WPPI in Las Vegas
On March 6th, I boarded a plane in Ithaca along with a trio of Ithaca photographers, Shai Eynav, Frank DiMeo, and Bob Kaussner, to head for the WPPI Convention (Wedding and Portrait Photographers International) in Las Vegas. We were bound there to represent Spider Holster at the trade show. Spider Holster is Shai’s invention and his company and this is the second major trade show where it was shown since it’s recent release to the market. Visit his website at http://www.spiderholster.com to get the full scoop, but suffice it to say, it’s a belt and holster system designed to rid you of camera straps around your neck and shoulders and is the greatest photo gear invention since sliced bread. We were also accompanied by Chris, Leslie, and Sophie who were working for Shai. So off we went to spend a few days telling everyone that we could at the MGM Grand about all the reasons why they need this great piece of equipment.
I had not been to Vegas other than to pass through on my way out to California years ago. It’s just as one might expect, however. Very big, very garish, and wide streets flanked by huge facades like a cross between a giant Hollywood set and an adult Disneyland. You get the feeling that if you walk through the door to one of these facades, you’ll find yourself on the other side standing out in the desert. The MGM Grand seems to go on forever, sprawling across what feels like blocks. Inside everything is big except for the women’s skirts which seemed to be as small as legal limits would tolerate. The casino spreads over a huge area and took a couple of days to learn how to find our way through with any success. Acres of slot machines and gaming tables, flashing lights and bright colors, ringing bells and cigarette smoke (something I’ve grown used to not finding in public buildings). Although I did notice that the ventilation system was pretty effective and occasionally seemed to be augmented with pleasant fragrances aimed at keeping everyone happy and stress free.
The interior of the hotel is done in an Art Deco motif reminiscent of the old movie houses. The hallways are extremely long, the restaurants are extremely good and extremely expensive, but the average rooms are typical hotel bland. The views were amazing from our rooms on the 20th floor looking out at New York New York, the Tropicana, and the Excalibur clustered around the intersection. And in the distance, the mountains to the west of the valley.
The MGM has a huge pool complex with about six different swimming pools. I had some fun shooting reflections having forgotten my swim suit.
It was a long walk to the convention center which was packed with everything for wedding and portrait photographers from cameras to lights to all manner of gear, albums, prints, software, seminars and demonstrations. I was told there were 14,000 attendees, so a huge crowd from all over the world. Big names in the trade rubbing elbows and chatting it up, big parties to late hours. It was quite the experience. Spider Holster booth was extremely busy and constantly buzzing with great interest from everyone that stopped and experienced our product. David Ziser, renowned wedding and portrait photographer, was kind enough to stop by and visit and even make a short video clip showing off the Spider Holster. It should show up on his blog in the future. Great fun.
I gave myself permission to gamble a bit (why not? It’s Vegas after all) setting myself a limit to lose of $100. Frank, who has had far more experience than I at these tables and machines (he got married in Vegas, thus his nickname of Frankie V) introduced me to a few of his favorite slot machines. The second day there I sat down and won $30 playing a Wheel of Fortune slot outside our breakfast buffet. Okay, off to a good start! Over the next couple of days, I of course lost that and $80 more. Oh well. Then nearing the end of our stay, we sat down at another spinner type of slot that Frank said was his favorite machine. He put in some money and invited me to play with him. We were waiting for Shai and Bob to come down from upstairs, so I said, why not. After we had won $120 we cashed out and Frank split it with me, so I felt like a bit of lucky recovery. Still waiting, he said, “Let’s put another $40 in and keep playing”. So I agreed. About 15 minutes later we were hooting and hollering and drawing all kinds of attention, having run up over $1000 in winnings and finally cashed out at $900. I blew another $20 at the airport, but came home way ahead. That’s always a good way to leave Las Vegas.
A fabulous trip, great images, and great friends. Thanks, guys, for including me and especially thanks to Shai and Spider Holster. I would love to do it again.
All Images are Copyright © George Cannon, All Rights Reserved.
A P.S. to this. Many of these shots were taken with my new little Canon G10. For a pocket camera, I have to say I’m very impressed with the results. Nice going Canon.