B&H Depth of Field Conference, New York City - Lesson Number 1...
A couple months ago, I received an invite from B&H Superstore to attend a brand new photography conference that they were hosting in New York City. They were waiving the registration fees for me if I could find a way there and cover room and board. Hmm, the conference is focusing on portrait photography, a field that I just recently got into. Some of the top names in portrait photography were going to be there as well as all of the major vendors and suppliers in that field. I tried to be nonchalant about it, but let's be real, I was super stoked. Two whole days of classes from some of the best in the business, the gates of B&H were going to be wide open for us to play with all the new toys, and oh yeah, a never ending parade of models to have private photo sessions with.
So I grabbed a train ticket and booked a couple nights at the Hotel Pennsylvania (which by the way is attached to the conference center and is right across the street from Penn Station where my train arrives and departs from). The day finally arrived and I kissed the wifey and petted the puppies goodbye and hopped on the giant electric stallion and chugged my way west out of New England.
Arriving in the city that never sleeps is always exciting. I personally love New York City. Don't tell my friends in Boston that. I do hate the Yankees like any red-blooded Bostonian but I do love to visit New York City nonetheless. There's just something so gritty and real about it's inhabitants and the city itself. And today was no different. That is, until I learned a valuable lesson. It's not a New York City lesson, but a photographer's "I don't believe that just happened" kind of lesson.
So, it's late at night at the end of the first day of the conference and I decide, hey, it's a fine time to write in my blog. I wish I was writing about the super cool classes that I attended or the incredibly talented artists that I got to hang out with, or the genius of the experts that I got to endlessly pick their brains. Nope. I'm writing about the hair-brained thing I did. Something I knew not to do, but I did it anyways. Now I know that you're all sitting on the edge of your couch, waiting with baited breath wondering what lesson did you learn? (I know, not really, but just work with me here will ya?!) Well, I'm glad you asked!
Never, ever, EVER buy a cheap SD card reader. Ever! Just don't do it. This may seem like a no-brainer to many of you out there and I probably would have wholeheartedly agreed with you on that but when you have a ton of shots and you're really excited to view them and you realize that you don't have any means to get them from your camera over to a computer. Well, you're sorta become like a 16 year old boy on his first date. Or a 21 year old unleashed onto the streets of Las Vegas with your buddies. All rational thought just goes out the window!
You see, I thought I forgot my USB 3 cable to connect my Sony a7riii to my Surface Pro 4 (which, by the way, I didn't forget!!), so I ran out and purchased a Targus 33 in 1 card reader (I'm still trying to figure out where the hell the 33 comes into play - there are only 4 open slots for media!) Anyways, I slapped my rather expensive high speed SD card into the reader and immediately started downloading the photos.
As the photos were downloading, I did what any normal person would do in this position...I cracked open a nice big 0.66 liter bottle of Stella Artois. Ahh, it's amazing how a nice cold beer helps to promote patience! About 10 minutes later, a little window pops up on my screen alerting me that there was an error the the downloading was aborted. Hmm, that's strange I thought. I inspected everything, and all appeared to be well in the world of 33 in 1 card readers. Alas, it was not to be. Somehow, my card ended up getting corrupted. Now, it won't work at all. In my computer, the card reader or the camera itself. Son of a....! I checked to see if any of my photos downloaded. Okay, at least the majority of them did, but I lost 2 of the models and all of the street photos that I just took as I decided to stroll down to Times Square. Son of a...! Since this is my last night here in NYC, I can't just roll back out there tomorrow night and grab some more. Dang it! There were some great shots there too. Once again, son of a....!
So, the lesson learned is to never buy some cheap equipment looking for a quick fix. It never works out. And the second lesson (if not actually the primary lesson!) is to ALWAYS check your equipment before you leave! Had I done so, I would have known that I did in fact have my cable already tucked into my backpack and would have not needed that cheap card reader. I'm just thanking my lucky stars that the photos lost were not the priceless photos from client's wedding. That would be devastating, for me and the client! If I'm going to learn a lesson and lose photos, I'd much rather it be my own photos lost. It's a tough lesson but one well worth learning. I just hope I don't have to learn it again!!
Oh yeah, the conference is going great too! I'll write some more about that in the next day or two once I return back to good 'ol Rhode Island. Until next time...
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