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Nikon Solutions Expo (London)

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A professional photography show at Olympia Conference Centre, London.

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      06.04.2009 16:06
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      Gives us inspiration to take more than the average snapshot.

      <<< What is it? >>>
      Nikon Expo Solutions is an event organised for professional photographers, with all aspects of digital photography presented in an interactive and fun way, with particular focus on Digital SLR cameras (DSLR). Amateur photographers are more than welcome and the first time I attended was in 2007 with my fiancé and in 2008 we took my Dad along as well. The show is repeated on two consecutive days; last year it was Wed 9th and Thur 10th December.

      <<< Where is it? >>>
      It's held at the Olympia Conference Centre in London and the nearest station is Kensington (Olympia).

      <<< How much does it cost? >>>
      It's absolutely free! You can pre-register online and they will send you an email, which you print out and then hand in when you get there to get a name badge. If you haven't pre-registered in advance, you can do so when you arrive and you will be asked to fill in a short form. In theory you could just walk in on off the street and look around, but you won't be able to get into the seminar rooms as they scan your name badge as it has a barcode on it.

      <<< What's there to see and do? >>>
      Absolutely loads!

      There are all the latest cameras and accessories on display, so at the last show we went to they were showing off the new D90 with experts on hand to give you advice. There are loads of companies demonstrating their products like Lexar and Epson printers and lots of different photo editing software products.

      Our favourite parts are the Action Areas where they have professional models and special guests posing and performing so you can practice your photography. These are basically workshops as the experts show you how to use different equipment to get the best from your cameras. For instance they showed us how to use off-camera flash using Nikon Speedlights to properly light a shot.

      Some people volunteer to get up close to the models and they're provided with top-of-the-range cameras to take photographs, which are linked up to large monitors so everyone can see their efforts. The professionals then give their constructive criticism and advice on how to improve their shots.

      These workshops are very popular so it's best to make a note of the times the shows are on so you can get there early to get right at the front. Unfortunately some of the shows overlap so you have to be choosy about what you want to see.

      In the Studio Action Area they have the bridal and high fashion portraiture shows. We got quite close to the front for the bridal show, which had a bride and groom posing. The bride was the regular model they use at Nikon shows (she appears in Digital SLR User Magazine quite a lot too): Katie Green the ex Wonderbra model who is absolutely stunning and it takes quite a lot of 'grinning and bearing it' from me when my fiancé is eagerly taking photos of this gorgeous woman!!

      The other Action Area is on the Stage and it definitely is more action orientated. They have catwalk fashion shows and we have seen displays of capoeira and Chinese acrobatics. The displays of movement are designed to challenge you and the experts offer advice on what settings to use. My fiancé and I find this a little bit frustrating as the experts are using the very latest DSLRs and we only have the D40x, so when they're referring to different settings we find it's not applicable to our cameras.

      There are lots of different seminars presented by experts in different rooms and here is just a selection:
      * Aspects of Landscape Photography
      * Colour Management in Digital Photography
      * The Nikon Software Suite
      * Digital Photography Tutorial - Retouch, Organise, Publish
      * Introducing Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2
      * Real World - digital photography techniques with Wacom pen tablets
      * Adobe Photoshop CS4 for photographers

      We really enjoyed the Photoshop CS4 seminar as we were amazed at the improvements Adobe have made to the interface and we were shown loads of the new time-saving tools available.

      <<< How much time will I need to spend there? >>>
      Well it is open between 10:00 - 18:00 on Day 1 and between 10:00 - 17:00 on Day 2. It's impossible to see everything in one day because so many activities are overlapped. You're given a schedule of all the events over the two days so if you missed something on Day 1, then you could return on Day 2 as the activities are repeated. We've only ever attended for one day and that was enough for us as we're only amateur photographers and it's just nice to dip our toes into the water of the world of Nikon.

      <<< What are the facilities like there? >>>
      There is a lift that goes up to the Nikon Expo in the Olympia Conference Centre so disabled access shouldn't be a problem. The toilets are extremely clean and they even have posh hand soap and moisturiser (Molten Brown if I remember correctly). I think there is only one place to buy food and drinks and the choice is limited to overpriced sandwiches. We took our own lunch and sat in a room where they had a few tables and chairs. We also had a free tea/coffee in there, which wasn't the nicest beverage I've ever tasted, but it did wet my whistle.

      <<< Why should I go? >>>
      If you own a DSLR then it's a great free day out and you will learn something new. My Dad thoroughly enjoyed himself, even though he didn't have a clue how to use his D80 and didn't manage to take one photograph that wasn't blurry! He found it inspiring and he particularly enjoyed the seminar about Photography in Flight as he used to work for British Aerospace. So we're all looking forward to the Nikon Expo of 2009, especially if my Dad takes us to a nice Chinese restaurant for dinner afterwards again!

      For more info visit: http://www.solutions-expo.co.uk/


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