So Gulf Photo Plus Popup, London happened last weekend. I was lucky enough to be able to go, and I’m damned glad I did. It’s not often that Gregory Heisler, Zack Arias, Joe McNally and David Hobby are all in one place at one time – especially since the Strobist has said he’s retiring from public speaking. Anyone who went along hoping for technique tips pitched at the aperture/shutter-speed/exact-lighting-ratio level will have been sorely disappointed – it was soooo much better than that.
For starters, each talk was different and brought a new view to the table. Heisler gave what was probably the most experientially informative lecture to which I’ve been – and it was hilarious to boot. His talk, like all the others, ran long – but no-one cared. If you can, listen to this man talk; you won’t regret it.
Zack Arias proved, beyond a shadow of a doubt that … [before I go on, could all significant others of photographers please look away for the next few words] … it’s not about the gear. At all. Although gaffer tape is, as always, absolutely essential. A word of warning, his method of sensor cleaning will probably invalidate your warranty, and when he asks for volunteers you could find yourself filling a bag with leaves during a biology-break. Zack also showed that even the best of the best can fluff it when faffing with cards and changing lighting – although, I suspect that at least some of it was pantomime. In honour of Mr Arias’ talk, the lighting for the photo above involves a handheld speed-light, two coat hangers, a white cotton button-down shirt, a business card, gaffer tape, a mirror, and nothing, but nothing, that would be considered ‘professional’.
The rapid-fire learning continued through the Fujifilm-sponsored evening session, where David Hobby talked of his love affair with the X100S, and Zack Arias talked about his street photography.
Day two started with Joe McNally. Seriously. Joe Freaking McNally. At one point he was taking photos within my arm’s reach. Like the other talks, recipes were eschewed, but there were many principles submitted for our consideration to aid in building up a lighting scheme. As you might expect he concentrated on TTL. Joe’s wife Annie was there too, and it was interesting to see how often her eyebrow went up.
David Hobby spent Sunday afternoon giving a room of people a wonderful set of ideas for having a sustainable career in photography. I won’t go into details since he asked for some of it to be kept within the room’s walls and I can’t remember which bits were covered by that request.
As a bonus, I won a raffle. My prize was a 10ft wide roll of lastolite seamless. I was going to have to buy exactly what I won in the near future, so this was great. What was less great, though, was that London Bridge station was closed for trains to home, so I had to walk the seamless to Blackfriars – ah well.
I got an early bird deal for GPP PopUp London, but even if I had to pay full price, I would have considered it great value. Ask nicely and I might even show you the pages and pages of notes I took (as sample of which you can see above).
Blog Note: Yes it has been quiet around here for a while. More to come on that in the near future.