Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Aperture Academy: Paradise For Photo Fans
In nearly the center of Santa Clara County at the Campbell Pruneyard Shopping Center is a gem of a place for photography enthusiasts. Aperture Academy is the brainchild of Stephen W. Oachs whose work has been featured in many A-List publications like National Geographic, Popular Photography, and Outdoor Photographer. Aperture Academy opened in 2009 and hits so many bases with exhibits, workshops, classes, events and a truly amazing schedule of on-location photography field trips.
It was one of their recent events that got me to make the trip from Santa Cruz. Stephen held a holiday party for many of this students, family, friends and associates. I had been to Aperture Academy once this summer for an industry event and walked away raving about the facility. It's like the motto there is "Go Big or Go Home." Every inch of their 4,000 square feet leaves a positive impression. Their new Mac workstations, brochures, furnishings, their website and every tiniest detail is a lesson in image and branding. You just can't help but feel like you're dealing with experts here.
So what do the big boys give away at their holiday party raffle? The list went on forever and included lots of really cool gear and prints from one of their favorite partners, Canon. So I dragged my dear friend and photobug-in-her-own-rite, Stacie Tamaki along for the fun and to take a shot at the grand prize seven day Alaskan Photography Cruise.
As we schmoozed and noshed we were soon approached by an old friend with one incredible memory. Stacie and I go back about ten years to the early days of wedding industry networking. Our group would meet at the studios of renown wedding photographer,George Delgado. Working closely with George at the time was Francois Clement. To say that Francois has a photographic memory is an understatement. He pulled both Stacie and I out of the crowd and remembered our names. Sometimes I can't remember what I had for breakfast. I had to get a shot of Francois and Stacie for old times sake.
But Francois reminded us that he has not lost his sense of humor so we tried the proverbial digital self-portrait here. It reminded me of how much easier it is to do this with a little point & shoot instead of a D-SLR and shoe mounted flash. Francois impressed us with his strength and steady hand.
Enough clowning around. It was time for the raffle and Stephen Oachs did a great job of emceeing and giving away the many fantastic prizes.
I am normally pretty lucky at raffles but neither I nor Stacie came home with any prizes. We did come home with another great experience at Aperture Academy. This place just rocks. I will take one of their workshops whether it's a one day Marin Headlands trip or a week in Oregon's Columbia River Gorge. My photography will improve and no doubt the experience will be priceless. I recommend this place to the novice snap shooter or serious photo geek alike. It is truly a unique combination of services all under one roof.
My parting shot is of one of the many surprises we had in store that evening. Stephen unveiled his latest release called "Rockstar" at the party. It was under wraps until the final raffle drawing. So if you want to get up close and personal with it, you'll have to swing by The Pruneyard and say hello to Stephen and the crew. It will be well worth your time to check out all that's happening at Aperture Academy. Thank you Stephen and keep up the great work.