampa area so it was great trading stories with them. With dinner over it was time to head back to the hotel to hit up midnight madness. Myself, Alan, David and Jason were helping Vanelli set up the pre Midnight Madness activities. V serves as the unofficial “Security” for the event. Really that means he is the groups activity coordinator and game master helping us all have fun with Oreo’s hula hoops and prizes! Midnight Madness (really 10-midnight) is an event where you are guaranteed to learn nothing about Photoshop. But you are gonna have laughs as the instructors make fun of one another and us, by having games for some pretty cool prizes.
Hope dressed in a killer jester costume Day 3 of the Westcott Shootout booths
After another late night, team awesome was feeling a bit run down and none of us made it to our 1st classes. But we all got ready in time for the final mornings exhibit hall where we once again were at the Westcott shootout booths supporting Erik and shooting Hope, who for the final day was made up as a evil looking jester. After the hall closed for the final time, it was time to just relax and soak up a little Florida sun, which was a rare sight that week. We mustered up the strength to make it to the closing ceremonies. It’s a great look back in the form of photos, video and some brief speeches/slideshows from the instructors like inspirational first timers, Jeremy Cowart and sports photographer Dave Black, who literally was in tears and had the audience in tears as well. Team Awesome was well represented on the highlight reels! We were hard to miss and after a long week we had one last meal together before saying goodbye to Krysten who only lived about an hour way and Erik and I crashed hard.
That may of been the end of the conference but it wasnt the end of the fun. Saturday morning a bunch of us got up and had some breakfast together organized by V and after breakfast we headed out to photograph around a section of Orlando called Old Town and the Mopar show that was going on there that day. After a few hours of shooting it was back to the hotel to sit poolside enjoying a warm Saturday afternoon with a couple of other NAPP members while waiting for our flights home. So ends another Photoshop World and I can’t imagine how Team Awesome will be able to top it in Vegas but somehow we will find a way! Thanks to Nancy Masse, Scott Kelby and all the other NAPP members for putting on one of the best conferences out there. TIll next time, Stay Classy Orlando.
Here are some other behind the scenes photos click on the thumbnails to check them out.