I always like summer school as a kid. The classes were smaller, more informal and alot more fun than the rest of the year. Not to mention they helped get me out of school earlier. Now that I’m a working stiff, I find that instead of summer school, I take short breaks for various seminars and classes to stay on top of my game as a photographer and to network with old and new friends. One such “break” that I recently took is called “Skips Summer School” and it was held in the boring city called Las Vegas 🙂
I had managed to score a free ticket ( THANK YOU PHOTODEX!! )to the 3 day event from Photodex on Facebook but I had to look up what I had won. It seems that Skip Cohen’s summer school is a well kept secret by those “in the know”. Fine, now I too know about it and I went ahead and booked a room at the Mirage and also booked a Dodge Charger as a rental to drive there. I mean, if I have to go to Vegas, I want to have some fun along the way and what better fun is a muscle car. My five year old daughter decided though that it was HER car and I could borrow it for the trip 🙂 Just as an FYI – the image below was taken with my iPhone using the Apple HDR setting and then run through Photoshop on the iPhone.
Of course, being California, it rained from the time I left to the minute I arrived at the Mirage. So much for stopping along the way and taking some fun shots of the car with the various abandoned buildings on the highway.No matter, what counted was I had gotten there and it was time to go meet people. There as a small expo of vendors there and it is always fun to go chat with the vendors and see what kind of deals that they have and maybe meet someone whom I have been talking to on the phone or by email
Then it was time for dinner and a drink and to bed. After all, an eight hour drive is bit much. Why eight hours? Because there was four crashes on the way there, one was a rolled car and one was a head on. Either way, it made for a very, very slow drive in the rain.
The next morning, Summer School kicked off in ernest with Jerry Ghionis speaking. If you have not had the chance to listen/watch/learn from Jerry, find the time, make the time or beg the time to do so. Jerry is an amazing presenter.
The video quality is not the best due to my using a dinky Flip camera. There were people there shooting with the full blown HD DSLR and yes, I was a bit green with envy.
We had Bambi Cantrell and Roberto Valenzuela who both are very inspirational and motivating speakers. Roberto in particular really “spoke” to me about shooting in shadows and how to use them. I find myself shooting a lot in the middle of the day or on really bright locations. One take away from Roberto is that you need to shoot, you need to practice and you don’t need alot of to practice with. His case in point is shooting with his trademark melons and bananas. You practice shooting to get the lighting with them and then when it’s for real, you already know how to do it and you don’t waste time.
The one thing from Bambi that I took away was instead of saying “I can not do that” is to say instead “I really wish I could but”. I’ve started to use that and not just in my photographer and it makes a difference.
Tamara Lackey showed grace under pressure when her Mac decided it didn’t want to talk to the projector and so she got to “wing” it for several minutes while they got everything back on track. As always, she was poised, excited and enthusiastic about being there at SSS.
One the treats of the best treats was an open forum with the presenters after the formal ones and after dinner. Anyone could ask any question and the panel would answer as a group. it was a lot of fun and very informative.
Other presenters were the ever popular Vincent LaForet, Kevin Kubota and Bobbi Lane. It was an amazing three days and you could not help but get excited again.
The demos were really good. I attended Clay Blackmore’s workshop and his show and tell about posing was worth all the effort of getting there.
Here is a gallery of images from Skips Summer School