Saturday, November 10, 2007

Photo Expo West

I got early and drove down to Photo Expo West which located in the Del Mar Fairground in San Diego. A good friend of mine and not so shabby photographer too, Don Gale, sent me an email informing me that he will be speaking several seminars there.

When I arrived, after a 2 hour arduos drive from San Gabriel Valley (actually, it would've been like 1.5 hours but the last 4 miles took 30 minutes!) I was disappointed that it's nothing like Photo Expo East in NYC's Jacob Javits Center. The exhibit hall is much smaller even though the big names were there such as Canon, Nikon, and a couple of local Camera Store. I guess, I can't complain since the entry to the Expo is free. I just had to pay an exhorbitant $9 for parking fee.

I was surprised to see that Hanson Fong was speaking in the Canon booth with a WiFi adapter to the projector... which kinda not work at first. But, my friend Michael Nadler, a Canon rep rapidly worked to get it up and running for him. Hanson is a great portrait, wedding photographer, but I can't say the same regarding his presentation skills. I'm not sure most people can understand him with his hard to hear voice and heavy Chinese accent. Even though when I asked him which dialect of Chinese he speaks, he denied he knew how. I went to his studio in San Francisco once. It's right in the heart of SF Chinatown on a hill. He has many beautiful portraits of family and wedding images. Several years back at WPPI, I actually bought one of his posing VHS video. What a rip-off... $50 for a 8 minute video instruction. He was one of my good friend's, Barbara and Robert Pon, wedding photographer back in 1993. At the end of his presentation, I have to admit that his images are beautiful and I did learn a thing or two regarding portrait lighting.

Now for the best portrait lighting instruction, I would still say it's Don Gale. He has a pleasant voice and he enunciates his syllables, and spoke in clear and concise diction and tone. Not to mention, he has a wealth of knowledge of portrait lighting. I was blown away by his instructions year ago when I first met him as a student, and later on became good friends. He teaches photography workshops throughout the year. Check out his workshop schedule here.

I was going to walk away from the expo without purchasing anything as I couldn't find any good deals for memory cards and such. B&H Photo was not there. :-( But as I was leaving, I stopped by the Delkin booth. What caught my eyes were their Pop-Up Shades which is very similar to the Hoodman shades, except Hoodman doesn't make one for the Canon Pro cameras such as the 1D family of cameras. They actually make one for my Canon 1D MarkIIn but they didn't have it in stock with them. I'm gonna to order one online next week for $40. I often like to show the bride and groom of a great photo I just took to reassure them that their day is going well and their wedding images is fabulous. However, most of the time, we're outside and the sunlight washes out the display. They can't really see it sometimes, but I always get a polie nod with an agreement that these are great images. :-) This shade should eliminate that problem.

Then as I was leaving, I saw a rep from Think Tank Photo on the Expo floor promoting their products. They were selling their products 10% off but sales tax must be added. So, essentially, it's getting Think Tank products without paying for sales tax and then some. :-) I recall Ben Willmore showcase a video on his blog regarding his love for his Think Tank belt pak.

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