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PhotoPlus Expo – Chapter II: Getting the Most out of Trade Shows

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on October 27, 2015 by wordsandpixels

When you walk into a large trade show such as PhotoPlus Expo, you’re assaulted with overwhelming sights, sounds and yes, even smells (New York hot dogs!). Giant exhibitions from companies like Canon, Nikon or Epson epsondominate the floor and vie for the viewer’s attention. Hundreds of smaller booths are displaying wares ranging from products to books to educational experiences — and everything in between. Where do you even begin?

Well, there are a couple of ways to tackle these shows. One is to travel in a very pre-planned direction i.e. north, south, east and west, until you’ve covered the entire floor. The other is more serendipitous. In this approach you simple bounce from one interesting booth to another, in a kind of random pattern. Sort of like a ping-pong ball. Incidentally, there’s a nice wrap-up of the show at Check it out.

sigmaHowever you do it, a day (or, heaven forbid, even two or three) can reap rich rewards.

There are seminars. There are product demos. There are opportunities to shoot live models. You can have your cameras cleaned, updated, evaluated and even sold if you wish! There are tons of exhibitions of inspiring and educational You will meet fellow photographers walking the aisles, in the same manner as you, with whom you will exchange ideas, observations and discoveries.

We thought it would be helpful to pass along some of the more interesting highlights we found. They are in no particular order (think ping-pong ball).

One innovative young camera bag designer, Ryan Cope ( showed us a brilliant backpack style camera bag that is as much at home in the office as it is in the Grand Tetons. Rocky Nook, Inc., book publishers, displayed a small but useful library of books on technique and artistry that’s guaranteedgallery to get your creative juices flowing. Yishai Shapir put on a short but powerful demo of on-the-go portrait lighting. You’ll never have an excuse to blame your results on “…but I only had one flash!”

Our old friend Peter Waisnor from Tenba explained to us how “Quiet Velcro” made opening and closing one of their new bags “stealthy” so when you’re covering an opera people don’t scowl at you. Tenba, of course, has been dishing out a huge variety of bags holding everything from subminiature cameras to huge computer displays. Well worth checking out. Another buddy from the historic archive department was Matt Hill, who among other things offers a series of workshops in night photography at National Parks around the United States.

The Josephine Herrick Project provides free photography programs using cameras as transformational tools to give a voice to all people. Very worthwhile! Check them out at Miriam Leuchter, editor of American Photo magazine was at the show, providing portfolio reviews (as were many others). There were dozens of galleries showing photographers works, but we kept coming back to Epson’s for the richness and variety of content.

cell phoneThe above are but a small sampling of the scores of photographers, writers, educators, editors, manufacturer’s reps, distributors, and friends we ran into at the show. We wore off a little shoe leather but gained so much in the end. See you at the next show!


PhotoPlus Expo – Chapter I: New Technology/Old Technology, the Smartphone

Posted in Trade Shows with tags , , , , , , , on October 23, 2015 by wordsandpixels

I was having lunch with my editor, Alison Duncan, at, and we were discussing how the one of the long-running site’s purposes is to help readers decide what camera to take on which assignment. Sounds simple, right?

Not so fast! Do you take your standard DSLR? How about that new digital P&S you just HAD to have? Or maybe that old film beater TLR you actually used back in the Pleistocene era? Or, surprise of surprises, how about that camera you always have with you, the ubiquitous smart phone?

Which brings us to the currently running “Broadway” hit show: PhotoPlus Expo. My good friend and neighbor, woodworker Gus Pedersen and I decided to drop in and see the latest technological cornucopia of products, pick up some educational content and in short have a good time meeting photographers, students, educators and industry colleagues alike.

After jostling through the crowds for some time, getting my three Fuji XE-1 cameras professionally cleaned and updated, meeting about a gazillion old friends and colleagues, and even consuming a gastrointestinal challenge in the Javits Center cafeteria, who should we happen to stumble upon but Ben Zajeski, president of Ben was surrounded by a throng of excited photographers, oohing and ahhing like grandparents at a baby’s family gathering. There, in the middle of the melee, was my friend Gus!
Gus at PhotoPlus Expo
“Yo, what ARE you buying, I asked?”

“You gotta see this, Gary,” he said, and motioned me to join him at the counter.

It wasn’t too long before even this ossified brain figured out what all the excitement was about, and for good reason. Ben had designed a simple, but incredibly well thought-out accessory for your smartphone. It is in fact a small pistol grip and case, allowing you to comfortably hold your phone/aka digital camera for long periods of time. No fatigue. No shaking caused by cramped muscles. No fiddling with small, cramped, hard-to-see screen buttons.

You simply snap in your phone, turn on the Bluetooth setting, start the “GRIP&SHOOT” app, and after making sure the Bluetooth is paired up with your phone, you start shooting! We found it truly amazing, especially with increasingly popular video (“Ready, quiet on the set! Action!” you bellow).

Included in the package was the Shooter Case for the iPhone 5, a similar case for the iPhone 4S, what Ben calls “JawZ,” to hold any phone or case, the Bluetooth Smart Grip, Grip Adapter, Carrying Pouch and Wrist Lanyard. His incredibly well-made (in the U.S., incidentally) product fits just about any smartphone out there, including iPhones, Androids, iPad minis, etc. It’s available in black or white.

The price on his Web site is just under $100, but at the show he was selling them $10 cheaper. Need I tell you this was the best $90 I spent on photography in a long while? Need I tell you that Ben was selling them like hotcakes? He was writing up orders as fast as his fingers could fly across the keyboard! People were walking away with their new tech toy and a smile on their faces, because this little piece of technology makes it easy to do what my editor and I were discussing: it puts the smart phone more into the category of a camera, with the ease of use that these phones should have had all along.