Hello Friends and Family,

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NAPP in Las Vegas

Back in 1999, I joined a fledgling organization called NAPP — the National Association of Photoshop Professionals. At the time, I was not a Photoshop professional but they had the best magazine devoted to how-to with respect to Photoshop. For those of you who have dabbled in Photoshop, you know how daunting the challenge of learning how to use this awesome program. Their magazine (Photoshop User) taught me a lot! As the organization grew, they began holding conferences with session after session devoted to the various aspects of Photoshop. I was interested but unfortunately, the conferences were being held on the East Coast, most often in Florida near their home base, which was Orlando at the time. Also, I was still working then — enough said.

Ultimately, they began having two conferences each year — one on the West Coast to complement the one back East. And I went to that first one in Los Angeles. And the one in San Diego. And then back to LA. The last three years, the conference has been in Las Vegas — I went to the first one there but not last year because I was finding too much repetition of things I already had mastered. The first years were great but successive years produced diminishing returns on my monetary and time investment.

Mandalay Bay Hotel This year, Adobe introduced a new version of Photoshop (CS3 for those keeping score) and thus I felt that there would be sufficient new material to justify going. The conference was held at the convention center at the Mandalay Bay Hotel. This is quite a nice hotel with large, luxurious rooms and a massive layout — both indoors and out.

Mandalay Bay Pool Area The pool complex is incredible with a wave pool (for surfing), a lazy river (for lazy floaters) plus assorted other pools, spas, bars and, of course, a pool side casino.

The entire facility is so large that we all got quite a bit of good exercise just walking between our rooms and the conference rooms.

With such a massive facility that obviously has hosted many conferences, there was one aspect that I really felt was lacking — food service. We often did not have a lot of time for lunch or dinner (yes, there were evening sessions) — and the food court normally had only two concessions operating max — although there were at least half a dozen stocked but not operating. And at dinner time (and at breakfast time), none of them were open. I would have been happy with a box lunch but none was available.

Adobe Booth Of course, we weren't there for the food, we were there for knowledge — and maybe a little entertainment too. The opening and closing sessions are always a treat — and this year was no exception. They offered a Motown theme but changed it slightly to Photown — with the names of the songs and the words altered to fit the Photoshop experience.

On a serious note, there were six or seven sessions going on simultaneously (after the fun of the open session) — so each participant could find at least one (usually two or three) sessions that they thought would offer something useful.

I felt I was lucky since most of the sessions I attended with quite good — and answered some questions and issues that have challenged me since CS3 was released (and I upgraded to it). I was told that some of the sessions were not up to standard — and fortunately, they do ask us to complete a small evaluation form for each session and the conference as a whole. As a result, some presenters are not asked back — while others get an expanded role.

Epson Booth There is also a vendor show where the big boys like Adobe as well as the small fry can offer demos and answer questions about their latest products. The one pictured here was from Epson. Since I have an Epson 3800 printer, I was interested in the prints — especially what kind of paper they were using. That is one decision I need to make before offering my prints for sale.

I also noted (and you can see it here), the smallest print was quite familiar to me. It was produced by John Paul Caponigro who taught my printing class at the Santa Fe Workshops last summer. He was also presenting a couple classes, participating in a photographer's slide show and leading an Epson Print Academy sessions.

I was able to catch up to John Paul and chat with him briefly — as well as share some of my prints with him (since he gave me such a great head start). It was great seeing him again and brought back fond memories of our week in Santa Fe.

Charlene And John Paul was not the only person I know that I saw at the conference — I also got together with a friend, former co-worker at HP and fellow early retiree — although Charlene has taken another job to bridge that time between the HP retirement and full retirement some time in the future.

We have kept in touch by way of this newsletter so we knew that we would both be there. Fortunately, we were able to hook up and visit as well as attend some sessions of common interest.

Once the conference ended, Mizuki and I were able to spend some time having fun — since we scheduled an extra day just for that purpose. Of course her purpose is shopping — and mine...I guess is photography. These shots are from the Luxor, right next door to the Mandalay Bay.

Luxor I Luxor II

Luxor III Luxor IV

Well, too many photos for just one newsletter — more coming next week. Oh, and by the way — all the photos above and to be published next week were taken by my iPhone. I did not take my Nikon D200 to the conference. It did a pretty good job, don't you think?

 Life is good.

 Aloha,
 B. David