Third day at WPPI

Waking again at a uncharacteristically early hour, I jumped out of bed filled with excitement and eagerness to attack the day’s activities. After another evening filled with amazing food, great conversation and lots of smiles. I was feeling pretty energized.

First up was the Marcus Bell presentation. If you aren’t familiar with Marcus… well… you need to be. To say he is amazing would be of a understatement. As with a lot of wedding shooters, he is experimenting with mixing video and photographic mediums into one solid format. During his presentation he showed a piece that he had made for a older couples wedding video. To put it simply, it was breath-taking. While that type of work is not quite my forte… seeing such a moving piece like that sure inspires you to give it a go. You can check out Marcus HERE.

Second, I headed down to the Nikon booth to catch a presentation by Cliff Mautner. I was really cool to see Cliff in action. He is a great presenter and had a lot of great things to say about how he uses his gear to complement his style… he almost makes it sound effortless. He has some amazing imagry that he has amassed over the years that you can check out HERE. I would highly recommend checking out one of his workshops too. I am not much of a “workshop lover” myself, but I would actually give some heavy thought into taking his given the chance.

Then it was off to Kevin Kubota’s “No Holds Barred Branding and Identity Workshop”. I was really excited for this one. Seeing as how I have just gone through a bit of a re-brand myself, I was interested to see if I did it right. The class was great. Kevin and his wife do their best to get everyone involved on one level or another. I do have a couple words of wisdom though; Silence your cell phone. For if you choose to not do so… you will be made to dance on stage with Kevin in rather questioning manner to the latest Lady Ga Ga tune. On second thought… don’t silence your cell phone. It was hilarious to watch people have to do this! Even with dance party USA commencing at the drop of a ring, it was a extraordinarily informative class that really got you thinking about what you are doing to make your business stand out.

With a bit of time before the next event we all set off to lunch at Emeril’s. I had an awesome Burger and a beer from some european country that I am completely unfamiliar with… That is okay cause it was served in a wine glass and it made good target practice for the 24mm. After our super entertaining waiter dropped off our check and attempted to sell some signature “Emeril’s dining wear”, we headed back to the show. 

After walking the show room floor, talking with some new found friends, trying the out the latest gadgetry, harassing the album makers with silly questions (can you make and bind a 1000 page album if I want one?) and checking out a few more pieces of Nikon glass. I headed over to the John Solano/Brian Marcus Lighting and Posing class. This was a really neat one for me since I RARELY pose my subjects. I generally (if anything at all) just place them in a situation and try, throw in a little emotional motivation and just let them have at it. It was great to learn some different points of view on the practice. I took away a couple things I am looking forward to trying. I have already talked plenty about Cliff, so you already know he is a cool guy. Brian Marcus is easily just as talented. You can check him out HERE. Brian is actually a third generation photographer… check out his site and blog, what a amazing family.

And with that the “official” day’s activities were over so I headed back to my room for a little rest before dinner.

And what a dinner it was. I headed down stairs to meet the Nikon crew at Shibuya, for you foodies out there; a four diamond Japanese style steakhouse. Needless to say it was AMAZING. These guys put Benihana to shame. It needs to be on your bucket list.

After dinner we headed out to old Vegas… Fremont street to be specific. It was a Privilege to be accompanied by two of Nikon’s top tech gurus. We cruised around for a hour or two just shooting everything that came into focus. Steve (tech guru) even brought along the D300s and shot a bunch of fun video. This was when the true power of the D700 became evident to me. The thing can straight-up see in the dark! It truly is an amazing camera.

The cab ride back to the hotel un-ceremoniously marked the end of my WPPI adventure with Nikon. At 11 am the next morning I was to get on my flight back to the OC. It was a bitter sweet ending to such and amazing experience. I made some amazing friends and learned a ton, but it was time to head home to my beautiful wife and my wonderful two boys.

It is 11pm on Wednesday the 16th as I finish writing this entry. My wife is snuggled up in bed with our two year old, snoozing lightly in the background. Here sitting in front of the blinding glow of my two 24in monitors, I am reminiscing about all of the events of last week. What a week. What a life changing event. I just hope I get a call to do this again next year… who knows, maybe Nikon will let me speak on the importance of writing irritatingly long blog entries in a effort to monopolize all of your readership’s time.  What do you think? Think they will let me?

Here are a couple fun shots from the last day. Everything was shot with the superb D700 and the “Game Changing” AF-S Nikkor 24mm F/1.4G ED.