so...here it is. i'm feeling rushed...but as my 'good friend' once said, 'speed is quality'....so here you go! WARNING...this is longer then what i typically like to write in a blog post. only those of you that really love me should read it. (crickets....)
here's the background. wppi is a huge trade show/conference for the photography industry that happens every year in las vegas. specifically for wedding and portrait photographers. while homegrown photography is big in our hearts and dreams, it's not at the level where we should spend the money just to go and look at new product. so, sharon and i weren't planning on going until....through a random set of circumstances we got an invitation to do a photo shoot with jasmine star in vegas on tuesday morning at 6:45 in the morning. for those of you non-photogs (see babe...i'm slowly transforming), jasmine star is a great new photographer that sharon and i heard speak last year at a conference. this seemed like an opportunity that we couldn't pass up. so....we booked our hotel, packed up our kids and the mini (and our fantastic friend kimmi) and headed for vegas for a whirlwind trip.
we left sunday after church and started the 9 hour drive in the pouring rain. now, i commute every day to the office and have for the last 12 years, so...i'm cool with driving. but 9 hours in a car is tough on anyone. but we had a blast! we laughed, sang, danced, yelled at the kids to be quiet so they wouldn't wake up the baby...you know...the normal stuff. we arrived late sunday night / almost monday morning to a huge room just off the strip. the hotel was great. we all had our own rooms....sharon and i had a huge bathtub in our bathroom. and you know i did the 'rev run' in the tub with my blackberry that night. i'm just saying.
monday we got up and went to the trade show. tons of people. tons of product. a little overwhelming. who knew there were 20 different album vendors??? after the trade show sharon and i walked around for a bit. i gambled for the first time in my life....and lost $50 in about 5 min. i don't think it's for me. :-) i'm not totally sure why but sharon and i both kind of hurt the others feelings as we were leaving the trade show. we did the whole 'walk around in silence' thing. you married folks know that move, right? anyhow, after a shuttle ride back to our hotel, and a bad meal at denny's, we talked and decided to move on and take our hurt feelings and throw them in the trash. good riddance. i love her!
after a nap and we took all the kids and kimmi out to explore the bright lights. this was my first time in las vegas, and to be honest, it was a little overwhelming. i am a city boy. i don't appreciate the country like i should...but vegas was a little much for even me. the excess. the loud. blah, blah, blah. fun to visit...but a little to much. any how, we drove down the strip, looked at hotels, went to the playboy suite at the palms, the big fountain at the bellagio. it was all pretty amazing! we grabbed some food on the way back to the hotel and started to settle in for the night. i opened a bottle of wine, kids got in their jammies...sharon was nursing the baby....normal night time stuff. then...i heard sharon hollering to me from our bedroom. "JERAMY! JERAMY!" i rushed in and she handed me her phone. "me ra is about to call and i don't want to wake up magalicious!" so, i took the phone...and all of a sudden it rang. (pause)
sharon went to an amazing photography workshop hosted by me ra and brian last year in sonoma. it was life changing to say the least. well...they are big timers in the photography industry...so, of course they were in vegas too.... (resume)
"hey me ra"! i said. me ra began telling me how they had been so busy during the day, but really wanted to see us while we were in vegas. WHAT? yes! "so, i know it's late, but did you guys want to get together for some desert tonight?" me ra said. "uh....sure, we'd love to"! sharon and i got dressed super quick. kimmi (like the rockstar she is) grabbed magalicious and we were off. the next couple hours were so fun! we laughed and talked and laughed. met another great couple 'chris and katie'...photographers from the dirty south, whoot, whoot! it was an amazing night. it made our trip for sure! me ra and brian are two of the best people i've met. so giving. so energetic. so caring. so hilarious! there will be more about them later this year....tune in.
so, we went back home, and went to bed around 1:00am. night. snore. 5:30am. alarm. that's right. tuesday morning....we got ready for our photo shoot with j* and headed back to the mgm. we walked into a group of equally excited photographers in the lobby...waiting...repeating the 'hello's' over, and over again. 'hi, i'm jeramy' :-) then jasmine and jd showed up. basically she had given a free photo shoot to this amazing, newly married couple from kansas and let all of us watch and learn while she did...what she does. it was so great. jasmine is super funny and real in the way she communicates with people. it was amazing to be there. now, i was the only one without a camera...for those of you that don't know...i'm NOT a photographer. i do all the stuff that sharon doesn't like to do at 'homegrown'. so i was the camera bag caddy that morning....changing lenses and giving sharon reassuring smiles and hand holds. that was my job. i did good. at one point i walked over to jd and said, 'you know...jasmine is really good. not just technically, but how she works with people...the whole thing'. he kind of smiled back at me and said, 'yeah, she really is'. it was a neat moment. you could tell how sincere he was. feel good.
after the shoot, we talked jasmine's ear off...asking questions and getting insight and examples of business strategies and everything you could possibly imagine. i was amazed at how generous her and jd were with their time, and enthusiasm. the whole reason that they had done this 'mini-workshop' this morning was because she had felt so blessed by how other photographers had invested in her career when she was starting out. she wanted to do the same thing. pay it forward if you will. well, she did....and then some.
so, with smiles on our faces and in our hearts about all that had happened over the last few days we began driving home. we got to see the beautiful landscape that we missed coming in to the city in the dark. who knew the desert could be so pretty. we stopped a ghost town...drank a ton of coffee and then finally got home around 10:30pm on tuesday night. what a trip! our dog and cat were happy to see us when we walked through the door....almost as happy as i was to see my bed.
what a great adventure. if you're still with me...thanks for enduring all my words. your reward are the pictures below. have a great day!