Multiple years ago now I worked at an event at Roberts Camera here in Indy called the EDU Expo.  It’s been around for a while now, and each year I have either attended, presented, or otherwise helped out in some way.  It’s a great event, filled with great people, and I’m honored to know them.  You can read about one of my visits HERE at the beginning of a year in review I did.  Many of those folks are part of an organization named the University Photographers Association of America. Or UPAA for short and the Roberts EDU expo caters towards University Photographers or Photography Educators.  Since early on, the UPAA President has been asking me to make the trip to one of the Symposiums, thinking it would be right up my alley.  One year they had Joe McNally speak, another they had Joey Terrill, and many others over the 58 years they have done the Symposium.  This year was at Grand Valley State University in Allendale Michigan, and the keynote speaker from Nikon was none other than one of my heroes.  Dave Black.

(Here Dave just got finished summoning an incredible sunset to photograph a ballerina in front of.)

For me, the Symposium is something I’ve wanted to do for years but the bill comes out of my pocket as a freelancer so admittedly it all came down to cost.  Driving distance to GVSU is about 4 hours for me and that’s nothing.  Then GVSU opened up the dorms for everyone to stay in at the incredibly generous rate of $375 for the week.  I was IN, and I put it on my calendar.  Witha big list of speakers from Nikon, Canon, Sony, Fuji, Profoto and etc it was a really interesting week and I feel like everybody left inspired to go and do something great!

(My view for Dave’s presentation and shot of the ballerina. I used a longer exposure to catch the strobe and a little motion)

I’ll be honest, I didn’t shoot as much as I had thought that I would.  For me, though it was about soaking the experience in, as opposed to trying to photograph any and everything.  Plus to me, just seeing Dave work and interact with everyone was enough.  I also knew that whatever Dave did, we wouldn’t have time to do it ourselves and that was fine.  I’m pretty good at following directions, and I can try and remake my own image later.  (rest assured, this is going to happen).

(UK Photographer of the Movies David James during his presentation)

The week was spectacular.  Lot of education, lot of old and new friendships, lot of networking.  Saw and listened to Terrell Lloyd, David James, Brian Smith and of course, Dave Black.  if you read the blog, and do work for a school of some kind you should become an associate member.  That’s all it takes to be involved in the UPAA.  I’ve been a member for years now and this is the first time I’ve made it to the Symposium.  Rest assured though, I’m going to start saving my pennies to head to next years now.  Who doesn’t want to visit and shoot at the Utah Salt flats?  More Soon.