Friday, September 17, 2010

I'm In Love...

...with a new lens.  I rented the Canon 85mm 1.2L II for shooting tonight's rehearsal dinner.  I practiced with this beauty in the dimly lit kitchen last night, and it's incredible.  This is why I love prime lenses.  One day, I WILL buy one!  But for now, I'll be renting it for every wedding.  :)

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

WPPI DC Road Show

I headed to Maryland on Sunday evening to meet up with friends for dinner before the WPPI Road Show yesterday.  I was so excited to see Kristy Dickerson again.  I missed her.  Like, band camp missed her.  I met Kristy at Jasmine Star's Workshop this past February.  We bonded over a disastrous non-meetup in Newport Beach and I introduced her to Thai food late that night when we finally found each other.  The next morning we drove all over creation looking for a Starbucks (I mean, who CAN'T find a Starbucks on every corner?!, apparently), and were thrilled to finally sit down outdoors with a cup of coffee and enjoy the beautiful west coast weather.  Kristy confided in me about the new company she was starting which would connect photographers with workshops in a one-stop shop.  I thought it was a brilliant idea, and I have loved watching her grow FisheyeConnect throughout these past several months.  She has been touring and exhibiting with the WPPI road show, so when she came to the DC area, I was beyond thrilled to catch up with her.

It was also wonderful to hang out with Melissa Manzione outside of shooting an event.  Melissa has graciously let me shoot two weddings with her, and while I love working with her, unfortunately we never have the time to socialize.  I also met tons of other photographers that night and the next day - all so friendly and so nice!

Yesterday's speaking schedule was lined with amazing individuals:  Jared Bauman, Clay Blackmore, Lindsay Adler, and, of course, the ever-fab Jasmine Star.  No matter how many times I've seen and heard Jasmine speak - even when it's the same presentation - she is always an inspiration.  She's passionate, compassionate, sweet, caring, and a testament that anything is possible through hard work and determination.  I honestly can't tell you how blessed I feel to be a part of this amazing community of photographers. 

Kristy talking with Lindsay Adler...

And because he was such an integral part of Kristy, Melissa and me staying up WAY past our bed times, here's a tribute to Rob Ninja-Nicholson, founder of Photog Shootout:

(No, I have no idea what he's looking at.)

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Sunday, September 12, 2010

NASCAR Weekend at Richmond International Raceway

When Chris first asked if I was interested in going to a NASCAR race - no, NASCAR weekend - with his friends, my immediate response was, "No.  No way."  Then he explained that it really was a lot of fun, and the best part of the whole thing is the tailgating, and he didn't even plan on actually going into the race.  Anyone who knows me knows that I have been anti-NASCAR since I knew it existed.  "This left turn, brought to you by Skoal," echoed in my head.  But after I found out some of the wives were going, I thought about it, then changed my mind.  It could be fun, just to hang out with friends.

What did I think?  It was So. Much. Fun!  Friday night we played cornhole at the hotel, boards provided courtesy of The Westin.  Later in the night some friends moved on to play Wii in the lounge area.  I loved this hotel!

Saturday morning, our 16-person, 4-vehicle convoy rolled into the Richmond International Raceway parking lot, and we set up our tailgate 2 tents deep, complete with a flat screen TV to watch football during the day.  Chris told me I needed to pick a driver to root for (because it makes the race much more fun), so we headed to Midway to find a t-shirt for me.  I had no idea who any of the drivers were, so I decided to pick the shirt I liked best and that would be my team.  (It's all very scientific.)  From then on, I was team Tony Stewart.

The team/driver enthusiasm was amazing.  Random strangers, passing by, throwing a fist up in the air and screaming, "Go 14!" when they agreed with the driver I was representing.  It was so infectious, I found myself doing the same thing.  Except, it was with one of our tailgate neighbors.  After I gave him the approving, "Yeah, nice visor!" comment, he went on for several minutes about why he roots for Stewart, and not other drivers.  And I nodded in agreement the whole time.  And I had no idea what he was talking about.  And I still had no idea who Tony Stewart was.  But I think I played it off (by not saying anything), and he didn't suspect a thing.  Either that or he thought I turned into a mute.

Chris and I hung back at the tailgate with a few others while those with tickets left to watch the race.  But just before the race started, two scalpers came by, and I convinced Chris to buy 2 tickets for $20.  We looked at the tickets on our way to the gate - we had an $80 ticket in Turn 1, and a $40 ticket in a section halfway across the stadium.  Um.  Yeah.  But we lucked out and there was an empty seat next to our ticketed seat in Turn 1.  The deafening roar of the engines and the speed of the cars is an experience unmatched by watching the race on TV.  Or so I'm told, since I've never watched a race on TV.  I honestly have to say that it was a great time, and I'm so glad I went! 

Go, Tony Stewart!

Chris in our hotel lobby this morning, sporting his new Tony Stewart cap...

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