So we’d arrived in the Midlands Sunday evening, got a fairly decent night’s sleep (if you count 6 hours as fairly decent!) and were ready and raring to see what this year’s Photography Show had to offer. So after sinking a very tasty breakfast at the hotel, the three of us made the quick walk over to the NEC and were promptly met by one of the organiser’s of the show, who walked us all through to the Super Stage where Scott would be talking.
I was already aware that both sessions he was booked to talk were a complete sell out (the only speaker, besides the amazing David Bailey, to do so!) but to see the size of the auditorium, all 500 seats of it, no one could be in any doubt just how well regarded Scott is this side of the pond. In fact, to further illustrate this point, whilst sat in the stalls waiting to take a few production shots of Scott, I got talking to an Italian woman who had arranged an entire week long trip to the UK just to see Scott talk at the NEC!
(Scott talking to the first of two ‘sold out’ audiences at the NEC)
The talk, called ‘The stuff they don’t tell you’, went fantastically and was very well received by the audience, gauging by a number of brief conversations I caught as the crowd were slowly filtering out. This didn’t come as a surprise to me.
Following the talk, Scott had a small amount of time to wander the show before his next booked event, so we walked over to the live stage to meet up with Dave Clayton. As we made our way across though, it was great to see how many people came up to Scott to say hello or shake his hand. He wouldn’t know it, but there were far more who were either too shy or not the type to just come running over, that just stood and watched him walk by before nudging the person next to them and quietly saying ‘Look, that’s Scott Kelby!’. It was also lovely, despite a constricted schedule, to see Scott stop and talk to each person that said hello to him, as well as thank them for their support.
Due to this though, it did take us some time to make our way right across the other side of the hall to the live stage, where Dave Clayton had just finished managing a live demonstration. As you may all know, Dave has long been the KelbyOne UK evangelist and a great friend of Scott’s, so it was no surprise to see them greet each other so fondly.
It’s always great getting to chat to Dave, as I always find his passion for photography and design (and life in general) unbelievably inspiring. He is simply one of life’s rare, genuinely nice blokes. He also has a wicked sense of humour, which is why it comes as no surprise that he and the similarly inspiring, humoured and genuine Glyn Dewis are best friends. It was great to hear that Glyn would be heading along to the show later that day to say hello then.
So after a brief chat at the live stage, it was time for Scott to head off to his next commitment, which was to be an hour long book signing at one of the publishing stands. Walking over to the stand, it was clear to me again just how popular Scott is in the UK, as the content of their shelves was almost exclusively Kelby authored, with a huge crowd trying to buy them. In fact, when we started taking some production shots of Scott doing the signing (a couple of which are below), Hybrid Dave and I tried to find a copy of Scott’s newest book, ‘How do I do that in Lightroom?’ to place at the front of the table as a ‘prop’, but quickly discovered from the guy running the stand that it had sold out… all two pallets full of it!!!
(Scott signing a copy of his book translated in to Hungarian!)
After taking a few shots, we left Scott to it and had a wander around the hall ourselves, getting recognised and stopped by loads of our loyal fans (Yeah, yeah, I know, in our dreams!). Although we did bump in to another good friend of ours on the Adobe stand, in the shape of Eric Renno. Eric is another character that it’s always great to chat to and being a fantastic educator and the creator of Tip Squirrel (@tipsquirrel), such as he is, I never fail to learn something new from him.
(Eric, Dave and I. Do I even need to credit any selfies to Hybrid Dave anymore, or is it taken as a given now?)
With the Adobe stand understandably very busy, we bid our farewells to Eric and continued around the show, salivating at the sight of all the shiny new kit (especially that on the Nikon stand!).
The day quickly drew to an end but having made our way over to The Flash Centre stand, it was lovely to see Glyn Dewis beaming at us, before being joined by Scott and Dave Clayton again. Together we all took a seat at the back of the hall as the curtain finally fell for the day and we chatted about everything and nothing!
That was until the subject of The Grid (Scott’s weekly KelbyOne photoshop, Lightroom and photography webcast) came up. As any regular watcher of the show will know, it’s broadcast live on KelbyTV at 4pm EST on a Wednesday. However, it would be a problem that week, as Scott would still be travelling back to the States at that time and unable to be present for it. Scott’s solution? record The Grid at the Photography Show and send the footage back to KelbyOne, to be shown at the usual time. What an awesome idea, I thought! However, what happened next nearly knocked Hybrid Dave and I out…. because Scott asked if we would guest host the show with him!!!
Let me just repeat that again. Scott Kelby asked if Dave and I would guest host his weekly webcast, which regularly attracts upwards of 40,000 views on KelbyTV and YouTube, with him!
I don’t think I need to explain the reason for the hurried call to Mrs. Hybrid asking if there would be a problem with me staying an extra night in Brum! Being the understanding and supportive type, she agreed immediately and so Dave and I spent the rest of the evening walking around in a trance at the thought of what we would be doing the following day!
After leaving the hall for the day, there followed another night of raucous laughter with great friends and yet another 3am bedtime! Ouch!
Waking Tuesday morning though, Dave and I couldn’t wait to get started. Scott would be giving the second of his sold out talks in the morning and then, if everything went to plan, we would be filming The Grid straight afterwards. However, with all best laid plans of mice and men, it wasn’t until around 12:30pm that we got started filming, which gave us a very short time to get what we needed and on to our booked 14:30 train back to London. not a moment to lose then, so after a brief introduction, we began wandering the hall talking to various stands, including those who had kindly lent us the equipment to do the recording (which happened to be a Nikon D800 and a DJI Ronin from Calumet and a RODE shotgun mic. from, well, RODE, all fantastically sourced by Dave ‘gets-s**t-done’ Clayton! Oh and our cameraman, called Dave (of course!) was loaned to us by Danny Lenihan of 3 Legged Thing).
Scott, Dave and I filming the introduction to The Grid, with 3LT’s Dave handling the camera. Photo credit: Silverstream TV)
We shot around the show as fast as we could, whilst also trying to fit in as much useful footage as possible, including a visit to the Canon stand for a demonstration of the new 1Dx and a brief chat with Dave Clayton on the live stage but the time eventually came where we had to call it a day and dash for our train. So having said a quick farewell and thanks to Dave for all his help, it was a sprint to the hotel to collect luggage and an even quicker sprint back to the station. The rush was needless though, to be honest, as we arrived with about 10 minutes to spare!
Arriving back in London, I said some very quick goodbyes to Hybrid Dave and Scott, as I had another very important appointment to make that afternoon…. Picking my son up from Nursery (My work is never finished!). However, before rushing off, there was just enough time to present Scott with a gift that Dave had purchased for him, as a simple thanks for heading over to the UK and spending some time with us.
It happened to be a portion of Land on an English estate, entitling Scott the use of the title ‘Lord’. Of course, it had to be presented with due acknowledgement to proper procedure and so the peerage was suitably bestowed with the laying of a 3LT Vyv tripod on each of Scott’s shoulders! (yes, I realise that’s the general protocol for being knighted, not being made a peer, but let’s just suspend disbelief for a moment for the sake of comedy!).
Ceremony despatched, I was on my way back to sunny Essex, leaving Scott to head back to his second London AirBnB rental in as many days.
As I drifted off to sleep on my train home, it dawned on me that the previous 3 days had pretty much ruined me. However, if that’s the price to pay for being surrounded by the very best talents in an industry I absolutely adore, then there’s really no question as to whether I’d do it again!
For now though, I’m just looking forward to seeing ‘Lord’ Kelby, along with Dave C, Glyn and many other fantastic photographers, at Photoshop World in Vegas in July!
Man, that’s going to hurt…….
P.S. For anyone interested, ‘our’ episode of The Grid will be shown this Wednesday 30th March at 9pm BST (4pm EST), due to the footage not transmitting fully back to KelbyOne last week!
Much love! X