PhotoPLUS Expo 2007

by Micah Walter

9 hours, 7 minutes, 45 seconds. I can barely contain myself. Leopard is coming out today and I have been chomping at the bit to write about it ever since I received my Developer’s Preview at Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference back in June. But I will have to continue to wait for another 8 hours 53 minutes and 35 seconds. Oh well.

While I wait, I thought I would talk a little about this year PhotoPLUS Expo in New York City. The show was pretty big as usual. This year I worked the booth for the Aperture Users Professional Network. If you haven’t joined yet, I highly recommend you jump over to the site and register. The paid membership is a really great deal considering you can attend any of the Road Tour stops for free. If you are in need of some Aperture help, take the 8 hour Road Tour course the next time it is in a city near you. You will walk out of that room having learned just about everything that can be done with Aperture. It’s a really great course, and you really can’t beat the price.

The booth was busy all three days. We had a classroom set up in the front of the booth where we were teaching three different 30 minute courses every half hour. I was stationed at the back of the booth where we had three workstations set up and staff waiting to answer questions in a one-on-one environment.

One of the neat things about working the booth was that I had my first opportunity to really sit down and use Aperture on a dual display. We had a Mac Pro with 4 gigs of ram and two 23 inch monitors set up. Aperture in dual screen mode is a dream to use. It is so easy and enjoyable to edit images and I got really excited about using the three-up mode for sorting through images. I had never tried this on a dual mode display before and it was really nice. I set the left display to show the three-up images in the viewer and the right display to show my currently selected image full res. By the end of the show I was shopping online at the Apple store, building my ultimate Mac Pro workstation. It’s just too bad that I will have to wait until I move back to the states to get one!

Another cool trick I learned from the AUPN guys is three-up zoomed mode. When you are in three-up mode you can click the Z key to zoom in on all three images at the same time. You can even scroll and pan around each image independently, as well as all at once. This could be really handy when trying to determine the best shot form a sequence.

While working at the booth I got all kinds of questions. It really amazed me how many photographers hadn’t even heard of Aperture (or Lightroom for that matter). So many people out there are still using the Finder and Photoshop as their workflow mainstays. I just don’t get it!

Here are a few of my favorite questions from the show.

“Is this editing software?”
“Are Apples good for creative people?”
“Okay, I bought Aperture, haven’t really played with it yet, how do I get started?”
“Do you like Aperture better than Lightroom?”
“Are you guys the magazine?”
“Where is the bathroom?”

There were many more, but those were my favorites. By the end of the show I was pretty worn out. We worked the booth all day and each evening we attended numerous industry parties. I’m pretty sure I saw Derrick Story walking through the crowd at the AUPN party at Industrial Color (he is pretty hard to miss). But I never got a chance to say hello as I was overwhelmed by the spectacular view from the 22nd floor overlooking Brooklyn and the Bronx.

This years PPE was fairly uneventful in terms of new product announcements. I was hoping for an Aperture update, but I didn’t get one. Nikon was busy showing off their new D3 (which looks amazing) and Canon has two new lenses that I won’t be able to afford any time soon. I had a nice time over at the Leica booth, drooling over the M8 and their new line of “affordable” lenses, and I stopped by the R.I.T. booth (my alma matter) to sign their guest book and say hello. But, most of the time I stood at the AUPN booth and showed off Aperture.

If you have never been to a PPE you should definitely try and go next year. If anything, it is a great way to shop for new gear and try out just about everything under the sun in the photography industry. Oh, and if you do have a chance to go, after you hit the AUPN booth, be sure to walk over to SInarBron. They always have an “interesting” setup!

8 hours 32 minutes 23 seconds....