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VAPS Conference Bendigo May 2015

May 25, 2015

The conference is over and I’m back home. The conference was a roaring success, due the the Herculean efforts of Ron Speed and Peter Kewley supported by the most enthusiastic band of volunteers I’ve ever encountered. The organisation was perfection. Crises were averted. Speakers who over spoke (me) were given polite hints to wind up, thus keeping the conference on track and everyone awake. The weekend was action packed. Anyone who went and participated, could easily qualify for the Olympics. After a VAPS conference, they’d be like a walk in in the park, albeit with cameras. It was full on. It wasn’t all intense pressure. Photographers know how to let their hair down. (Those that still had hair).

   I’ve never met a lovelier or more diverse group, all united by a love of photography. The ages ranged from (I’m guessing) 10 to 85. There were lots of laughs, intense interest and endless questions. I learned so much. Particularly about people’s backgrounds and the diverse reasons they were led to photography. There was a common trait, some had been photographing for for more than five decades, but everyone was enthusiastic, eager to share and learn. 

The sessions were cleverly crafted to showcase a combination of emotion, philosophy, approach and to enhance technical skills. There were many, many ‘lightbulb moments’ accompanied by gasps of ‘oh that’s how that works.’

It was my pleasure and privilege to listen to and meet Julieanne Kost, Photoshop and Lightroom Evangelist from Adobe. She travels the world, spreading the word about her joy of photography and capably demonstrating the products she represents. I don’t know how she does it, 80% of her life is travelling, but I’m so grateful she does. Her talk was humorous, her pictures breathtaking and her sense of humour wicked. I’m sure Adobe’s market domination is due in no small part to her enthusiasm and demonstration of the products. Many times I’ve been stuck on an issue and watched a Julieanne video online. Charmingly, she claimed she occasionally has to watch her own videos to remember a skill she’s forgotten she had.

For my talks and workshops I had the support of Steve Mills from Ted’s Cameras. He got manufacturers and his own organisation, to supply a representative range of small cameras. I was loaned a treasure trove of small gems from Nikon, Panasonic, Leica, Canon, Olympus and Fuji. I also requested some Sony cameras, but unfortunately they didn’t consider the event worthwhile, so sadly, no Sony. After my talk and demonstration, the attendees  flocked to the table asked questions, tested and made purchasing decisions. Several crestfallen people pulled Sony RX100s from pocket and/or purse and asked in whispered tones “I have one of these, is it OK.” I assured them they were great cameras, but for some reason Sony had not wished to be represented.

Derek Mobbs from Epson had an enthusiastic reception, not only because he had an Epson 600 A3+ printer to raffle, but because he had a great presentation on workflow and black and white printing. Epson have embraced the camera clubs and with an ambassador like Derek and the quality of print they produce, they have a long prosperous future ahead. 

Unfortunately, I missed Shireen Hammond’s presentation, but from the comments and intense discussion, it generated a lot of emotion and admiration. So much, that it formed the basis of Dawne Fahey’s workshop which followed. Dawne divided the room into groups and elected spokespeople who then had to analyse the essence of Shireen’s message. That unleashed some interesting responses and lots of emotion as each draftee had to present and represent their groups opinion.

I drove home from Bendigo, tired, but elated, extremely grateful and privileged to have been included in this event. I refuelled the car and myself with the worst burger ever, from McDonalds new DIY menu. I waited ages for the ‘chef’ to destroy a piece of meat, some bacon, sauce, plastic cheese, salad and place it on a base constructed of some indeterminate substance moulded to represent a bun. This melange was placed in two halves in a box, so you could see your folly through a cellophane window in the top. This concoction was carelessly shoved into a gigantic bag, which caused the ingredients to slide off, exposing the greasy cut surface of the ‘bun.’ On reflection, after eating part of the burger, the bag and box would certainly have been tastier and possibly more nutritous. Macca’s are very clever. I designed it, they Just made if for me, so I only have myself to blame. Their message? We’re the experts and we’ve spent millions putting in self serve units to prove our original burger recipes are better than yours, supplied more quickly and cheaply as well. Clever strategy huh? After unburdening myself of that little lowlight, that experience can’t diminish the absolute joy and warmth I experienced at the VAPS Conference. The future of photography is in great hands.


From → Photography

  1. Hi Allan, I enjoyed your sessions at the conference. Don Weston Camberwell CC.

  2. don65w permalink

    Hi Allan, I enjoyed your sessions at the conference. I have just bought the Nik software.
    Don Weston Camberwell CC

    • Thanks Don. It was a great conference. I suggest using Nik from Photoshop, although it works in Lightroom as well. This gives you control over the layers and the ability to edit later.

      • Hi Allan, another question. Have you used the Lumix z1000 bridge camera? What do you think of it? Cheers, Don

      • Don it is a stunning camera. I just organised one on behalf of a client. It’s exceptionally quick and great image quality.

  3. Rita Brown permalink

    Allan, thank you you added to a great conference. I have brought the Nik software now just have to learn how to use it. I will as I said be looking at he new LUMIX you recommended.

    Cheers Rita Brown Ivanhoe Photographic Society

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