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PhotoPlus Expo 2014 Day 1 Quick Review

It’s late October, and that means the candy store of all candy stores for those who love everything related to photography and video (a.k.a. the PDN PhotoPlus International Conference + Expo) is open for business at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City. Before Day 2 begins, I wanted to get a quick post out about my thoughts on the show, and highlight a few things that I highly recommend seeing.

To sum things up in a few words, the show (as usual), is amazing. There are about 220 vendors, representing virtually every photo and video product category imaginable. My favorite thing to do at the show is see the prints on the walls, whether they are from printer manufacturers, paper manufacturers, contest winners in various galleries on the trade show floor, or companies who specialize in fine art printing, and there are many opportunities to do that at this year’s show. Here are just a few specific booths that really impressed me, and I recommend checking out this post from last year with many booth reviews, since most of what I wrote about the companies last year is still valid for this year’s show. You’ll just need to find their booth number for this year’s show. I will also restate one quick tip that I cover in this other article (along with information on the PhotoPlus Mobile App, which is fantastic) and that is to bring a few SD and/or CF cards with you so that you can put them in various cameras and “pixel peep” later on. The miracle of metadata inside the files will give you a lot of information about the images.

A Few Highlights From the Show Floor

1. LED Light Cube (Booth #1073): This was probably the biggest “jaw dropper” that I saw at the show. Imagine a powerful, battery-powered portable light that’s about the size of a square tissue box that can produce both continuous light and flash using LEDs (with no recycle time). You can also dial in the flash duration from 1/8000 to 1 second. Cost is about $600 and there is a show special available from Adorama and possibly other vendors who sell the product. For more information, visit this page.

2. Phottix (Booth #1025): Phottix is known for its wireless triggers and other flash accessories, and this year they announced an impressive 500 watt second portable AC/DC strobe unit with battery pack called the Phottix Indra500 TTL Studio Light. Here’s a good overview of the product, with a video and list of booth presentations for the rest of the show.

A model being photographed by Clay Blackmore during a demo of the new Phottix Indra500 TTL AC/DC flash. photo © Andrew Darlow

3. Epson (Booth #701): Epson’s booth is always filled with incredible photographs made on its printers. This year the company is highlighting a new 13-inch-wide printer, the Epson SureColor P600. The main improvements you’ll see when viewing prints is that the black density has been improved, which allows for better Dmax (maximum black levels). Also, the amount of ink used when switching between the photo and matte black inks has been reduced significantly. The prints on display (especially those made on Epson’s different canvas media) are stunning. There are nine cartridges in total (8 used at any one time), and each holds 25.9 ml of ink. MSRP is US $799. For more information about the new printer, visit this page.

A comparison of prints made with the new Epson SureColor P600 compared with the Epson Stylus Photo R3000. Photo © Andrew Darlow

4. Unique Photo (Booth #937): Unique Photo always has a big booth at the show, and the main reason I mention them is that their booth presentations by working pros are always very informative, and their stage with body-painted models offers a great opportunity to get some great photographs without having to hire an artist and models. For more information, including a schedule of booth talks, visit this page.

5. Panasonic (Booth #837): I mention Panasonic’s booth for a few reasons. First, they, like a number of other camera manufacturers, are offering free clean and checks of their cameras during the show. Also, in the booth this year will be Frederick Van Johnson, host of This Week in Photography (TwiP). The show is one of my favorite photo-related podcasts, and it’s one that I have had the honor of being a guest on a few times over the years. Frederick will be conducting interviews with Pros who use Panasonic gear. The interviews will also be recorded, and you can find a link to them (as well as a contest to win a Lumix GM5 camera) on this page.

There are many other booths I could highlight, but I want to make this post live ASAP, so I’ll be back soon with more of my suggestions.

Enjoy the show if you plan to visit!

The Quick Chek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning Returns to NJ July 25-27, 2014

Get your cameras ready! An incredible event is taking place in NJ this Friday through Sunday July 25-27, 2014. This year’s QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning is the 32nd annual running of the event, and it’s happening at Solberg Airport in Readington, NJ from Fri. July 25 to Sunday, July 27, 2014. The photo opportunities at the festival are always incredible, and it looks like the weather will be perfect for the Friday balloon ascensions at 6:30am (Open to members with press passes, photographers and photo club members). There are also planned morning and afternoon balloon ascensions on Saturday and a planned morning ascension Sunday. I write “planned” because all ascensions are weather permitting. I plan to be there bright and early on Friday morning (and possibly on other days) taking photos with many other pro and amateur photographers and videographers.

There are also a lot of family-friendly events during the day, including a “Famous Movie Cars Exhibit,” rides for kids, and juggling/magic shows. And there are a LOT of food options, including many food trucks and a “pop-up” QuickChek store. The bands that they have lined up, including America (8pm on Friday), Three Doors Down (8pm on Saturday), and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts (3pm on Sunday) look pretty amazing as well. You can either purchase reserved seats, or you can just enjoy the show from a lawn chair or blanket outside the main show area with your entrance to the festival since the concerts are all held outdoors under a covered stage. I was there last year for the REO Speedwagon concert, and the show was absolutely fantastic. The balloons glowing in the night sky during the “Night-time Balloon Glow” made it even more enjoyable.

Below is a gallery with a few of my photographs from the 2013 Festival, as well as a 2.5 minute video from the very end of the REO Speedwagon concert (includes a few seconds showing the “Wicked” Broadway show balloon glowing) to give you a feel for what it’s like to be there:

BE SURE TO ADJUST YOUR SPEAKERS for when the concert video appears (you’ll see a play button in the center of the screen).

For a good overview of the show, here is a link to a very informative interview from CBS News with Executive Producer Howard Freeman.

To get a better idea of exactly what to expect at the show, and to see a listing of all of the bands who are scheduled to play, below are direct links to the full schedule from the Festival website for each of the three days (I recommend printing these out or taking them with you on a mobile device so that you can get the most from the Festival):

Friday Event Schedule (PDF)
Saturday Event Schedule (PDF)
Sunday Event Schedule (PDF) 

Ticket Information and 33% off Tickets Available Until 11:59 pm Thurs. 7/24/2014

General ticket information can be found on this page, including links to information on purchasing balloon ride tickets. General Admission Tickets are $10 for children (age 4-12, children 3 and under are free) and $20 for adults when ordered by 11:59pm on Thurs. 7/24/2014. After that, they are $15 and $30 respectively. Other ticket options can be found under the “Tickets” section of the website.

Just in case this is your first time at the Festival, any general admission tickets purchased are valid for one day only. You can also avoid a $3/ticket online ordering surcharge by purchasing tickets at a QuickCheck store (here is a link to a page where you can search for a QuickChek location).

 

Adobe Announces Photoshop CS6 Beta (Now Available for Download) Plus Video and Web Links

Many (including me) have been anticipating the release of Photoshop CS6, and it has officially arrived as Photoshop CS6 Beta. That means you can download it for free from this link on Adobe’s website (the download is 984 MB for the Mac OS, and 1.7 GB for Windows). There are quite a few new features, as well as a new interface (that came as quite a surprise to me, and I’m slowly getting used to it). This important note about the Beta from Adobe’s site is worth highlighting:

Photoshop CS6 beta includes all the features in Photoshop CS6 and Photoshop CS6 Extended. Take this opportunity to try out the 3D image editing and quantitative image analysis capabilities of Photoshop Extended*, but note that—while these features will be included in the shipping version of Photoshop CS6 Extended—they will not be included in the shipping version of Photoshop CS6.

Until I have more time with the Beta, I thought I’d share some impressive videos and helpful links to more information about it. First, below is a fantastic 10 minute video by Russell Brown of Adobe, who covers six new features of PSCS6:

Next, is this page with great information (including videos and screen shots) on Photoshop CS6 Beta by Colin Smith of PhotoshopCAFE.

And last for now is NAPP’s excellent coverage of Photoshop CS6 Beta (free for members or non-members of NAPP):

What surprised me most about Photoshop CS6 Beta? The video capabilities. Russell Brown’s video shows a quick overview, and I’m guessing you’ll be surprised as well when you see what’s inside.

And while you’re learning more about Photoshop, I have a number of Lightroom 4-related workshops coming soon in New Jersey and New York City. Links for full descriptions and registration information can be found below:

Using Lightroom for Inkjet Printing and Color Management
Location: Calumet Photo, New York City – Date: Sat., March 31, 2012

Lightroom 4 Workflows: How to Organize, Retouch & Print Your Images
Location: du Cret School of the Arts (NJ) – Date: Sat., April 7, 2012