The First Annual Maui Photo Festival Conference & Workshops officially opened yesterday at the Hyatt Regency Resort & Spa. Located on the balmy shores of Kaanapali Beach in West Maui, the Hyatt has given over it's huge and beautiful complex to play host to approximately 300 photographers, lecturers & presenters. I don't think I've seen quite so many cameras in one place before... you would have thought, if you weren't clued in, that Paris Hilton was walking the grounds.
All reports of the days activities were enthusiastic. An early morning boat trip, scuba dive and underwater photo workshop led by internationally acclaimed water photographer and Maui resident David Fleetham, produced up-close encounters with a pod of false killer whales & yielded some great photo-ops, projected later in the evening on the Big Screen during the commencement reception. Those that opted to stay on land during the day were treated to a wild & wacky presentation of green-screen compositing technology by none other than Adobe® Senior Creative Director Russell Brown. Think Photoshop on steroids.
Later that evening, we all gathered on the beachfront lawn for a pupu & drink heavy ceremony, some serious chin-wagging and an overall wonderful time. I got a chance to meet some heros & heavyweights, share some delightful conversation, chat with some of my local colleagues and friends I haven't seen in some time. The weather was perfect, lovely hawaiian music drifting through the palms and the ingestibles very tasty. On a scale of grand times, I rank it an 11. And things have just begun... there's so much more in store for participants for the next three days. Check the schedule here for what's in store for the next 72 hours or so.
It was a personal thrill to get to sit and talk with length hero, portrait & illustration photography genius Jack Reznicki, Magnum Agency member Eli Reed, fine-art & travel photographer Andy Katz and North Shore water photographer Clark Little... all lovely guys.
There is still space available for some of the upcoming offerings so go to one of the links above and sign up now if you haven't already. You'll be glad you did.
Here's a few pics from the evening... sorry, I was so star-struck& intimidated that once things got rolling, I forgot to pull out my camera.
Festival founder & director, all around cool guy and old friend Zane Mathias. With all those photographers around, don't you think I could have asked one to snap a pic rather than hold that heavy D2X outstreched in one hand? Nooooo!
Sunset just outside the venue lawn pre-festivities
Delicate balancing act... sculpture just outside the venue entrance
The venue on the grounds of the lovely Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa
Fine art photographer and Maui gallery operator Randy J. Braun. Again with the camera and funny face!
Randy J. Braun and his new BFF
Jeffery Oltman, my overworked & underpaid assistant and fine photographer in his own right, with underwater master David Fleetham
Kumu Hula & Master chanter Charles Ka'upu offer a chant and opening pule