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wppi 2016 | a little learning + a lot of adventure | pregnant in vegas

By March 15, 2016 No Comments

I try to attend at LEAST one photography related conference per year so that I can keep up with the industry, learn about new products and just learn new ideas and techniques to improve my craft. I always like to compare it to a star wars convention, where a bunch of photography nerds (including myself) gather in our photography gear…tee he he. The conference is called WPPI otherwise known as Wedding and Professional Photographers International and it’s always in Vegas.

To quote my blog a few years ago:

“I have to say, I get it now…..I use to look at all those conventions-take the Star War’s Convention for instance, and think, “What a bunch of quacks” (no offense…tee he he) These guys flock from all over the world to check out light saber memorabilia, they wear costumes and it’s like a Star Wars party 24 hours a day during those conventions. Well, I’ve gone to the dark side-so to speak. I’m going to a geeky photography convention in Vegas for all of us “quacks” that love cameras. We’re going to be dressed up as photographers, walking around looking at all sorts of “photography stuff”, and I’m going to get the chance to listen to some of the most amazing people in the industry talk about technology, how to see the light, equipment, work-flow and biz-nas stuff………and I can’t wait…EEEEK!!!”

It’s my 5th or 6th year attending and it’s the one time of the year where my photography friends from around the country (and the world) gather all in the same place! This year, I didn’t take my “big girl camera”….these are all iphone photos from our trip out to Las Vegas this past week. The main reason for going out was to attend the 2016 conference WPPI …but if you know me well, you know we also had to take advantage of the fact we were in a new place and of course we went out for some exploring!!! Chances are if you follow me on Instagram (I’m an Instagram Junkie) you probably saw some of these already. So yes, I did got out there for work, but I managed to squeeze in a little play! haha!

Being pregnant in Vegas doesn’t sound like much fun… on paper. Las Vegas is best known for its luxurious casinos and alcohol, both of which aren’t pregnancy friendly. You should never drink when pregnant, we know that, but also casino slots and blackjack tables aren’t known for having chairs with back support. If I did want to go gambling I’d probably have to use an online slot machine site like those recommends. Sounds like I’m out of options right? But let me show you wrong. We had so much fun and went out exploring and none of it included getting drunk in Vegas, imagine that!

in n out burger las vegasEver since my photog friend Aric Becker shared with us the glorious-ness of In-N-Out Burger, it’s always one of my first stops when I’m out on the west coast! We ordered off their secret menu! Check! MGM las vegas hotel roomAfter standing in line FOREVER to get checked into our room, we finally got settled in. The MGM was hosting the fight that weekend, so it was super crowded! The image on the right of the refrigerator is kind of interesting..If you even LIFT up the products you are charged for them because they are set to sensors-even if you don’t eat it, you get charged. So0ooo, instead we made a Walmart run to stock up on food in the room. I was on a mission to eat healthy while there because it’s so tough when you’re traveling not to eat fast food for every meal. I requested a frig and we were stocked up for the week!skyline of vegasWe didn’t have a view of the strip, but our view wasn’t too shabby! Of course I had to do a baby belly silhouette shot with the city behind.down town las vegas nevadaYou know, just the typical “touristy” photos of the Vegas strip at rock las vegasThanks to my friend Jen Lewis (hay Jen hayyy), they let us tag along with them to Red Rock one afternoon before the conference started! It’s gorgeous there and these iphone photos don’t do them justice! bride and groom in red rock canyonWe stumbled up on a Bride and Groom and while taking a pano shot, I got them in the shot! Score! I bet the pro photographer images are amazing! views of red rock canyonI had to take the picture on the right because the clouds were so fun….we joked that they are alien ships. I know they have a name, but I’d be lying if I even pretended what they were called! haha!las vegas nevadaOh you know, just some more touristy shots around the strip. I’ve been to Vegas 5 or 6 times but it never ceases to amaze me! All the colors, the sounds and the atmosphere just never sleeps.IMG_5711We waited here for close to 40 minutes waiting for the next water show so that we could face time with Mallory to show her and some kind stranger took this photo of Greg and I together! secret burger place cosmopolitanThe Secret Pizza place….we found it!! It’s not advertised and there are no signs, you just have to find it. Thanks for some clues from friends, we managed to find it down the unmarked hallway….and it was amazing! Plus finding it was half the fun! wppi las vegas 2016I SWEAR I went out to get my “learn on”….I didn’t take a whole lot of photos from the conference itself because well let’s face it, there’s nothing really exciting about sitting in class all day….although I did get to hear some awesome speakers (and some not so awesome speakers) but regardless I learned so much, got to see so many of my old and new friends and I have SO MUCH INFORMATION to implement into my own business to make my client experiences even better!! wppi tradeshowFunny story, this is Amber and Kelly, I had littearlly met them 5 minutes before this photo was taken. Kelly has been following me since the whole “bullying article” went viral…she spotted me on the trade floor show and said hello! I’m so happy she did!!! <3 (Heyyyyy girls!!)fremont streetWe ventured down to Fremont Street….also known as “Old Vegas”….I just love the nostalgia of it! fremont streetfremont street heart attack grillAnd then there was THIS! IT was my idea to try out the “heart attach grill” thinking it was just a heavily themed burger joint. I was soo wrong. It was so freakin gross and basically I took one bite (do you see that picture of the hamburger? That was mine and that’s ALL I ate). Apparently, I should have done more research on the place…they literally want to kill you and cook everything in lard! Don’t believe me, read about it yourself! I have no idea what I was thinking..and basically I wasted $40. We did get a few good laughs. Oh yeah, and we’re wearing hospital gowns, they go all out in this place! Just thinking about it makes me want to puke.

counts customs las vegasWe stopped in at Counts Kustoms which happens to be a car show on tv that Greg watches. Greg’s a car love if you didn’t know so we hit up all the car places while we were down there. He was in all of his glory!

IMG_5795valley of fire nevadaRick’s Restoration-again another one of Greg’s must stop places. Greg is in the process of building a garage himself so he called it “market research”! haha!

shelby museum las vegasAnd on the last stop of the car must sees for Greg was the Shelby Museum, he was like a kid in a candy store! las vegas down townBut then…….it was out to explore. I am a color and texture person so imagine my delight when we took a wrong town and found these cool buildings!! I won’t lie, it was in a bit of a sketchy part of town but this made me wish I had a model and some strobes with my big girl camera! haha! fremont street free month streetpawn starsYes he did…..he wanted to go to Pawn Stars because it was closed the last time we were in town.

in n out burgerThis was our anniversary meal!! We celebrated being together 15 years while we were out there and he asked me where I wanted to eat. He told me I could choose ANYWHERE….I went back to In-N-Out! tee he he! I joked with him and told him he’s so lucky he’s with a low maintenance girl! shoe prints in stratospher parking garageI realize this looks like a weird photo, but I was so intrigued why there were footprints on all the parking garage ceilings so I googled it! It turns out, it’s a Vegas mystery ! To quote the website: “No one can say for sure who the original stamper was, what inspired him or her, and what keeps his or her legion of followers going. Ask local history junkies for the story behind the phenomenon – which is akin to tossing sneakers over telephone wires or carving initials into wet cement – and they’re stumped.”

One of those bizarre Vegas things I guess.

lake meadHoover Dam and Lake Mead….we had a Damn Good Time!! hoover damhoover damIt’s kind of humbling to stand there and look at everything. You feel so small.hoover damhoover damhoover damvalley of fire nevadaTHEN…….we drove to the Valley of Fire and it was AMAZEBALLS! Out of no where are these blazing red mountains and I couldn’t wait to get out an explore! valley of fire nevadavalley of fire nevadaSeriously how amazing is this!! I wish we would have had more than one day to spend there. We hiked all over the place and saw so many awesome things.valley of fire nevada the cabinsI won’t lie, I regretted not bringing my “big girl” camera but it was so nice not to have to baby sit it! valley of fire nevadavalley of fire nevadaThe wildlife was amazing!valley of fire nevada mouses holeWe hiked a few miles to see the “mouses watering hole”. We walked thru really fine red sand which collected in my socks! By the time we got there I was expecting this big blue watering hole…nope just a muddy pothole! tee he he!

valley of fire nevadaCheck out the Petroglyphs on the rocks. valley of fire nevadavalley of fire nevadavalley of fire nevadavalley of fire nevada5 1/2 Months pregnant and still trekking! valley of fire nevada the elephant rockI love this shot! We set the phone down on a rock and put on a timer. The rock behind us is called the elephant rock because it resembles an elephant! valley of fire nevadaThe last photo before heading back for the night! We had an awesome time exploring and I’m so sad it’s over…but I learned a ton, got to explore and had some adventure……I’d say it was a success! I can’t wait to implement everything I learned for my 2016 clients. It’s going to be an awesome year!!! I have a few tricks up my sleeve! 🙂

AND….I told you that you can still have fun in Vegas without drinking or gambling! 😉

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