Friday, November 05, 2010

Friday: Tour Wrap Up, Thank You’s, and A Few Stories Along The Way

Good Morning Everybody,

12,000+ miles, 4,400+ attendees, $125,000 in door prizes, and 20 cities later I can't believe our Captured By The Light 2010 tour is over. It seems like the time has simply flown by. SacramentoIMG_0809Yep, we wrapped my CBTL tour last evening in Sacramento with over 260 photographers attending. That brings our total attendance to well over 4400 for the 20 cities we visited! From LaDawn and myself,  THANK YOU so much for making the tour one of the most successful digital photography seminars of the year!

Thanks, too, for all the wonderful emails, forum comments, blog and Facebook posts, about how much you enjoyed the program. We are truly grateful for all your positive comments.

Let me share just a Few Highlights

We wrapped the Photoshop World Convention in Las Vegas on Friday, September 3 and DAZ12 - 0001FaultLinesIMG_6246_thumbdecided to spend the weekend in Palm Springs taking in Joshua Tree National Park while we were in the area. We figured that we  could recharge our batteries before heading to Phoenix on Tuesday.   Driving across the Mojave Dessert temperatures reached 114 degrees. Something, thankfully, we don’t experience in the Greater Cincinnati area. The weekend did just what we needed, rested, rejuvenated we were ready to get started on Tuesday.

I still remember our first stop in Phoenix, what a great way to begin the tour with such a friendly and enthusiastic group of photographers. The die was cast and we had great audiences in each city for the entire tour.

Dallas offered it's own brand of excitement. Our flight from Phoenix was delayed a few hours. LaDawn needs several hours of preparation time prior to the program. Her timeline was disappearing. Texas size storms had hit the area and we almost had to evacuate into the back hallways of the hotel.

While I was in the middle of the program, tornadoes were spotted within 3 miles of our hotel.  LaDawn along with hotel management and hotel security were literally watching the weather reports just in case the weather conditions became anymore threatening. Luckily I was able to finish the program without incident - that was close.

DAZ16 - IMG_6572_thumb[2] On to Houston. We arrived in plenty of time to set-up properly. LaDawn is MUCH happier. Just minutes to the start of the program LaDawn receives a phone call that her Mother has passed away after a long extended illness.

Next it was off to the 2nd and 3rd legs of our trip beginning in Detroit where I gave the program in a former Jewish synagogue now turned event center and then ending the week in Minneapolis. While in Detroit, I did fulfilled my dream of preaching from the pulpit ;~)

LaDawn flies home early Tuesday morning from Detroit to be with family for the funeral of her Mother on Wednesday. Damien and Sharon from my staff make the long drive to Chicago to help with the Chicago presentation. Thanks for their help, the presentation went smoothly.

DAZ10 - Ziser Seminar-1003_thumb[8] I made the long 2 day drive from Chicago to Minneapolis and LaDawn flew back to Minneapolis on Thursday morning. I missed looking at the back of the room and seeing LaDawn’s smiling face during the seminar in Chicago and I’m glad we are together in Minneapolis.

Friday morning I fly home for a big wedding weekend celebration. LaDawn had the responsibility of getting our trusty minivan and supplies to Denver – another two day drive away.  I caught up with her in Denver on Sunday afternoon, chilled Sunday evening and kicked things off again Monday night in the mile high city.

DAZ13 - AustinPiperandGregWalker_thumb3 We took Tuesday off so we could make the long drive from Denver to Kansas City. What a drive it was seeing the wonderful desolation of the countryside for a good deal of that long journey. Kansas City  again was filled with excited photographers eager to learn including our youngest attendees, 16 year olds, Austin and Greg.

Next onto St. Louis. There was one mishap in St. Louis. I managed to fall off the stage during the presentation. Don't worry, landing on my feet I was OK - just a misstep because of the patterned carpet on the stage was the exact same carpet as on the floor. It was hard to spot the edge of the stage in the dim lighting conditions during the presentation.The inherent dangers of presenting programs, I guess ;~)

We headed back home on Friday finishing the two week journey with six seminars completed and over 3,000 miles on the odometer. I was the MC and host for my Kentucky Professional Photographers Association, KPPA, 4 hour webcast on Sunday.  We  regrouped, packed new supplies and caught up on studio chores the remainder of the week.

DAZ8 - Cumberland Hall[4] Then Monday, October 4, we headed to Nashville where I presented the program in a Marriott meeting space that looked like an airplane hanger - really a unique and even STRANGER space.

DAZ7 - Rock City[6] From Nashville it was on to Atlanta. To our surprise, the Double Tree hotel has a meeting going on till 5:00 p.m. – the time we need to be set up for our program!  The staff thought it would be NO big deal to rearrange the room - HA - and LaDawn went into over-drive to be sure things were perfect come show time.

The real excitement begins anew in Charlotte. We arrive at the hotel only to find that the  hotel staff had set the room completely the wrong way. Yes, we do send the hotel detailed diagrams, several photos, and descriptions of EXACTLY how the room needs to be set. But as the Bible says, "They have eyes but do not see....". We had to reset and turn the entire room and staging 90 degrees.

DAZ6 - FireTruck24 Wait, there's more. This was the location where the fire alarm went off not once, but twice during my program with the entire hotel including me, LaDawn and all of our  190 attendees evacuating to the parking lot in the process! You thought I talked fast in your city, you should have heard me in Charlotte trying to complete the program after several delays!

DAZ4 - MiracleIMG_8807Edit5 We  spent the weekend in Washington, D.C. area catching our breath and doing the tourist thing - all good fun and then kicked off leg 5 on Monday October 11 in Rockville Maryland,  hitting the four busiest cites along the East coast, Philadelphia PA, Newark NJ and Boston MA. Always an adventure.

Our Newark location, actually the Sheraton at the Meadowlands, offered a great view of NYC, but proved to be a driving DAZ3 - RoomWithAViewIMG_92936nightmare for some of our attendees as traffic caused many to arrive late. East coast traffic ;~(

Philadelphia is a unique hotel as LaDawn can actually load and unload the van from inside the hotel. The loading dock was behind my staging. A really nice group of attendees too.

We wrapped the week in Boston on Thursday and left the next day for the long 2-day drive back home to the Northern KY.  Boy, the drive back was the highlight of the entire tour for me. We stopped about half way home and stayed in Dubois, PA, where it turns out, they had recently discovered natural gas reserves. The entire town was abuzz with drilling activity.

DAZ2 - Trip HomeIMG_9665[5] But that wasn't the best part of the trip. The best part was finding out that Punxsutawney, PA - home of legendary Punxsutawney Phil, the best groundhog weather prognosticator in the world  was only 20 minutes away! This was also the town in which Groundhog Day was filmed. I was bubbling over with excitement ;~) ld-says…DAZ is such a cornball geek! ;~)

The big upside of this detour was the utterly breathtaking beautiful drive through rural Pennsylvania and Amish country at the height of fall color. We finally landed back in good ol' KY on Saturday evening, prepped for my Master Class on Sunday and kicked off the  week-long class on Monday morning. No rest for the wicked, as they say. The "wicked" - that can't be me. It must be LaDawn. Let's see if she deletes this on her edit ;~) ld- Ha, ha, ha!

We are home for another week. We added a quick trip to Columbus, OH for my CBTL presentation on Tuesday and again Mother Nature decided to bless us with exciting weather conditions. Nothing as big as Dallas, but always a concern.

It was after my overly enthusiastic presentation, mostly at door prize time, that I strained my voice. I was still a little "froggy" for the rest of the week. A BIG Bat Mitzvah celebration completed my week’s activities and worsened the conditions of my voice after shouting all weekend over the loud music.

While I’m shooting, LaDawn packs the bags for the West Coast and final leg of the trip. We leave early Sunday morning for Los Angeles CA.

CalifIMG_0771 Monday we are in Ontario CA, Tuesday, Woodland Hills, CA where we recorded my entire presentation, froggy voice and all. We made the pretty long drive to Sacramento, CA on Wednesday. Actually LaDawn does almost all the driving so I can blog, take phone calls, check in with our staff at home and grab some drive-by-shooting images.

We had a great run up the West Coast this week with large crowds in every city. I have to admit, as I got closer to the end of the program last evening, I was really looking forward to our short vacation these next six days.

DAZ 1 -Trip HomeIMG_9556_thumb[3] I said it before and I'll say it again. LaDawn and I thoroughly enjoy our scenic cross country drives, but more importantly, seeing old friends and making new friends along the way is truly a highlight of the tour.

We also had the good fortune of traveling with our friends and VIP sponsor reps. That has included Steve, Jim, Rick, and Pat from ACI; Jesica and Gabe from B&H Photo and Video; Charlie and Jerome from Graphic Authority; Zak and Harry from MorePhotos; Bill and John from Marathon Press; and Peter and Mike from Quantum.

ThankYouBig_thumb3 It goes without saying that I owe our 26 sponsors a giant THANK YOU for being part of the tour and I'll say it right now - THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!!!! My thanks also to our dozens of volunteers who helped in getting the rooms organized, Welcome Packets assembled and were wonderful assistants to LaDawn during the breaks.

Also, my thanks go out to my team back home that helped with any registration and customer service over the course of the tour, packed and shipped supplies, coordinated door-prizes and kept my studio clients well taken care of during the Tour.

And finally my heartfelt thanks to my wife, LaDawn, who kept the "wheels on the wagon" as we traveled throughout the country. She's really the one that pulls everything together for the tour and keeps it running smoothly till the end. Thanks Sweetie!


Hey gang, that’s it for me today.  We got a few hours sleep last night, woke to an early morning wake-up call, and are off to jump on the Napa Valley Wine train by 10:30 a.m. – we can’t wait.

We’re hangin’ out in the Napa and Sonoma Valleys over the weekend and then moving down to San Jose on Sunday.  Next week I’m presenting a program for the good folks at Google.  We’ve visited Google last year and are looking forward to our second visit on Monday.

How about I see everyone next week – same time, same place.  Have a great weekend, and I’ll see you then.


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