The Great (Hybrid) American Road Trip – Photoshop World Vegas – Part 1


(This’ll be another phone photo heavy post but bear with me… I promise there’ll be more epic photos coming soon!)

We had arrived in Vegas and it was day one of Photoshop World! It was finally time for the show to start and we couldn’t have been more eager… Well, perhaps we could have been more eager if we’d had a full night’s sleep but we figured you don’t come to Vegas for the shuteye opportunities and, in any case, If Margaret Thatcher could run the country with only 4 hours sleep a night, then who were we to argue about surviving on little more than that to sit in on a few photography tutorials! As such, we dragged ourselves out of bed and headed for show registration.

We knew that PSW was a highly popular event, this year more than most, and knew to expect a fair amount of people milling around but we didn’t expect the queues, literally, around the corner to register. There were people as far as the eye (and camera) could see! To be honest though, it was actually a very pleasant wait. The registration staff were efficient, helpful and plentiful, meaning it only took us around 20 minutes to make it to the front of the line (See how American I am using ‘line’ instead of queue now!). It was good getting to chat to fellow creatives whilst waiting my turn at the desk as well though and I ended chatting to a North Texan guy called Ken, who’d recently retired and was now taking up photography as a hobby. Once I told him I was a wedding photographer, he was keen to pick my brains regards the business side of photography and how we deal with ‘difficult’ clients…. that was an enlightening conversation for him!

Shortly after, we were through registration and heading for the opening keynote speech and feeling like a couple of kids on Christmas Eve!

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We bumped in to Jordan, Scott’s Son, and his buddy Max again, along with Dave Clayton and Glyn Dewis. Watching the keynote video, which this year was a Saturday Night Live news update parody, with Scott and Matt Kloskowski taking up the role of anchors, there were a number of the instructors singled out for some light roasting, including Glyn, and it was fantastic to see his face up on the big screen. Turning to look at him, I could see he felt the same. Later on in the video, there was a call out of names with photos of some more of the instructors at this year’s show and, again, I was chuffed to see Dave Clayton’s big, grinning mug up on the screen (Love you Dave!) and hugely proud and envious of his achievements. I swear one day that shall be me….. but I digress!

After the keynote, which also included a very informative, and hilarious in places, presentation by Adobe’s Julieanne Kost, I made my way back out in to the lobby to consult the PSW app and look at which class I would be attending first. However, as I did so, I was accosted (yes, accosted, I tell you) by Lynn Miller, Scott’s Executive assistant, who thrust a PSW staff pass with my name on it in to my hand!

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To explain this a little further, this year there were to be a number of new events, including a series of ‘peer to peer roundtable discussions’ on a number of photographic topics, one of which was ‘Breaking in to Wedding Photography’. It was this topic that, some months before, I had been emailed by Lynn stating that Scott had offered up my name to lead the discussion and so would I be willing to do it. Scientists are yet to discover a measure of time so small as to calculate how long it took me to reply, graciously accepting Scott’s kind offer. And so it was that, whilst I had arrived at the conference knowing that I would be assisting with a very small part of the proceedings, I didn’t for a second imagine I would be seeing my name on a PSW emblazoned staff badge! I’m not ashamed to say that I was a little bit excited about this!

Having (just about) got over the shock of the badge, we made our way in to our chosen classes, including an awesome retouching tutorial from Glyn…

Glyn blog.jpg(Yes, that’s Glyn on stage while Dave, Dave Clayton, Jesus Ramirez and I try our best to put him off! We never stood a chance though… The guy is a class professional!)

…and a great introduction to low light photography with Alan Hess, both of which we got loads out of. The afternoon was more of the same top quality teaching from the likes of Joe McNally and Roberto Valenzuela.

As the day was drawing to a close, we quickly made our way up to see the smiliest man in photography, Levi Sim, in the Photofocus suite. We’d got chatting to Levi the night before at the instructor/attendee drink (I forgot to mention that bit in the last blog!!!) and after telling him what we do, he’d invited us up to be interviewed for the Photofocus podcast. As we arrived outside the suite, we bumped in to Robert Vanelli (who we’d got to know back in London last year, when Dave was asked to lead the Photofocus London photowalk, as part of the Societies convention) and Hollywood photographer to the stars, Mike Kubeisy. If you know anything about these two guys, you’ll know that they are absolutely the best of friends but that they love to wind each other up! So it was no surprise then, that we found them roasting each other quietly outside the suite, whilst various audio recordings were taking place inside!

As we walked in, we were met by an unsurprisingly smiling Levi and saw Scott Bourne and Richard Harrington chatting to a group of people I was later introduced to as Troy Plota and his team at Plotagraph Pro and got a first look at their software. If you’ve yet to hear of Plotagraph Pro software, then you need to check it out NOW! It’s an awesome piece of kit that can turn any single jpg in to a moving picture! You’ll be stunned, trust me.

So with the podcast recorded and our ‘farewells-for-now’ made, we headed out to decide what was next. Although, that wasn’t before Levi bequeathed to us a pair of orange wrist bands that would allow us entry in to the invite only Photofocus party the following night at the Pinball hall of Fame (more on that in the next blog!). You might imagine that we were a little stoked by that at this point… And you’d be right!

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With the day’s activities now over with, our attention turned firmly to the evening’s planned festivities…. The Photoshop World party at the hotel’s ‘Light’ nightclub! Having been gifted a set of tickets by a good friend (we are two very lucky boys with some very generous friends!) we threw on our glad rags and made our way down to the club.
IMG_8108 blog.jpg(ain’t no party like a Photoshop World party!)

The party was already in full swing by the time we got there and so we decided to just grab a drink and have a mooch around the floor when, out of nowhere, Moose Peterson rocks up to us to have a chat…. Yes, Moose Peterson came to speak to us! After the brief chat with us at the instructor’s dinner the previous night, he was (apparently) keen to find out more about us and what we do! Mind blowing!

After an awesome chat with him about his aviation and wildlife photography and filling him in on our activities back at home, we continued our wander around the club before, for the second time that day, bumping in to Mike Kubeisy. We then pretty much spent the rest of the night sat at a table with him, picking his brains about all the inside goings on in Hollywood! I’m sworn on pain of death not to tell though…. Sorry!

It’s probably also important to note (if only to save confusion later) that due to a clumsy episode with a potato based snack at the buffet table, Dave struck up a conversation with a lovely young lady from Colorado called Meredith, who then joined Dave, Kubeisy and I critically analysing some of the shapes being thrown on the dance floor! This culminated in Kubeisy ‘proposing’ to Meredith with her own orange wristband for the Photofocus party the following night.

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And so, as the nightclub lights came up and we were pointed towards the exit, we headed back to the hotel casino bar for another late night before, once again, collapsing in to bed at stupid o’clock!

Man, what a day!!!


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