My Experience at Sony Kando Trip 2.0
Sony Kando 2.0. Where do I even start? After finding out I was one of the few accepted to attend, I spent just about every passing moment “geeking” out over the sweet gear I'd hopefully get to use, the renowned artists I'd likely have the chance to meet, & the incredible amount of guidance, inspiration, and knowledge I'd surely absorb over the course of 4 days. Trust me, Sony did NOT disappoint. The moment the bus pulled onto the Asilomar Conference Grounds I knew I was in for a treat.
Located right off of a gorgeous beach near Monterey, California, the park was buzzing with artists of all different kinds eager to capture every moment of what was to come in their own unique ways. Styles may have varied across the wide variety of artists, but everybody had at least one thing in common: a camera in hand. I'm not sure what exactly I expected to see, but to an aspiring artist this was like a kid finally being let out for recess! It wasn’t even 5 minutes after getting off the bus when I was waiting in line for registration that I began spotting a few of my favorite content creators such as Andy To, Q, Manny Ortiz, Mic-Anthony Hay, Jason Vong, Paola Franqui, Andy Best, Chris Burkard & Colby Brown just to name a few! These are artists I’ve followed for years, essentially some of my idols & all of a sudden they’re real people standing next to me!
Crazy right? Trust me, it gets better. After registration I found my building and room, and met my roommate and who would become a great friend over the next few days: Matty. Matty is a 23 year old photographer based in Hawaii who aspires to see as much as the world as possible with his camera at his side, much like me. Sony allowed us each to rent two lenses of choice (also a camera body if desired, and yes they had a ton of A9s), so Matty and I were sure to choose different ones so that we could swap throughout the day if we wanted to.
The days to come consisted of a multitude of incredible classes. Some of my personal favorites included “Long Exposures” with Thibault Roland, “Street Photography” with Paola Franqui, “Building Your Tribe” with Sarah France, “Social Media for Creatives” with Colby Brown & Chris Burkard, “Astrophotography” with Andy Best, and even was lucky enough to learn all about portrait lighting from Jason Lanier! Whether it was standing along Bixby Bridge at 2:00am in the freezing cold in search of the Milky Way, roaming the streets of Monterey, capturing the ocean & its power in full flow, or learning in a classroom setting it was leagues beyond what I could have hoped for.
The one on one conversations I was able to have with these professionals were invaluable & I believe may have paved the way for many of our futures. I told myself I was coming to California like a sponge, only wanting to soak up as much knowledge & information as possible and I did just that. Even more, as awesome as hanging out with the Sony professionals was, it was the time spent with the new friends (including the Sony professionals) I made that meant the most.
Personally, I have never been surrounded by so many ambitious, creative individuals in my life. The shared passion for creating and the shared desire for success made for an environment full of nothing but laughter, motivation & inspiration. There’s just something so beautiful about watching over 100 people all running towards the beach to catch the same sunset in their own special way; art at its finest. I can truly say I now have a new family spread throughout the world in places like Argentina, Taiwan, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Hawaii, California, Texas, Virginia, Georgia, and New York City.
Between introducing my friend from Argentina to s’mores for the first time to staying out for hours planning trips together for the near future, it isn’t an exaggeration to say Kando 2.0 changed my life. Sure all the free gear & prizes were great, but what's more important is I witnessed immense growth across dozens of aspiring artists and felt it within myself. I captured moments that hold memories that will remain with us all for years to come as we head back home to our respective homes. Kando 2.0 has officially come to a close, but there is still one unanswered question all of the class of 2018 has… When can we apply for Kando 3.0?!