Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Gulf Photo Plus Experience

A few days ago Zack Arias posted an article on his blog DEDPIXL about how you should go to Dubai in the UAE to attend Gulf Photo Plus in March, 2015. I think Zack does a great job in explaining what GPP is all about and what is so great about it. I was particularly excited about his post because right there, right upfront was a picture of me with legendary photographer Joe McNally! I can't tell you how amazing it was to participate in Joe's workshop in Dubai last year. I had attended a Joe McNally seminar before but this was a completely different experience. Let me share a bit of my experience from 2014.

By the way, this was my view when photographer Drew Gurian snapped that photo on Zack's post as he documented the event for GPP. (Note that Drew is teaching his own workshop at GPP this year!!)

Drew Gurian interrupts my shoot with Miguel to snap a pic of me and Joe McNally for GPP in Dubai

and this was the photo that Drew interrupted...

Mega athlete, model and Emirates flight attendant Miguel showing some power

So as I was saying, GPP is different from any other photography workshop because the fact that everyone is in this amazing exotic location really brings people together. The interaction you get with the instructors, who are all pretty much legends in their field, is unparalleled.

But by far the greatest thing about GPP is that you get to interact with these amazing people outside of the workshop environment.

Here is Magnum photographer and National Geographic legend David Alan Harvey snapping iPhone pics in the hotel's rooftop bar.

...and demonstrating "beer light"

I mean, come on!! Where else can you get this?? I felt like I was in some other dimension or something, it just seemed too good to be true. And just when you think it can't get any better...

David Hobby of Strobist.com shows up with a Fuji and starts lighting people with iPhones.


And it's not just the instructors, I made some great friends there from all over the world. From a Kuwaiti air traffic controller to a crazy Australian chick living in Africa (you know who you are).

But wait! There's more!

In 2014, this guy was there. His name is Gregory Heisler. I hear he's pretty good (he is the one with the glasses).

His workshop was another life altering experience. He's a pretty tall guy, but I still can't figure out how he fits all that talent in there. He's cool, collected, methodical. He'll spend 2 hours studying the location, thinking, visualizing. When he's ready to press the shutter, the shot is already done. It's almost an afterthought. He could walk away and ask his assistant to press it. I witnessed more than one of these miracles. One click, done!

Then this happened:

I'm pretty sure this was one of those "only in Dubai" moments. I'm so glad I was there to see it.

That's the magic of GPP. These people are legends. They are so good at what they do, you can only stand back watch in awe thinking "how did they do that?" Then, after the workshop you meet up with them at the hotel bar and start lighting people with iPhones. All of a sudden they become real people, not the guy who shot more Time magazine covers than anyone, or the guy with the most National Geographic stories published. They are just like you. Passionate about photography. And that makes you feel like you can do anything.

Oh, Joe McNally made it rain in the desert.