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Sony Kando in Port Douglas
Digital Imaging Ambassador
Embarking on an unforgettable journey as a Sony digital imaging ambassador, I had the immense pleasure of attending the first Sony Kando Conference for Australasia held in the captivating town of Port Douglas, Australia. This remarkable event brought together a diverse community of passionate photographers, ambassadors, advocates enthusiasts, and industry professionals, allowing us to forge new connections, expand our skills, and immerse ourselves in the stunning surroundings of this tropical paradise.
As I arrived at the conference, I was greeted with a profound and heartfelt gesture—a warm welcome by the local Aboriginal elders, who invited us to participate in a traditional Smoking ceremony. This ancient and contemporary custom, practiced by some Aboriginal Australians, involved walking through the smoke of smouldering native plants. The herbal smoke was believed to possess both spiritual and physical cleansing properties and was thought to ward off negative energies and spirits.
It was great to see such an expansion of the Sony Alpha Community. Alongside like-minded ambassadors, advocates, and professionals, It’s always an aim to showcase the exceptional capabilities of Sony’s cutting-edge imaging technology in my profession, even then I’m still learning more about the technology. As much as I love to learn, given that I get to play with my own underwater housing I happily surrendered my spot in testing the Aquatech underwater housing, to ensure others had the opportunity to enjoy an enhanced experience. The gratification of assisting fellow some of the advocates and contributing to their enjoyment was truly rewarding.
Throughout the duration of the Sony Kando conference, a captivating array of workshops and activities were thoughtfully curated to enrich our photographic skills and knowledge or simply have fun with mates. With a focus on innovation, creativity, and technical expertise, we delved into topics ranging from the application of artificial intelligence in photography to the art of impactful photojournalism and effective branding strategies. These immersive sessions fostered an environment of collaboration, encouraging us to explore new horizons in our craft and discover innovative approaches to capturing the world through our lenses.
When it came to gear, I packed light for Kando. I brought along my Sony a7R III and Sony RX1R II. In my camera bag, I carefully packed a variety of lenses to ensure versatility in my shots. The FE 70-200mm f/4, FE 14mm f/1.8, FE 55mm f/1.8, FE 24-105mm f/4, and FE 35mm f/1.4 lenses were my reliable tools, ready to seize the essence of every scene. However, the Sony gear loan booth at the conference provided an exciting opportunity to test out some additional gear. I had the chance to borrow the powerful FE 70-200mm f/2.8 II which is on my list as it’s so close in weight to the f/4 and fair bit brighter, the stunning FE 85mm f/1.4 which I used to have, and the versatile 90mm macro lens. One unique lens that caught my attention was the remarkable FE 100 STF f/2.8, known for its ability to create the creamiest bokeh. It was a pleasure to have access to such an array of high-quality Sony gear, allowing me to capture extraordinary images and push the boundaries of my creativity during the conference.
Having had the pleasure of visiting Port Douglas in the past with Spoke Magazine for mountain biking, this return journey presented an opportunity to delve deeper into the region’s diverse allure. In contrast to the cooler climate of Queenstown, Port Douglas revealed its scorching temperatures and unveiled a myriad of hidden gems. The picturesque landscapes of the coast captivated with their natural beauty, offering an extraordinary backdrop for photography. It’d be amazing to get back up there some day with my own set of wheels to explore my own freedom.
Spanning three action-packed days, the conference predominantly unfolded within the opulent confines of the Port Douglas Sheraton Hotel. Here, surrounded by fellow photographers and industry professionals, we embarked on a photography-intensive voyage of discovery. The Kando Ranch, an immersive setup by Sony, presented a visual feast for our lenses. Vintage cars, majestic horses, exhilarating motocross, and captivating models became our muses, enabling us to unleash our creativity and capture moments that would endure in our memories. While everyone was sipping away and drinks I found an old Camaro with a nearby model to shoot with and create my own image
Seeing familiar faces like Craig Parry and Rambo Estrada after such a long time was one of the highlights of the conference that brought me immense joy was reuniting with some of the other incredible Sony digital imaging ambassadors. It felt like a big family gathering where we shared yarns, and adventures we’ve gotten up to. Interacting with the amazing Sony team, whom I’ve had the pleasure of partnering with for the past decade, reinforced the strong sense of community and mutual respect that makes the Sony family so special. It truly felt like being among friends who share the same love and dedication for capturing moments through our lenses.
Looking back on my wild journey at the Sony Photography Conference in Port Douglas, I can’t help but feel overwhelmed with gratitude for the memories, knowledge, and friendships made along the way. It was so much more than just being a Sony digital imaging ambassador – it was a rollercoaster ride of inspiration, growth, and pure joy. The conference deepened my love for photography, solidified my bond with this amazing community, and left me with a hunger for more adventures behind the lens. Cheers to Port Douglas, Sony, and all the incredible people who made this adventure unforgettable!