I was able to go to The Photoshop World Conference again in the spring of 2011. It felt so good to be back.
The Orange County Convention Center is cavernous and full of beautiful archways. I spent most of my time in the expo center. Even though I wasn't able to attend many of the classes I still had a wonderful time. The expo center was bustling with information and enthusiastic presenters. I filled every moment trying to absorb as much information as I could.
While I was walking around I ran into Rod Harlan again and he invited me to the Midnight Madness Party. A long standing slogan of the Midnight Madness party ensures that "you won't learn a thing". It is an event designed for pure entertainment. Multiple boxes of donuts are passed around as participants playfully compete for prizes. Robert Vanelli, one of the Photoshop World organizers, becomes the life of the party and he interacts with the crowd causing waves of laughter.
After Midnight Madness I went up to thank Rod for inviting me. He told me that a group of the instructors was headed to a late dinner at a 24 hour restaurant in the Peabody Hotel across the street, and he welcomed me to that as well. "Of course" I said enthusiastically. How on earth could I turn that down?
It felt like Boston all over again. I couldn't believe I was lucky enough to be having dinner with all these industry professionals all over again. I was on cloud nine.
Even the walk to the Peabody was interesting. I got to meet another instructor by the name of Frank Doorhof, a Dutch fashion and celebrity photographer. It turned out to be a happy accident running into him. I had seen one of his presentations earlier but I hadn't had a chance to meet him until that moment.
(To see Frank Doorhof's work please visit: http://www.frankdoorhof.com/site/).
At the restaurant everyone gathered across two tables. I was in the mood for dessert so I ordered the grasshopper, which ended up being a massive bowl of mint chocolate chip ice cream. The conversations were just as lively as they had been all day. Everyone was happily recounting events from the day and sharing the latest technology and art information.
At one point Rod turned to me and asked about the work I was doing with DRIP. I began to tell him about some of our past events and how we had just gotten a venue on International Drive, within walking distance from the Peabody. Others began to join in our conversation. Between the great conversations and wonderful company I was thrilled. I never thought I would be able to match the wonderful experience I was so inspired by in Boston.
Robert Vanelli with other guest at dinner. Nothing but smiles and laughter.
Robert and I at the end of the Photoshop World Conference.
Rod Harlan and I posing outside of the Convention Center.
As it turns out, the amazing time I had was not a once in a lifetime event. It has recurred several times and I have the phenomenal group behind Photoshop World to thank. I am constantly inspired by this collaboration of people who joyfully educate others while remaining students themselves. The icing on the cake is that they are all genuinely wonderful people. I certainly believe in the power of doing what you love and loving what you do. Knowledge and joy have never been so infectious.