(Ok, I promise this will be the last phone photo exclusive post…. Night photos from the desert coming next time!)
After another epically long nights sleep (I joke, of course), we were back up making our way through the casino (to get anywhere in Vegas, you have to go through a casino… I’m serious!) towards the convention centre. We had another full day of classes lined up but my mind was fully engaged on two things:
- Dave Clayton’s very first presentation at PSW
- My round table discussion forum
Unfortunately though, the time of my discussion had been changed at the last minute and so it now coincided with Dave’s presentation. I was gutted that I was going to miss but resolved to be there for the start at the very least.
So having got the morning’s classes done and having so much amazing information now spilling around in my head (there really is no substitute for live learning with such awesome trainers), I made my way to the instructor’s room to look for Dave Clayton to see how he was doing before his big debut. I found him and he was, understandably, quite nervous but doing a great job of keeping a lid on it, to get himself through. As we sat chatting however, I noticed that retoucher extraordinaire Kristi Sherk had just walked in and so, knowing my good friend, and amazing fashion and portrait photographer, Sian back in the UK was a huge fan of Kristi, I just had to get a photo with her to make her jealous!
After the shameless selfie request, I walked down to the Partner Pavilion to wish Dave good luck with his presentation, knowing full well he wouldn’t need it. As I got there though, it was great to see so many instructors taking time out between their own hectic class schedule to come and give him their moral support. There was, of course, Glyn Dewis, Dave’s bestie, front and centre but also Alan Hess, Kaylee Greer, Jesus Ramirez and a host of others mentally cheering him on. I was absolutely chuffed for him!
Having watched his confident opening gambit, I made my way nervously over to the main lobby, where the tables had been set up for the peer to peer discussions but, noting I was a few minutes early, saw very few people sat at any of the tables. In fact, the only two tables, out of around 10, that were occupied were one for iPhoneography and another discussing sports photography.
Regardless, I settled in at my table waiting for the hordes to arrive but a couple of minutes past starting time, there was still no one there and so, with her ever motherly and caring nature, Scott’s wife, Kalebra, like a graceful swan watching over one of her lost looking signets, invited me over to join her phone photography table. Of course, I graciously accepted but, to be honest, I felt like I was simply taking up a space that someone else could have used as, unlike my buddy Dave Williams, I rarely use my phone to take ‘serious’ photos. Nonetheless, I joined in the conversation and offered up a few tips from my DSLR shooting experience, that may assist when taking phone photos and before I knew it, an hour of great chat had gone by and we were all giving our gratitude to Kalebra for her time and going our separate ways.
Heading back in to the main convention area, I bumped in to Dave Clayton coming out, who, by now, looked decidedly more relaxed then when I’d last spoken to him. It turns out his presentation went well (I never doubted it for a second) although a technical glitch at the beginning had nearly thrown a spanner in the works. By all accounts from those watching though, he dealt with it admirably and with his own trademark humour! Nice one, Dave!
My B-FAM, Dave (seriously, it gets confusing knowing so many Daves!) and I then had an awesome class with Moose Peterson, who explained the importance of telling stories with your photos, with so many stunning examples of his own work, followed by a hilarious and informative live shoot demonstration with Joe McNally. It was great to see last year’s Guru award winner and all round nice guy, Mark Rodriguez being pulled out of the crowd to play a part in Joe’s imagined portrait scenario! If you don’t know Mark, you have to check out his wonderful (and sometimes beautifully weird) work @the_godriguez on Instagram.
With the day’s classes again done and having had nothing for lunch due to the midday discussion forum, Dave and I decided that we had so far missed out on a very American experience whilst on the West Coast and that had to be rectified….. by heading to In-N-Out burger! Oh man, that was a good burger and, obviously, we went animal style!
Following that, it was a quick change of clothes before heading to the Irish pub in the Shoppes at Mandalay bay for a pre-arranged meet up with fellow members of a KelbyOne-centric Facebook group. It was great to finally meet some of the people we’d been chatting to online for so long, including the wonderfully alternative Rin Karnatz, in her WonderWoman outfit and Disney Figment inspired purple and orange hair!
(Things did start to get a little weird with Dave and Meredith in the Irish Pub though!)
Having said our goodbyes there, we quickly hotfooted (or hotUber’d) it over to Tropicana Ave. for the Photofocus party at the Pinball Hall of Fame. Man, this place was AWESOME! I was never a huge player of pinballl machines when I was a kid but with this place, it didn’t matter, as I was able to relive my lost youth there and then with every conceivable arcade machine present. Of course, the free food, beer and $10 worth of quarters in a pot helped!
And of course, you just know that anytime Levi Sim is involved in a photoshoot, you’re going to end up with some wonderfully wacky photos!
If we could, we would have stayed there all night but, as it was, we still had to head back to the convention centre for the Midnight Madness event and when we arrived, it was certainly living up to it’s name with people running around in shark suits and the sight of grown adults hurriedly folding paper airplanes and throwing them through hula hoops for points, while Scott and a few other instructors were up on stage judging proceedings, greeting us as we walked through the door! I think it must have been the amount of sugar that was consumed….
(and there wasn’t a Police Officer in sight!)
Having finished up there, it was, to no surprise, ridiculously late (or early, I guess) again, but obviously we couldn’t just leave it there, so once again, it was down to the casino bar we went for one (or a few, maybe) nightcap before trudging back to our room and hitting the sack again!