If you read part one and returning for part two then thanks! I ramble a bit but there is so much to tell. So…
Thursday was the busiest class day, I started with Joe McNally’s Big Light from Small Flashes (guest starring Russell Brown as the model). As I said previously, I’m new to photography but watching Joe is as entertaining as it is educational, a quality needed to keep the attention of a large audience and he does it effortlessly, and he is an amazing photographer. I have to say his assisitant Drew is also a brilliant photographer and a lot of his shots are scattered throughout the official Kelby/NAPP channels.
Next was the lovely Julianne Kost with The Creative Composite. Julianne also has an entertaining style of teaching which she does at just the right pace to keep up, plus she is an incredibly talented Photoshop expert (and evangelist) – she is another person you could sit in class with for a whole day and not get bored.
This lesson was followed by Scott Kelby’s Designing with Type class.
There is not much I can say about Scott that hasn’t already been said a thousand times before but I will repeat that this guy is amazingly friendly and patient, he’ll take time out for you and I’m sure it is appreciated by all those that attend his seminars and classes throughout the year. He still has the passion and I hope he never loses that. He’s one of us !
As with most classes it was hard to choose which ones to attend, to see Scott I missed Alan Hess teach Concert & Event Photography & Rod Harlan’s Tweeting with Authority. Yes, Tweeting ! NAPP added a social media track this year and both Facebook and Twitter were covered by both Rod (this guy oozes enthusiasm) and Terry White (unflustered and cool)!
I again hit the Expo floor as there was so much to see still and the Westcott shoot are had new models every day to photograph. Thanks and well done to those guys and gals who made that possible. I think Vanelli’s shot in the bath was the highlight.
Both myself and John Pugh grabbed a seat for the Live recording of Photoshop User TV. Despite a couple of monitor issues the show was entertaining as usual but having a live audience certainly gave it a nice edge. There were giveaways thanks to the excellent (and need to get their arse into the UK and set up here also) MPIX.
After the PSUTV I caught a bit of Mike Kubeisy’s Hollywood Movie Posters where he was using the infamous Mister Vanelli as his ‘model’. Vanelli is one of those guys that you get told lots about and when you eventually meet him you can’t help but want to be around him. I’ve heard of many people before whose reputation preceeds them and when you meet them they are bloody annoying, not the case with Vanelli, in fact quite the opposite, he is genuinely a nice bloke who loves being around people, I hear nothing but kind and generous things about him, he is certainly an asset to the whole PSW experience and I hope our paths cross again in the future. He greeted me with a beaming smile every time I saw him even if he didn’t really know me by name, he makes you feel like he does. I’m sure a ‘Vacation with Vanelli’ would be a Top 10 experience.
At about 6pm a few people headed towards the Stratosphere for a sunset shoot. This was another opportunity to meet some new faces, I’d especially like to say hi to Ed Flager and Maureen Armstrong.
We had a small problem with the management regarding tri-pods. Called ahead “yes you can” – turned up “no you can’t” – subsequently missed the sunset by a minute by waiting for the management decision…..who suck ! We spent about an hour up there then headed back to Mandalay and had a nice meal at the Burger Bar.
The day still wasn’t over though….next was Midnight Madness from 10pm – 12pm. I was lucky enough to have a ticket (thanks Nantz) and this part of PSW is a ‘must attend’ if you want a load of fun ‘and you won’t learn a thing about Photoshop’as it guarantees on the tin!
There was a Photoshop-Off which resulted in a tense table tennis game final against Felix Nelson which Tim (the winner) won and nabbed an iPad for his troubles. There was an entertaining Hangover spoof photo starring Terry White, a Match Game quiz round, free pizza & t-shirts and more fun than a box of frogs!
Thursday over ? Nope….still more. I was luckily enough to be invited to the annual NAPP trip to the In-n-Out Burger by RC. What a great guy he is, considering all the people he meets all the time he remembered meeting me & knew who I was from when I briefly introduced myself earlier in the week and took the time to ask me to join them.
I have to say, great burger and fries ! Also met Candice Cunningham and Brandon from www.brandonjfx.com - one awesome, funny and talented young man. Keep an eye on his blog, and if you feel like making a contribution to him getting a new camera I am sure he’ll appreciate it!
Back to hotel and time for bed.
Friday – the last day, it arrived so quick !
8.15 – everyone should start the day off with an hour of Russell Brown. NAPP really do hand pick THE best speakers/teachers/evangelists/experts for PSW. Russell is out there on his own, never a dull moment and a creative method of prize giving too. Advice – turn your phone off !! This was my only class for the morning, I did wander into a couple of others but I had managed to secure a couple of spots on the re-opening of the Neon Museum and Boneyard up near Fremont Street. I’m a big fan of old motel signs and this trip was one of the (many) highlights of this trip to Vegas. Myself, James Conway and John Pugh headed up there by taxi and got to spend about an hour on this tour of the yard, many photo opportunities and the guides were very informative, friendly and accommodating of the many photographers in attendance. It was hot but well worth it. I highly recommend a visit if you are ever in Vegas. Some of my photos here.
Back to the Mandalay in time to catch the end of Corey Barker’s Photoshop Design Effects and my last class of the week. Then it was soon time for the conference wrap up. The week had really gone so quick and now the end of PSW was nigh. Everyone packed the room and we got to see a montage of photos from Moose Peterson, a couple of tutorials and a wrap-up video of the week. One of the funnier moments was Scott putting up funny links behind Larry encouraging the audience to do random things to put him off, including a mexican wave and spontaneous flash photography. There were some prizes dished out and then it was all over. I had been tweeting @glowingphotos (Karalee) prior to PSW but we never met…..until I walked to my seat and trod on a young lady’s toe….a young lady who had blisters…..you’ve guessed who by now. What an introduction !
I said my thanks to Scott, RC, David Rogers (who is up for The Next Photoshop Evangelist – VOTE HERE) and Alan from Fireleaf Design, both David and Alan were a pleasure to meet and I hope to meet them both again.
Friday evening was my own, went to dinner with John Ogden at New York New York and then back to my room to pack for departure the following day. I also had a date with The Grand Canyon at 6am in the morning!
Saturday morning I was picked up at 5am for a trip to The Grand Canyon and a walk on the Skywalk. What an amazing experience that was – I highly recommend a visit. Warning – it’s bloody high up and NO cameras/phones allowed. We visited the West Rim, beautiful, stunning and breathtaking. Everyone should visit this natural beauty in their lifetime. Photos taken and back to Vegas by midday. Then a quick visit in stifling dry heat to the Las Vegas sign – it’s further down than you realise but has to be done. That was one hot hour of my life!
Met John Pugh for lunch at Serendipity at Caesars Palace and meandered slowly back to Mandalay Bay.
And so my trip was over. Airport > Toronto stopover > Home ….. weighed down with too much luggage and tons of great memories & experiences.
Thank yous, photos and shout outs and PSW swag competition to follow in a separate post.
Thanks for reading.
Viva PSW !!