New Orleans Greenscreen Event

We live in interesting times!!!

Photography certainly has evolved over the 40 years since I first got “hooked” with my Dad’s Pentax K1000. I photographed all through high-school as the senior yearbook photographer with that camera and a Rikoh KR-5, switching to the Pentax Program Plus and ME Super in college. I upgraded to medium format Mamiya 645 when I turned pro after college. When auto-focus technology arrived, I converted to Nikon N8008, N90, and F100. Things got really interesting when digital hit the scene. I was an early adopter with the D100, progressing to the D2x, D3, D4, D5, and many other variations in between. Most recently, the big change has been switching to mirrorless. I’m currently working with the Z9 and loving it!

But what’s really cool is how cameras and computers have become so integrated! Last week I had a fantastic time photographing a greenscreen event in New Orleans for one of our favorite clients, the US Grains Council! Similar to how the weatherman shows you the maps on TV, I used a green background that the computer would later drop out and replace with a digital background.  With my D5 tethered to one laptop, Lightroom would instantly import the image. Then a special program from the awesome team at Photo Party Upload would watch that “hot folder” and pop the image up in an intuitive kiosk app.  If the first laptop was still being used by the previous guest in the booth, I had a second laptop set up with the same kiosk app running on it for the next person to use.  After getting their picture made, guests would go to one of the kiosks to choose which background image they wanted, and use the touchscreen to pinch and zoom their photo, placing themselves in the “scene” wherever they wanted. Finally, they could instantly share the final image on social media, or simply email it to themselves.

It was so much fun watching everyone get creative and have fun with the system! 40 years ago, if you had told me I’d be doing this king of “magic” with today’s technology, I would have told you you were crazy!!! 🙂

Commodity Classic in New Orleans

The Commodity Classic is America’s largest farmer-led, farmer-focused agricultural & educational experience! It’s a massive 3-day event where farmers gather every year to find the answers, solutions, and information they need to gain greater clarity and vision for their farm’s success.

This weekend, I had the pleasure of photographing the 2022 conference and trade-show for the US Grains Council.  They are an amazing organization, focused on developing markets for American corn, barley, and sorghum…enabling trade…and improving lives. The 3-day program was held at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. With over 7,000 attendees, it was a huge success!!!

(All images captured with Nikon Z9, Nikkor 24-70 f2.8 S, and Lexar XQD cards.)

US Grains Council 19th International Marketing Conference – Day 3

The 3rd and final day of the 19th International Marketing Conference and 62nd Annual Membership Meeting at the Hyatt Regency in Greenville was a time to celebrate!

All the Advisory Team Leaders shared the progress reports and final results from their intense break-out meetings. Recognition Awards for exemplary service were handed out to deserving recipients. And final words of inspiration were shared before the conference was finally adjourned.

It was an absolute pleasure being back in person, photographing another fabulous event for the US Grains Council!

US Grains Council 19th International Marketing Conference – Day 2

Day 2 of the 19th International Marketing Conference and 62nd Annual Membership Meeting at the Hyatt Regency in Greenville begin with some fantastic presentations. But the majority of the day was spent in break-out meetings, focusing on different sectors of the market.

That night, everyone got to blow off some steam during an off-site reception at the famous BBQ at Zen!

US Grains Council 19th International Marketing Conference – Day 1

Day 1 of the 19th International Marketing Conference and 62nd Annual Membership Meeting at the Hyatt Regency in Greenville started off with a bang!

A very full schedule included highlight appearances from Mayor Pro Tem of Greenville, Lillian Flemming…Ryan LeGrand, President and CEO of the USGC…Ambassador Katherine Tai…Jason Hafemeister, Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs…Sharon Yuan, President of The Asia Group…and many more!

A casual Welcome Reception Welcome Reception was held in Noma Square that evening so everyone could de-compress from the days events.

US Grains Council 19th International Marketing Conference – Day 0

Following two years of cancellations, postponements, virtual, and hybrid meetings, the US Grains Council was finally back to having in-person meetings!

The 19th International Marketing Conference and 62nd Annual Membership Meeting was held at the Hyatt Regency Greenville. The Greenville downtown area has been completely revitalized over the last decade. It’s a beautiful city, with tons to offer. And this year’s conference was held right in the middle of it!

Arriving in town the day before the conference began, I was able to photograph a wonderful reception hosted by the outgoing chairman of the board, Jim Raben. It was a wonderful evening at Jack n’ Diane’s Dualing Piano Bar. Spirits were high as everyone re-connected with one another, and prepared for the 3 days of intense presentations and meetings that lay ahead.

CTAR Event – Harbour Club at Westedge

Getting to see and experience all the beautiful venues around Charleston is one of the highlights of my job!

It’s been a pleasure working with the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors for many years. Everyone is always so fun and friendly. I always enjoy photographing their programs. And Claire does an AMAZING job of organizing everything!

Last week I had the pleasure of photographing their end-of-year holiday luncheon at the new Harbour Club at Westedge. It’s a gorgeous location with an amazing view of the city skyline. The staff was wonderful to work with. And I loved all the natural light from the massive windows that wrap around the room!

I’d like to congratulate all the new inductees into their new roles for the coming year!

WP Chrysler Club Conference

It was great to be back at Belmond Charleston Place this week, photographing the WP Chrysler Club sales meeting.

The program started off with a welcome reception for all the sales leaders and their significant others. My friend Gary and I partnered up to provide couples portraits, which Gary printed and delivered on-site for the guests to take home as a memento of the evening. We also photographed head-shots for the various dealership owners. Then everyone enjoyed a beautiful cocktail hour, followed by a fabulous dinner!

The next morning I photographed the business meeting, including all the networking opportunities, the keynote speakers, and of course the award presentations to the top sales leaders.  CONGRATULATIONS to Chris & Joel for their achievements!

At the end of the day, everyone gathered for a big group photo on the famous Grand Staircase. That was the last “official” duty before everyone dispersed to partake in their various free-time activities, including golf, shopping, carriage tours, etc.  As soon as I snapped the last frame, everyone scattered like school kids on the last day of class before summer break!  😉

I’ve been slowly incorporating the new Nikon Z system into some of my shooting. Although most of these images were photographed with my trusty Nikon D5, many were captured with the Z6II, which I’m very impressed with. However, there are still a few things that have left me wondering “why did they do that?!?”. The jury is still out as to whether I will fully switch over to mirrorless.  But so far it’s been fun to play with.  So stay tuned…

Elanco Livestock Legend at Middleton Place

Earlier this week I had the priviledge of photographing the Elanco Livestock Legend event at Middleton Plantation.

It was a beautiful fall evening with clear skies and perfect temperatures. As soon as the group arrived, I was able to photograph candid portraits of the award winners with their spouses. Then with drinks in hand, they strolled the grounds with personal guides telling about the history of this amazing plantation. Arriving at the Stableyards just after sunset, a casual cocktail hour included more interesting history told by blacksmiths and potters. Then it was off to The Pavilion for good food, lively conversation, and dancing. Plus of course the various regions got to have their group photos made!

It was a lovely evening celebrating the company’s accomplishments. Many thanks to Missy at Absolutely Charleston, and Samantha at Middleton Place for making it such a successful event!

USGC 61st Board of Delegates Meeting – Day 3

Day 3 of the US Grains Council’s 61st Annual Board of Delegates Meeting kicked off with more meetings in the big conference room, including great presentations, awards ceremonies, and votes for new officers.

Then I got to switch gears and turn to photographing headshots of the new board members, plus group photos of the new board of directors. I used the Nikon D5 + 70-200 f2.8 with the new Godox X2T transmitter in connection with 6 of the V860II flashes.  For destination events, I carry the Manfrotto 5001B light-stands, which are super compact and great to travel with. The flashes worked beautifully, and everyone was fantastic to work with!

Once the portraits were done, I had to pack in a hurry and head to the airport to catch my flight home. The entire event was a HUGE success!!! Many thanks to the US Grains Council Staff for all their hard work putting everything together and making it run so smoothly.

USGC 61st Board of Delegates Meeting – Day 2

Day 2 of the US Grains Council’s 61st Annual Board of Delegates Meeting started off with headshots for some new staff members. I love meeting new people!!! 🙂

After that we had tons of presentations, both in person and virtually. This was the first year of hosting a “hybrid” meeting, in which most of the international staff and attendees couldn’t be there in person. Everything went incredibly well thanks to all the hard work and planning that had been put into the conference!

At the end of the day, everyone celebrated in an off-site event. The USGC hosted “A Taste of Des Moines” at Cowles Commons, which is a big beautiful square with fountains and gardens in the heart of the city. There was food, drinks, an amazing band…everyone had a fantastic time!

With Day 2 in the books, everyone headed back to the hotel to rest up and get ready for the big finale the following day.

USGC 61st Board of Delegates Meeting – Day 1

Last year’s Board of Delegates Meeting got cancelled due to the pandemic. So it was with great pleasure that I was invited back to photograph the US Grains Council’s 61st Annual Board of Delegates Meeting this year!!!

This year’s conference was held in Des Moines, IA. I’d never been there before. It’s actually a really cool city, with a truly impressive state capital building! The meetings were held in the Iowa Events Center, which was connected via a sky-bridge to the Hilton Des Moines Downtown, where everyone was staying. The first day’s highlight was the keynote presentaion by Tom Vilsack, the US Secretary of Agriculture!

I’ve been photographing these conferences for the USGC for about a decade. The staff, and most of the members, have become more than just clients to me…they’ve become my friends. It was absolutely wonderful to see everyone again, and capture all these moments for them!