Philly Tech Meetup is a meetup.com group that runs monthly technology startup events in Center City. Â Every first Wednesday, they have demo nights and firms present software, hardware, services, and other tech related business plans to create buzz and find investors. Â I was contacted by the organizer of PTM to be their photographer and tonight went to The Quorum at UPenn to get pictures of the meet-and-greet beforehand and then the presentations. Â The room was filled with slightly overweight white and Asian men with a smattering of women and other minorities. Â The presenters were off to one side rehearsing their slides and nervous tics when the organizer approached me. Â He thanked me for being there, introduced me to the members of his staff and introduced me to… the other photographer. Â I didn’t mind that there was another photographer there, so much as I wish I were warned. Â An event that takes place in a single room doesn’t need two people snapping pictures and my time could be fruitfully filled another way.
The other photographer and I exchanged business cards and I saw the camera he was fumbling with and offered him some pointers. Â He kind of ignored me but after complaining about zoom, I switched to my 70-200mm lens. Â My 70-200mm f/2.8 L lens is a bit obscene for a consumer lens and represents the triumph of “I will have this lens” over common sense and budgetary prudence. Â It’s white, well designed and screams “expensive”. Â It’s $800 more lens than I need but I feel that half that value has been made up with in being able to inspire lens envy. Â The other photographer looked at my kit and hung his head a little. Â I was still annoyed that the job had double coverage but at least my dickhat had grown a few points.
Presentations that evening were all for smartphone apps and I strained myself trying to figure out how to properly photograph people talking about smartphone apps. Â My solution was to take 400 pictures in about an hour with periodic attempts at trying to get Stock Art Shots of audience members talking, asking questions, and “interacting”. Â I probably have a shot of someone tweeting about wiki or SnapChatting about Foursquare.
At the end of the evening, the organizer again apologized for there being two photographers and told me we’d work out something for the future. Â On the way home, I brought up the web page for the other photographer and after seeing his work I feel confident that I was not going to be replaced.