Saturday, March 31, 2007

Heading home

Laura and I thought California was brilliant! It was amazing to have beaches to mountains to a desert all within a short car ride... well short if you go outside LA's rush hourS and yes I wrote hours.

There's also a huge amount of British stuff out there, everywhere we went we saw something peculiar or out of place.

We spent the next day with some friends from Pictage Afterwards Laura even let me take a few shots of her, which is normally difficult as she would rather hold the camera rather than be its subject.

On our last day Laura and I wandered around Venice and were in awe of the amazing gardens of the houses that back to the canals. Seems like they are all competing with each other for the coolest backyard and strangest flowers. I don't know for a fact but based on the small amount of people we saw I'd say this is one of the less traveled areas and I highly recommend it if you're ever in the area.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Saying bye to Vegas

On our last day in Las Vegas we took a stroll around the Venetian shopping mall and got a few shots of the canal and gondolas.

After some *cough*forced*cough* shopping we hit the road back to Melissa's place.

We stopped at a few side roads to grab some shots.. Saw a turtle, abandoned building, and a road only an alien could pronounce.

The rest of the drive back to Marina Del Ray was pretty smooth except for the sun in our eyes most of the way. We got back just as the sun set, unloaded the car, and collapsed.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The biggest day of our lives

Today we wrapped up the last day of WPPI by doing one last speed run through the convention. We checked out of Paris and headed to the airport to pick up our rental car. They gave us a convertible Mustang which back in NJ when you think about driving in the desert would be really cool.. however once in Vegas we found that it is still too cold to make use of it. So we left the top up and headed east, not having even the slightest clue that this was going to be one of the longest days of our lives.

We got to Hoover Dam quite easily and took a few pics of the enormous monstrosity, it is really amazing to see in person.

Once you go past the dam, there is absolutely nothing for miles and miles. If we didn't have a navigation system we totally would have gone back thinking we were going the wrong way. So for about 1.5 hours without seeing anything we come into the small town of Kingman, AZ and believe it or not.. I saw an oasis! This must be what every Englishman trapped in the desert would crave, a little shop selling British food!

Laura and I loaded up on some English loot, a few bags of crisps and headed north to the Grand Canyon!
This part would be the worst.. it's miles and miles of nothing for hours. Never in our lives have we seen such distance between civilizations. We even wondered how people survived accidents and such without cell phones.. scary thought! So after seeing this for many, many, many miles.

We start to hear these pops coming from our bag of food. We soon realized it was all the bags of chips popping because of the changes in elevation, it was too funny!

Then finally after so long we arrived at the South Rim Park. The ranger told us where to go to catch the sun set as we had gotten there just in time to do so. As we pulled up we kept asking each other if the trip had been worth it and then we saw this... our question had been answered for us!

There were even parts without a barrier and just these cute signs.

so after some amazing views and freezing photo ops (we were dressed for Vegas) we piled back into the car and headed back to Vegas. We did catch a few shots of the setting sun as we sped by.

We also have never seen a sky without any light pollution so getting a shot of some stars with the moon causing a lens flare was a really cool thing to us.

We were on schedule to be back in Vegas just before midnight so we arranged for a hotel and got a great deal at the Hard Rock Hotel from Traveloctiy so we rushed back to Vegas and barely had time to get a few shots of the Hoover Dam at night. I really loved this one.

And getting back into Vegas at night is a sight to behold so we grabbed these while we were driving.. kinda cool light effects with the slower shutters.

Once we arrived at the Hard Rock we checked in and I think they felt a little sorry for us after hearing about our day and gave us an awesome suite for no extra charge.. It was an amazing room! I even got a shot of Laura sitting on the couch about 5 minutes before she passed out from exhaustion.

WPPI day 2

Today was round two of WPPI and it was just as busy as day 1. I got to see some more speakers at the Canon booth like Parker Pfister and attended a smaller one over at the Graphistudio booth by Yervant.
I found the Delkin booth and finally picked up one of their new card readers I've heard so much about. BTW they are one of the most helpful and knowledgeable vendors I saw.

We found a ton of new products and albums we can't wait to try and get samples of to show our clients. We wrapped up the night with the Pictage member party in Napoleon's and still had time to grab an amazing steak at Mesa Grill in Caesars Hotel.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

WPPI day 1

WPPI kicked off today with about 5000+ attendees and I tried to see as much as possible in the 5 hours I had. Canon actually had demo units of their newest DSLR the EOS-1D Mark III. I was lucky enough to get some alone time with it and a Canon rep who was more than willing to answer all my questions and cement a sale in May when it becomes available.

Canon had a really amazing booth setup. I got to watch a live portrait session with Clay Blackmore and hear presentations from Denis Reggie, and Joe Buissink.

I think I would have to say the best booth would have to go to Pictage hands down. They had a smaller setup that allowed their speakers to sit on couches and speak to everyone in a smaller more personal manner. It was extremely hard to hear them if you were not in the chairs closest to the speakers but when they had someone like Joe Buissink everyone crowded around and he spoke up for all to hear. He was definitely the best one I got to hear.

After the show a bunch of us met up and headed to the Blu party hosted in the Kingpin room at the Palms hotel. Definitely one of the coolest places to have a party in Vegas. Bowling, pool table, a photo booth, and a bar packed with fellow photographers is bound to be entertaining. They even had the same tattoo artist from the night before. Thanks Blu for inviting us!

Sorry I didn't get any pictures.. we took the night off too literally.

Monday, March 26, 2007

The drive to Vegas!

On Sunday afternoon Melissa took Laura and I to LA's airport to pick up our rental car for the drive to Las Vegas. We had expected the worst, but were pleasantly surprised that Hertz gave us a brand new Ford Focus. So we packed it up with all our gear and luggage and hit the road just after 2pm.

Everyone had told us that the drive would be long and boring but we still wanted to see the new landscape and desert. As this was a 1st for us we were very excited and had the camera ready.

After about 20 of these we just stopped snapping them

This one I just had to have.. I spent the 1st 5 years of my life traveling Europe in one this exact color.

We finally got to Vegas just before night fall and checked into the Paris Hotel. Since this was our first Vegas trip we were amazed at the amount of effort they put into recreating atmosphere. From a fake Eiffel tower, to the fake French signs that are all in English with just a Le added to it.

Once we got all settled in we met up with some Pictage folks and headed over to Sara France's party at the Bellagio

We had so much fun being surrounded by a ton of photographers, everyone we met was extremely nice and welcoming. They even had an airbrush tattoo artist that got Laura and I marked up!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

A sandwich that bites

Today Melissa, her brother Josh, and his wife Allison took us up to Santa Barbara for a day trip. The car ride was another long one but well worth the wait once we got there. Santa Barbara is a beautiful place to walk around and wait for your women as they go into all the little stores on State street. Josh and Allison have a 4 month old pug puppy that we didn't want to leave alone all day so he came along for the trip. He was a hit on the streets.. everyone who passed had to pet him. His name is "Hoagie" as a pun on that west coasters have no idea thats a sandwich to us easterners. So here's me getting bit by a sandwich on the way up there.

The day was a bit overcast and since it was really hazy we didn't take many pics and just relaxed.

Once we got back to home base in Marina Del Ray, Melissa took us to an awesome BBQ place her friends Ricky and Danny own in Venice. Laura just loved the BBQ sauce.

Here's a shot of Melissa with Ricky and Danny of Baby Blues BBQ, if you're ever in Venice, CA check em out on Lincoln Bvld.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Cliffs and flowers

Today Melissa took Laura and I up to Malibu to a small park she likes to visit. When we got there it was pretty foggy but it did clear up for a few minutes so we got the camera out before it rolled back in again.

The trails were full of these little guys. We almost squashed a few before we realized that we should keep an eye out for em.

Laura took this amazing shot, and now I feel bad.. she was falling behind on the trail and we're yelling for her to keep up and had no idea she was getting this.

Falling behind

We're falling behind on the blog posts already but here's two to catch up.

Yesterday was full of advenure. Laura broke a tooth, so after some quick phone calls to our awesome dentist back home we took his advice and we spent all morning looking for a pharmacy with the proper repair/bonding stuff. We did walk back to Melissa's via Venice beach and enjoyed that. Then last night we made plans to go see some friends and tested our knowledge of LA traffic. A car ride that would have taken us 30-40 mins on the east coast was easily 1.5-2 hours here in California... I really don't know how the locals do it, I'd be saving my pennies for a helicopter. Here's Mark, Kenny, Ceilia, Laura, and I after our dinner trip.. I don't remember the restaurant's name but it was really good and the company was excellent!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Whew we made it!

Laura and I left for LA today with high hopes on seeing some warm weather. We arrived safely but only to feel 50˚ temps. Not quite what we had hoped for but we are optimistic about tomorrow. Since we did promise to photo document this little adventure here's what we have so far....
Friday's restaurant in PHL airport is doing their part to prevent knives onboard (in case you can't tell it's a plastic knife.)

Here's a 1st for me.. I actually saw them loading our bags onto the plane.. this red one is really laura's suitcase

We're staying with our friend Melissa but she's a little camera shy, maybe I can coax her from behind the door tomorrow when we're not all so tired and cranky.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Julie and Mark

On Sunday Feb. 18th, Laura and I had the pleasure of being Julie and Mark's photographers. I must say this wedding was awesome! Not only was it a great mixture of timing, for Julie is Chinese and it happened to be the start of Chinese New Year, but it was also a great location since Mark is from Ireland and the Catholic Philopatrian Literary Institute has vast history with Irish immigrants. Not only was it a historic building, it also was full of great locations for photos.

Once the ceremony was finished we headed over to Rittenhouse Square for some fun shots in the snow. Julie was such a fun bride she was willing to brave the cold and trail her dress in the snow, so when we walked past the big tree we noticed some kids had given it some mini-snowmen and they had to be in the shots.
After the reception Julie, Mark, and some guests headed upstairs to the billiards room for some drinks, pool, and poker. Of course we had to take advantage of the surroundings and catch Julie showing Mark how to play.

Not only do Laura and I love what we do, but we also love the clients, vendors, and guests we get to meet and interact with. We got to work alongside Mark Kingsdorf again, and knowing his sense of humor, we snapped a little something for him!
Julie and Mark, thank you so much for including us in your day!

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