Just back from the photo trade show

I am just back from the big Photo Plus trade show in New York City. On one level, it was like years past with big crowds, lots of new toys and plenty of old friends to see and catch up with. On the other hand, some things were new and interesting and that is what I am going to be sharing in this post.

First, if you are a regular reader of the blogs from The Wells Point, you know that I do not review much in the way of camera gear, nor am I likely to talk about new gear in my blogs. What I want to write about are a few things I noted at the show, first in terms of trends and then in terms of items that caught my eye and will likely interest readers of these blog entries.

On a higher level of trends, two things struck me walking around the floor of the trade show. Most but not all of the manufacturers who were there showing gear are quickly doing away with printed material. Certain companies even have marketing campaigns built around how “green” they are being by no longer printing catalogues and brochures. They have a point, since much of the printed material we take home from trade shows is frequently dumped within a week of the show.

Two things struck me in connection with that:

1) The generational divide that occurs when it comes to the printed material. At the show, folks under thirty did not even think of asking for printed material because they are used to accessing gear/information via the web. People over fifty were the ones most often asking for printed material, not surprisingly because they are less used to going to the web for the information.

2) As a result, the printing industry is in trouble, because so much marketing material is migrating to the web and away from the hard copies that they used to print. Publication photographers are well aware of how magazines, and by extension magazine printers, are getting hammered by the move from print to the web. But this highlights another business sector whose volume is plummeting as everything migrates to the web.

On another level, you may remember it was just about one year ago that the photographer, Vincent Laforet and the Canon EOS 5D Mark II started the craze for making video through DSLRs. The video piece that LaForet made that started it all can be seen at: http://www.usa.canon.com/dlc/controller?act=GetArticleAct&articleID=2326

That video, made though still camera lenses, has a completely different feel than older video made with smaller imaging sensors. What was striking at the show this year is that, just one year later, an entire industry sprouting up around that technology. Camera braces and eyepieces/viewfinders, which did not exist one year ago are selling like crazy today. I saw that as one more example of how the digital revolution is speeding up the business cycle.

The more tangible things that caught my eye at the trade show include:

MOO is a printing company that has all sorts of interesting and creative ideas for printed promotional material, such as business cards. The say: “MOO dreams up new tools that help people turn their virtual content into beautiful print products for the real world.” Learn more at: http://us.moo.com/en/ They have a special after the trade show discount of 20%, secured by entering “photoshow” when you check out, assuming you buy before November 13, 2009. They happen to be based in Rhode Island, but that’s purely an odd, even funny coincidence.

Adorama Pix is a source for high quality low cost digital prints that I have blogged about in the past. At the show, I saw that they now make books. The amazing thing is that these books are actually made from photographs, using Fuji Crystal Archive photo paper, a professional quality archival paper with excellent resistance to fading. The actual photographs are mounted back to back, so you get pages like any other book, but with slightly thicker pages. Because the pages are real photos and not ink based reproductions, the tones and colors are amazing. The costs for such high quality books is equally reasonable so read more starting at: http://www.adoramapix.com/PhotoBooks.aspx?menu=books

Infrared photography, using the invisible light beyond the red end of the color spectrum, has long captivated photographers. Film based infrared photography resulted in ethereal images but also presented a number of hassles in terms of film handling and processing. Digital imaging has revolutionized infrared photography like everything else in the business. Now you can have most any digital cameras converted to record infrared light. To learn more start at: http://www.precisioncamera.com/infrared-conversion-services.html Pretty much any digital camera can undergo a digital infrared conversion since all the digital cameras made today have an infrared blocking filters actually built into them. The repair facility staff remove the filter built into all digital cameras that holds back most of the infrared light. That filter allows the conventional, visible light through to the imaging sensor.

We had a particularly nice meal at a South Indian restaurant called Saravana Bhavan. To read more about them (and see their many worldwide locations,) start at: http://www.saravanabhavan.com/restaurants.php?cn=U.S.A&cy=New%20York&rid=29

South Indian cuisine is quite different from North Indian, which is what is served at most Indian restaurants outside of India. The food from one region is not better than the other, though I have acquired a taste for South Indian food, from my wife and family.

At first glance, information about an Indian restaurant may not appear to fit with all the other photography information in this blog entry. On the other hand for me, photography is a way of exploring and having news experiences. An authentic South Indian meal, like the best photo shoot, is a similar adventure to be enjoyed and savored, whenever possible. This particular “adventure” is available seven days a week in New York City.

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