Numis Network is a company that sells coins. I had never heard of them when they booked me less than a week before their annual meeting at the Grand Hyatt in Tampa. I was expecting a somber affair with lots of dry talk about the details of the coin industry. However, in the two days (over 16 hours of photography) I was photographing the event the energy level was more like a rock concert rather than a business event.
I arrived at the Grand Hyatt Tampa on a Friday at 5pm, and luckily there was not yet much traffic over the Howard Franklin Bridge. There were so many people it was hard to get a shot at crowd level so I used a staircase to get some air and the above wide shot of the gathering crowd of reps from all over North America. Numis headquarters is in Tampa though.
Matt, also a Numis executive, MCed the entire event and understandably was getting a little horse in the voice by late Saturday night. I learned that he has had his mustache for thirty years. I have had mine for less than half that time. I also sat at his table for (a brief) dinner break Saturday evening.
The founders of the company frequently took the stage, largely to thank all the reps for their support and promising that the company is only just going to get bigger and better, as well as introducing some new product lines and vacation bonuses. The crowd seemed to hang on every word of every speaker and there were frequent shout outs.
To be able to light up the large hall in the Grand Hyatt housing the event stage I had to use some really slow shutter speeds, like 1/20th of a second in the above shot. There was not a wall or anything to brace myself against so I had to use my most steady shooting technique and really control my breathing. At this event I used the slowest shutter speeds yet and was still able to produce satisfyingly sharp enough shots.
The whole 2-day event ended with a (long) awards ceremony where it seemed like everyone in attendance had a chance to hear their name read out loud and to go up on stage. In fact, the ceremony ended over one and a half hours late! Imagine if the OSCARS dared do that! From the above shot you would also have no idea that by this time I was having to battle with dozens of people with camera phones trying to get shots of the people on stage. It was not a battle I won. Even though I was standing on a chair for this shot, it was still hard to make sure no random cell phone holding arm was thrust into frame.
This event was the first time for me to really use my Black Rapid RS-Sport strap which I will be writing a formal review of with photos soon. However, I can state that even after 16 hours+ of shooting I felt zero shoulder fatigue hoisting a D300 with an 80-200mm f/2.8 lens and 17-50mm f/2.8 lens also with a SB-800 Speedlight hotshoe mounted.