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.

Global Ethanol Summit – Washington DC

A few months ago, I had the honor of photographing the Global Ethanol Summit at the Captial Hilton in Washington, DC.

The Summit was an invitation-only meeting for Minister level officials and senior level industry leaders, ethanol producers, and refiners across global ethanol markets. It was an engaging event with, with approximately 350 attendees, about the benefits of creating or expanding ethanol policies with a role for trade. Expanding on previous regiounal events, this year’s Summit builds on current momentum of increased global ethanol trade.

Orchestrated by the US Grains Council (USGC), the event was held over the course of two days, and packed with informative general sessions, leading keynote speakers, networking opportunities, and dedicated trade time. The Global Ethanol Summit was a great opportunity for attendees to hear from thought-leaders on the future of global ethanol use and to build partnerships with industry professionals.

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USGC 17th Internationall Marketing Conference – Day 3

Last week I had the pleasure of Photographing the US Grains Council’s 17th International Marketing Conference at the Hilton Downtown Tampa, Florida. It also happened to be the Council’s 60th Annual Membership Meeting, which made it extra special!

In keeping with Chairman Darren Armstrong’s theme of “Make Something Happen”, members had opportunities to visit directly with the Council’s staff from around the globe, build relationships with them, and deepen their understanding of the critical efforts they undertake for the US grains industry. In addition, Advisory Teams held in-depth meetings, offering the chance to provide recommendations to develop markets, enable trade and improve lives. Plus of course there was an incredible lineup of fantastic speakers, experts, and panels during the general session.

After three long but fulfilling days together, everyone left the meeting with a renewed dedication to the work at hand of promoting coarse grains and ethanol exports for US farmers. And I left with a sense of accomplishment at having faced the many challenges of dark conference rooms and grueling 12-hour days loaded down with camera gear, to come away with a collection of images that truly captured the spirit of the event!

Here are a few favorites from Day 3…

USGC 17th Internationall Marketing Conference – Day 2

Last week I had the pleasure of Photographing the US Grains Council’s 17th International Marketing Conference at the Hilton Downtown Tampa, Florida. It also happened to be the Council’s 60th Annual Membership Meeting, which made it extra special!

In keeping with Chairman Darren Armstrong’s theme of “Make Something Happen”, members had opportunities to visit directly with the Council’s staff from around the globe, build relationships with them, and deepen their understanding of the critical efforts they undertake for the US grains industry. In addition, Advisory Teams held in-depth meetings, offering the chance to provide recommendations to develop markets, enable trade and improve lives. Plus of course there was an incredible lineup of fantastic speakers, experts, and panels during the general session.

After three long but fulfilling days together, everyone left the meeting with a renewed dedication to the work at hand of promoting coarse grains and ethanol exports for US farmers. And I left with a sense of accomplishment at having faced the many challenges of dark conference rooms and grueling 12-hour days loaded down with camera gear, to come away with a collection of images that truly captured the spirit of the event!

Here are a few favorites from Day 2…

USGC 17th Internationall Marketing Conference – Day 1

Last week I had the pleasure of Photographing the US Grains Council’s 17th International Marketing Conference at the Hilton Downtown Tampa, Florida. It also happened to be the Council’s 60th Annual Membership Meeting, which made it extra special!

In keeping with Chairman Darren Armstrong’s theme of “Make Something Happen”, members had opportunities to visit directly with the Council’s staff from around the globe, build relationships with them, and deepen their understanding of the critical efforts they undertake for the US grains industry. In addition, Advisory Teams held in-depth meetings, offering the chance to provide recommendations to develop markets, enable trade and improve lives. Plus of course there was an incredible lineup of fantastic speakers, experts, and panels during the general session.

After three long but fulfilling days together, everyone left the meeting with a renewed dedication to the work at hand of promoting coarse grains and ethanol exports for US farmers. And I left with a sense of accomplishment at having faced the many challenges of dark conference rooms and grueling 12-hour days loaded down with camera gear, to come away with a collection of images that truly captured the spirit of the event!

Here are a few favorites from Day 1…

USGC Board of Delegates Meeting – Day 3

Day 3 of the 2019 US Grains Council Board of Delegates Meeting was full of excitement and anticipation for the year ahead!

The morning started off with the Board of Delegates Meeting, which included excellent presentations from the various team leaders, voting in new officers, and of course the changing of the guard as Darren Armstrong from North Carolina accepted the reigns from Jim Stitzlein as the new Chairman of the Board. Afterwards I had the pleasure of photographing the new Board of Directors, as well as new headshots for everyone. That afternoon we had an excellent tour of the facilities and operations of Consolidated Grain and Barge Co. Once we were back at the Hyatt Regency, I had just enough time to run down to Smale Riverfront Park and get some aerial drone photos of the Ohio River, the historic John A Roebling bridge, the Great American Ballpark, and the Cincinnati skyline.

Another successful US Grains Council conference is in the books! As usual, I had so much fun working with their amazing staff, and capturing all the exciting moments of this annual event!!!

USGC Board of Delegates Meeting – Day 2

Day 2 of the 2019 US Grains Council Board of Delegates Meeting was absolutely fabulous!

We kicked off with working breakfasts as each Sector met for meetings and discussions. The various sectors of the organization include Agribusiness, Barley, Corn, General Farm, and Sorghum. Next we had some exceptional presentations by keynote speakers Scott Sindelar, Kurt Shultz, Mike Dwyer, and Brian Healy during the General Session. During lunch we saw several distinguished Awards of Service presented, including one for 50 years of service! We also managed to wrangle a group photo with no fewer than 13 past chairmen…a record number! We had two breakout sessions after lunch, led by Bill Bryant and Andrea Durkin, respectively. And for the big off-site dinner event, we took in a Cincinnati Reds baseball game! The restaurant overlooking 3rd bass had been reserved exclussively for our group to mingle, network, and of course enjoy the game.

It was a long but super fun day of shooting!!!