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I’ve been super busy lately, but I just have to blog about WPPI 2010: an incredible event filled with great photographer friends, new faces, parties, classes – the works!

The highlight of my week was Saturday’s “Lens & Learn” Charity event put together by the amazing team at Pictage for the children of The Boys & Girls Club here in Vegas.

I was invited to be the moderator of our group and teach things like lighting and composition with the fantastic photographers Mike Colón and Ray Santana. It’s always great having the opportunity to give back – and I loved the idea of working with and inspiring children through a subject that has inspired me so much. Many of the kids were underprivileged and had never had the opportunity to ever handle a camera – even a point and shoot. This made the experience even more special for them. We started the day with pizza, an introduction by Pictage’s fantastic CEO, Jim Collins and classroom instruction at the Boys & Girls Club: teaching the kids about the art and fun of photography.

Afterward we took the kids on a field trip to the one of my favorite shooting places, the Springs Preserve for some hands-on-shooting! And, to help inspire the them to think outside-the-box, a photo scavenger hunt was planned: The kids had to shoot things like “happiness without including a person”. Or “Create an image of an “A” shape without using a sign or any text.” Or “Take a picture of something large but make it appear small.” Challenging stuff for sure and it was so cool seeing how much the children got into it. We definitely had a few aspiring photographers in the mix. :-) Watching their faces light-up when they saw the results of their work was something I’ll never forget.

Bellow is fellow photographer Matt Savage, Jim Collins and myself with our great group of kids:

Chelsea Nicole, Matt Savage, Jim Collins, and kids!

And a big group shot with all the kids, photographers and volunteers taken by Kenny Kim:

Group photo by Kenny Kim | Pictage Lens & Learn Charity EventAt the end of the day, Mike Larson did his infamous camera toss where he throws his (very expensive) camera into the air. One of many favorite moments of the day was all the kids yelling in unison “Higher – Higher – Higher!” Haha, loved it!

Image by Mike Larson

I came in hoping to inspire and give what I could to this wonderful group of kids – but what I didn’t expect was that at the end of the day I would leave so incredibly refreshed, recharged and inspired by them. It was such a great experience. And a big, HUGE thanks goes to the Pictage team and to Jim Collins for having the vision and heart to make this happen!

Also a big shout goes out to all the other photographers/friends involved: Mike Colón, Zack & Jody Gray, Will Jacks, Kenny Kim, Mike Larson, Justin & Mary Marantz, Shawn Reeder, Ray Santana, Matt & Stevi Savage, René Tate, Monty Jessop and Joe Buissink.It was great to experience it with you guys!

Saving the best for last, here’s a video created by Ron Dawson that perfectly captures the energy and vibe of the day-long event:

Now I must tell you about the crazy fun-filled week I had during the WPPI convention! WPPI is a big event held just for wedding and portrait photographers – so if you love your work – chances are you’ll be there. Luckily – it’s held in Vegas so it’s just a hop, skip and a jump away.

Sunday ~ Justin and Mary

We had the immense pleasure of having Justin and Mary Marantz speak at our house for our Vegas PUG. When Jayse and I first saw Justin and Mary at PartnerCon in LA, we knew we had met kindred souls. We just had to share these two wonderful people with whomever we could! We figured if we begged, pleaded and offered out first born they MIGHT come speak at our little PUG. Well, the groveling must’ve worked becauase last Sunday night they gave a presentation that blew our members away!

They drew in a good crowd too – in addition to our local photogs, we were so fortunate to meet some very special friends that we’d only corresponded with via online previously: Andrew Smith (and bro Adam) who do awesome video magic, and the very talented photographers Abigail Smith and Jamie Delaine.  Thanks for coming everyone!

lvpugfeb09Photo by the wonderful Eric Stakley – In this photo: Top row – Gabriel, Jayse, Ami Davenport, Adam Smith, Andrew Smith; Middle row – Justin Marantz, Ashley Bartoletti, Trish Stakley, Mary Marantz, me, Abigail Smith, Jamie Delaine, Terri; Bottom – Suzi Lighten and Iris Dumuk

Monday through Thursday ~ Shoots and Parties!

The rest of the week was spent catching up with great friends, meeting lots of new people, and learning lots in the process!
Some photos from the week…

The icing on the cake was the Pictage Party Tuesday night at Sudio 54! Pictage definitely knows how to throw it down! …pictagepartybooth
Photo-booth fun with Justin Marantz, Michael, me, Geoff Chesman, and my dancin’ buddy Miss Michelle Zuniga

Me and the gorgeous Mary Marantz

meandmarym_studio54
Justin and Mary got a great picture of the four of us at Studio 54 on their blogsite – check it out!

Coming soon!

Images from the GO|BEE party – and a bit about Dalisa and John Michael (alt-f) Cooper’s  great little  Anti-Party at the Double Down Saloon.

Post WPPI Get-Together!!

I’m throwing a little get-together hike up at Red Rock – Thursday the 19th around 10am. Everyone’s invited!! So come on out to chill – enjoy the awesome weather – and celebrate a fun end to WPPI with great photographer friends. Be sure to bring a backpack filled with goodies, water, some subs, or whatever you want… we’ll be enjoying lunch up on the rocks!

Here’s some photos from last years fun little get-together that we randomly planned one day prior:

chelseanicole_redrock21

chelseanicole_redrock1In this photo: kick butt photographers Shawn Reeder, Jessica Del Vecchio and Sarah Hodzic – me, Jayse, and Bella!

If you plan on coming – join the Facebook event page. :)

Whether it turns out to be a small group of friends or a bit bigger group – one things for sure – I’m ready for a great time! Can’t wait to see everyone soon!