Photoshop World, Vegas style

Hey gang! We just returned from another exciting Photoshop World Conference & Expo, held in Las Vegas. The conference is three days long, plus an additional day for pre-conference workshops. With seven learning tracks and over 40 instructors, it there truly is something for everyone. Even though it’s called Photoshop World, there are classes on Lightroom, photography, lighting, creativity and more. I taught three classes on Adobe Lightroom this time around.

The Photoshop World Tradeshow is open during the three days of the conference and I always like to make my rounds there to see what new and exciting products the software and hardware vendors have in store. The tradeshow is a great place for both learning and networking.

And of course, Photoshop World is always a great time for catching up with old friends and making new ones. Many of the other instructors are good friends of mine, and I try to schedule time to have a meal or a drink with many of them. That’s actually one of the things I look forward to the most!

Karen and I also took some time out to go and visit the Mob Museum, which is located near Freemont Street in “Old Las Vegas.” The place had good reviews and we were extremely impressed with how well-done the place is. It’s three full floors of history, artifacts, movies, stories, etc. It’s really fascinating, and much of it was interactive. We ended up spending more time than we thought we would there and would definitely recommend it if you’re ever looking for something to do during the day in Las Vegas.

Ben-PSWPhotoshop World always has a theme, and this year, it was pirates. 

Ben-PSWclassHere, I’m teaching my Lightroom Advanced Tips & Tricks class.

Ben-EpsonEpson featured some of my images at their booth in the tradeshow.

BenMobMuseumA goofy photo of me at the mob museum.

After a great couple days in Las Vegas, we flew back to the Tampa area, where we’re temporarily based. I had been pretty busy in the weeks leading up to Photoshop World and I hadn’t had a lot of time for photography. One of the things I’d been looking forward to was trying out my new Pixelstick, a light painting product that is the result of a Kickstarter campaign. It’s basically a very long rod with LED lights that change over time to create an image or pattern that you specify. When you move it around, it creates a really unique and creative effect. I started playing with it for the first time last night and got some fun results (see below). Since I’m new to both the Pixelstick and my new camera, it will take more time to get exactly what I want, and I look forward to working with it some more!

More to come…

Pixelstick-garageThe results of last night’s shoot with my new Pixelstick. 

Photoshop World 2013: Back to Vegas

It’s hard to believe that this event rolled around again so quickly, but as the saying goes… time flies when you’re having fun. I’ve taught at well over 20 Photoshop World Conferences and this one was back in the crazy town of Las Vegas. This usually makes for a pretty good mix of work and play! I taught three classes at the event: Camera Raw Essentials, Advanced Camera RAW and Photoshop’s Hidden & Hard to Find Tweaks. The rest of the time was spent networking, scouring the trade show for new and interesting products, and hanging out with friends.

This conference was a little special, due to a amazing move by Adobe to give ALL attendees a free 1-year subscription to the Creative Cloud, which is basically the master collection of all Adobe’s software. This is pretty huge, and basically pays for the conference admission and then some!

ScottKeynoteScott Kelby introduces Adobe at the Photoshop World Keynote. 

We also saw two shows during the conference after hours. The first was the Michael Jackson Cirque du Soleil show, which was pretty great. As you can probably imagine, the highlights of this one were the music and the dancing. Karen is a Michael Jackson fanatic, so she was pretty much in her glory. We also saw a show called Absinthe, which was very…um… different. Let’s just say that it’s a great show, but not for the faint of heart… or those who are easily offended. The show was a series of beautiful performances, punctuated by the bantering of two emcees who are just hilarious. (and very rated R) We liked that the whole feel of the show was different, and we knew that going in, as we literally entered the tent (which is the venue) through a phone booth.

BenSteveBrennanOut to dinner at Caesars Palace with by friends Brennan and Steve. 

After the conference wrapped up, we few back to Minneapolis, where we left the bus. We’ll be spending the next week or so here, catching up with old friends (I grew up in Minneapolis) and getting some work done. Afterwards, we’ll head eastward, passing through Chicago and likely a few more cities before reaching the east coast.

Upcoming Events:

In case you missed Photoshop World, I’m teaching at another fantastic event coming up called the California Photo Festival, in San Luis Obispo, CA. I taught at this event for the first time last year and was really impressed with not only the number of classes, but the variety. There are loads of hands-on shooting classes in the field as well as lecture-style classes. If you like having the opportunity to shoot a lot during events like this, be sure to check this one out. You can find the class list and registration details HERE. And you can find my schedule HERE.


My Photoshop Creativity Tour is also coming to Tampa, FL, on Oct. 4, and Atlanta, GA, on Oct. 18th. This is a one-day event that is broken into five sessions: Essential Masking Techniques, Working Smart, Compositing Secrets, Adding Depth and Dimension and Jaw-dropping Tips. For more details, or to register, click HERE.

Screen Shot 2013-06-28 at 12.56.32 PM

Photoshop World!

This past week was spent in the scorching hot city of Las Vegas for another awesome Photoshop World Conference and Expo. Karen and I flew in on Monday and checked in to the conference hotel, the Mandalay Bay. One of the great things about Photoshop World is that all of the instructors stay in the same hotel, so it’s always a reunion of friends… starting the second we walk into the hotel. For us, the party started before we even got to Mandalay Bay, because my great friend Steve picked us up from the airport and was already arranging a dinner for that first night!

Here I am at the entrance to the Photoshop World Conference & Expo

The day before the conference starts is always pre-con day. While I didn’t have an actual pre-con event, I taught a 4-hour class that night alongside my great friend Judy Host. She was just wrapping up her Creative Design Tour and I was invited to co-teach with her that night. We could tell that the event was a success by the sheer number of people that showed up. Vegas is a night-life kind of town, yet hundreds of people chose to spend their night in our classroom.

During the course of Photoshop World, I taught three one-hour classes, on Photoshop’s hidden and hard-to-find tweaks, actions and Adobe Camera Raw. Outside of the classes, I always spend a lot of time networking, exploring the trade show and hanging out with friends.

The Epson booth had one of my images on display at the Photoshop World Trade Show.

Karen and I got really lucky this year, as we were able to squeeze in TWO Cirque du Soleil shows during this Photoshop World! The first was “O,” which is completely put on in water, and the second was “Love,” featuring the Beatles. “Love” was especially fun, as we were accompanied by our great friends Jay & Lesa, Eddie & Judy and Bert and Zosia. I guess it was appropriate that our group was made up of couples, being it was the “Love” show and all.

Aside from having a great time at this Photoshop World, I also got a lot of positive feedback from my sessions. I even managed to attend a few classes as well! On Saturday, Karen and I flew back to Seattle, as the bus was parked about an hour south of the city. This week, we’ll try to spend some time checking out the Seattle area. More to come…

A NJ Visit and Photoshop World Preparations

Hey gang! In my last post, I was wrapping up a week full of training with creativeLIVE in Seattle. (If you missed those training sessions, you can read about them here.) After Seattle, my next stop was the Philly/South Jersey area, where Karen’s family lives. Karen flew out nearly a month ago to be with her family through some rough times, so it had been a while since I’d seen her. We’re used to spending most of our time within 10 feet of each other, so it’s always strange to be apart for a long time.

While I was in NJ, I spent a lot of time prepping for the Photoshop World Conference & Expo coming up this week in Las Vegas. I can’t even keep track of how many Photoshop Worlds I’ve taught at, but every single one has always been a blast, and this one will be no exception. If you’ve never been to a Photoshop World, you can kind of think of it as a Photoshop/digital photography love fest. You’ll learn a ton, but will have loads of fun too.

If you plan on joining us in Vegas, I’ll be teaching the following classes:

Tues. Sept. 4, 6:30-10:30 pm – Creative Design: Creating Photographic Art, with Judy Host

Wed. Sept. 5, 6:15 – 7:15 pm – Photoshop CS6: Hidden and Hard to Find Tweaks

Fri. Sept. 7, 8:15 – 9:15 am – Camera RAW 7: Completely Redesigned!

Fri. Sept. 7, 11:00 am – 12:00pm – Getting Started with Actions

Outside of planning for my PSW sessions, I spent a lot of time just hanging out with Karen and her family. We went out to some nice dinners, enjoyed a happy hour at the winery and had a crazy fun game night at Karen’s sister’s new house. It was there that we discovered that Karen and I are not only great life partners, but great “Cranium” partners as well!

Karen and I at the Heritage Vineyard happy hour

A fun game of Cranium at Laura and Rich’s house

The past week has also been spent making plans for the vintage bus project. If you’ve been following this saga, you know that my vintage bus has been re-powered and is now in Chattanooga awaiting transport to Eugene, OR where it will get its interior installed. At first, I planned on having the bus shipped to Oregon on a flatbed truck, but that would be extremely expensive. Plus, I’ve had some offers from folks willing to drive the bus there for me. A third option would be for me to fly out to Chattanooga and drive the bus myself. I’m still weighing the options, and will give an update as soon as I’ve got a plan. Whatever happens, the shop in Oregon will be ready for the bus before the end of the month.

Well, as I wrap up this post, I’m getting ready to fly from NJ over to Vegas for Photoshop World! More to come…

A mixed bag of Nevada

Karen got this shot of me during our hike in the Valley of Fire.

After spending the first month and a half of 2012 in California, we finally ventured on … all the way to Nevada. The first part of the week was spent in Las Vegas, where we met up with lots of friends. We parked at the home of Steve and Beverly (who you’ve read about in previous blog posts). As it turns out, our mutual friends, Eddie Tapp and Judy Host, were staying with Steve and Beverly as well! Six friends all together under one roof (and driveway)! We arrived on Monday night and all went out to dinner in honor of Judy’s birthday, which happened to be the same day.

The next day was Valentines Day, and although Karen and I don’t really get into it, we used it as an excuse to spend a nice night out with our nomadic friends, Sean and Louise, of the blog Our Odyssey. We started off with some cocktails in their bus, which was parked very close to the Vegas strip. Then we went up to the Foundation Room on the top floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel. This place has become one of our favorite hangouts in Sin City. It has a rich, asian atmosphere, with dark colors, buddha statues and unique and comfortable furniture. After the Foundation Room, we went to dinner at Pan Asia, another favorite for me and Karen. It’s a no-frills kind of place (far from the strip), but the food is amazing, the couple who runs it are adorable and it’s byob. It was great to catch up with Sean and Louise, who we hadn’t seen in over a year!

The new MINI just got its new bonnet stripes installed. Pretty snazzy!

I mentioned in recent blog posts that we just got a new MINI Countryman. It’s red with a white roof, white wheels and white mirrors. On Tuesday, we took the MINI to get its new white bonnet stripes installed. They look pretty sleek and really add to the unique look of the car.

While we were still in Vegas, Sean helped me out by taking a look at the generator on the bus. The generator has been giving me issues for two years and stopped working completely. It’s been a major source of frustration for us. Sean managed to narrow things down and actually get it running… not problem-free… but running.

My bus and Sean and Louise’s Odyssey share a little peninsula on Lake Mead.

On Friday, we joined Sean and Louise on a short journey to Lake Mead. They went ahead of us and scouted out the perfect “camping” spot for our two buses. We literally have water on three sides of us. The atmosphere is extremely relaxing and at sunset, the color is beautiful. Sean and Louise even set up their portable hot tub, and we’ve been using it every night, with a view of the stars and the water.

Sean inspects my problematic generator at our “camping” spot on Lake Mead.

While we were camped on Lake Mead, Sean and I spent even more time on the generator, and we managed to make a lot of progress on it. (I say “we” but my part really consisted of handing tools to Sean when he needed them). The rest of the time was spent relaxing, working and enjoying meals together.

Sean, Louise, Karen and myself

From our parking spot at Lake Mead, the Valley of Fire was only an hour’s drive away, so the four of us took a day trip to the park and did some hiking. It’s the perfect time of year to visit the Valley of Fire, because we didn’t feel like we were actually on fire. In the summer months, that place can easily reach above 110 degrees. Karen and I did some shooting along the hike, and we enjoyed the scenery during the drive (except for the flashing police lights in the rear view when Karen was driving a little too “spirited.” Luckily, she’s cute and the cop let her go.)

Our next stop will be Las Vegas again. We are flying out this week to Hawaii, where I’ll give two seminars – one in Honolulu and one on Maui. More to come…