Second day at WPPI

After spending an awesome evening at Cut steakhouse in the MGM grand hotel with the Nikon crew… I could hardly sleep. I mean it isn’t every night you get to eat and talk to the early hours with Nikon’s top brass and their most impassioned/talented/knowledgeable reps. It was a full table, I sat next to Cliff Mautner (brilliant photographer, one of the show presenters, official Nikon spokesperson, and now officially one of my personal heros), Susan Stripling joined us, even the top man from Inside Media Networks; Scott Sheppard, was there. I was equally excited when Chenin Boutwell showed up to hang out for a bit, and of course I was even more fired up when I saw her awesome husband Doug show up… you know, the master mind behind Totally Rad. It was an awesome evening with equally amazing conversation. I laid in bed just thinking about all of the amazing-ness that I had just been surrounded with.

I awoke at a uncharacteristically early 6am the next morning ready to rock. After a quick breakfast and a bit of coffee we headed over to the show. I was being given the privilege of early admittance to the actual trade show and a preview of the awesome Nikon booth by the inspiring Mike Corrado. Nikon did an amazing job with their booth. In a room filled with the typical “LOOK AT ME!!!!” displays, over the top colors, massive banners and super loud speakers pumping out audio from their overly noisy presenters… Nikon kept it classy, sleek and intimate. From the low profile stage to the 102 inch LCD with yellow leather sitting blocks around the presentation area, they really made you feel welcome, comfortable and engaged. If you walked around the presentation area past some of the posted works of their pros to the other side, you were met with a relatively large display counter with a heavy staffing of some of the most knowledgeable techs I have ever met. There is seriously no question about photography you can ask these guys that they can’t answer… trust me I tried. The whole set up was a pretty amazing statement of quality over quantity (at least compared to some of the other booths. It was even more engaging than the “largest” camera booth at the show). I could have sat there all day.

When Mike needed to move on to his other responsibilities we were sent over to sit down and have chat with Tony Corbel. If you ever have the chance to spend some time with Tony… do it. The man is a legend and ultra inspirational. The great thing about Tony is that he never backs down from anything. There has been a lot of buzz going around in the photography community about the use of video these days. With innovations like the video feature in the D3s and the D300s, more and more “fusion” type videos are popping up. You would expect a veteran of the industry to probably ignore it with some disdain and continue to preach the power of the still image. Well that is not Tony… he is more excited about video than anyone I have met. He admittedly says he is not exactly sure how he will be implementing it… but he is ready for the challenge and is experimenting with the medium in a meaningful way. Looks like I might need to start doing the same… when Tony was done answering our questions he proceeded to the stage to give his presentation to the nice size crowd that had already gathered around to listen in on our questions.

After hanging out with Tony and checking out the show a bit we headed over grab some grub and take a little down time.  It didn’t last too long as I had to make it back to the Nikon booth to check out John Solano‘s crazy cool presentation. I am going to be honest here… I had never heard of John before this show. He is a LA based wedding photographer and he is simply incredible. Make sure you check out his stuff.

Then finally… a couple minutes to take a rest…

Then we were off to watch a presentation by Susan Stripling at the Nikon booth. When I was done absorbing her awesome-ness I quickly made my way to the lens counter to play with some of the lenses that I didn’t already have in my full bag. First up was the PC-E Micro Nikkor 45mm f/2.8 ED, and man o man was that a fun lens. I played with the rest of the PC-E line from Nikon while I was standing there but i was continually drawn back to that 45mm. It really is a magic lens.

When I had completed my questioning and released the finally let the Nikon counter Rep return to his regular duties, I headed over to the Cliff Mautner workshop. Cliff is a very effective teacher and has the ability to express a broad range of topics and concepts in a very short period of time. So needless to say, I left with a full brain and some really cool new flash techniques. (I even used one of them to make the nifty looking picture of the 24mm in the post below this one).

After Cliff’s class was over so were the day’s “official” activities. So I slowly made my way back to my room. I say slowly because I forgot to mention one of the major constant road blocks to me going anywhere through out the day… the 24mm. That thing sure was an attention getter. I was proudly toting it around on my new D700 and people could spot it from a mile away. I would get stopped about every hundred yards by someone who saw it and would ask to see it, would want to know how I got it or was interested in how I liked it. It really is a cool lens so I had no problem singing its praises to anyone I met.

Sooner or later I was able to make it back to my room, do a little work, and get cleaned up for dinner. It was a long day so I needed just a bit of quite time before heading back out. I am sure a lot of you know how into my family I am. So leaving them at home for a whole 4 days was quite a big step. It was already day two and I was getting messages from my beautiful wife telling me that my 3 year old; Xander was asking where I was. So I had a nice chat with my wife and told here about all of the amazing things I was getting to be a part of. After stomach turning kissy noises (my doing) over the phone and a big “I love you and miss you already” I hung up and focused back on answering a couple emails and flossing my teeth.

I made my way down to Fiamma to be met by all of the Nikon folks and the amazing John Solano. Another night of delicious food and great conversation ensued. I was really starting to form a pretty solid opinion of these “Nikon” people… but more on that later. We sat and talked late into the evening. After which I was pretty exhausted and headed to the room to watch Inglorious Bastards on pay per view. I would love to tell you I headed out to set the town a fire and rocked all of the WPPI parties… but I was honestly spent and with two blogs to write and a wake up call at 6 am… there was no way it was happening.

Here are a couple pictures from the days activities… All captured on the D700 and my assortment of beautiful Nikkor glass.

Old School and New School

Mike Corrado being awesome.

Tony Corbell… one of the most inspiring people I have met.

Straight up delicious-ness from the PC-E Micro Nikkor 45mm f/2.8 ED (sorry random old dude)

That dude walking away from me in the plaid shirt is Andrew Bryant of Andrew Bryant Photography… Nikon lover and all around good dude.

The man, the myth, the legend, the amazingly talented Cliff Mautner teaching us some off camera lighting goodness.