H10 Rubicon Palace, Playa Blanca, Lanzarote
Week in View by Dave Jagger.
In 2014 in the week following the 27th PTO at Fuertaventura, Carol, my wife (who is a PTO non delegate) and I were fortunate enough to get an insight into the extensive planning and preparation that goes into arranging and hosting the PTO events each year. George and Glenys Dawber the owners of PTO and our wonderful hosts each year were already planning the 29th PTO 2016 at the magnificent H10 Rubicon Palace Hotel at Playa Blanca, Lanzarote, a venue PTO had previously visited. Our brief visit to the venue that year whilst George liaised with the hotel management really left us with the knowledge and excitement that the venue would be absolutely first class and 2 years later it didn’t disappoint us one bit.
The H10 Rubicon Palace sported great accommodation with 7 restaurants, including 3 speciality restaurants which were all included in our ‘all inclusive’ holiday basis and we really couldn’t believe the high standard and variety of the food throughout. The hotel staff were pleasant, courteous and even always politely asked if we had finished before clearing the tables. There were 5 adult swimming pools, one heated and one with its own yacht in the water, a spa and gym. The grounds of the hotel were extensive but very well maintained, the views were magnificent, there was a variety of hotel entertainment each evening and we could even get a drink into the early hours in the sports bar.
Of course the format, set up and the camaraderie of the delegates, tutors and PTO team means really we could have a great time if we had to sleep and learn in tents but I expect you realise by now the venue this year was top notch and the general up beat feeling was further enhanced by the wonderfully hot and sunny weather that shone down on us for the whole week.
The 2016 PTO tutors were once again excellent – Panikos Hajistilly, Kenny Martin, Guy Gowan, Vincent O’Byrne, Natalie Martin, Andrew Younger, Tigz Rice and Simon John. I’m sure you agree that’s an interesting lineup. From How to Obtain Inspiration, Posing, Lighting, Portraits, Boudoir, Weddings, PS, Marketing & Sales there was something for everyone and most delegates obtained lots of very useful information at each masterclass. Although I could mention each tutors individual contribution to the week it would be better to think of them as a team who shared their vast knowledge and expertise by giving us food for thought to challenge us plus tips and techniques to try out back home. The classes and messages the tutors gave all seemed to flow from one to the next. Even the tutors attended each others classes such was the standard of knowledge sharing and just because each session had officially finished as per the programme time (which everyone continually read George !) the tutors continued to answer further questions, share yet more advice and give more information later in the bar, for a whole week we had them to ourselves and no one was above helping and sharing.
I also witnessed lots of 1 to 1’s with tutors and models going on in various parts of the hotel plus past tutors who attended as delegates giving image critiques and information regarding photographic standards and qualifications. The ‘Fuji Guy’ Nathan Wake took a group of delegates for an early morning ‘long exposure’ shoot allowing them the chance to try out the very latest Fuji gear plus the great guys from The Flash Centre Si and Bi provided tuition and practical help with the Elinchrom gear they had brought with them. Everyone had a willingness to share information freely.
This year it was also great to see quiet a lot of non delegate partners who had attended, more than on the other years I had attended. My wife who’s been attending PTO for a number of years always feels accepted and this year it was no different, Carol really enjoyed the week, relaxing by the pool whilst we were in class and joining me during breaks and in the evenings. I also saw the other partners doing the same and I’m sure they too were having a great time with us.
The usual delegate 10 minute tantiliser evening was replaced with presentations by two of the delegates, Tim Collins on the Go Pro and Dave Silvester who explained his personal workflow. The industry legend this year was Gerry Coe who shared some very interesting stories and images from his extensive photographic career ( I didn’t realise Gerry is only 35 – amazing!)
One of the highlights of the week was the digital image critique and competition. Every delegate can submit a digital image in one of 3 categories – Weddings, Portrait and Open. Every image submitted received a fair and thoughtful assessment by one of the weeks tutors and then the 30 finalists which had been pre judged in the UK and printed out by One Vision were again judged in private by some of the tutors. At the end of the week it was great to see a new delegate, Jenny Harrington-Rutterford taking the PR and Photo Art competition as well as a runner up prize in the Wedding Category. Regular PTO attender but new winner, Sally Faulkner also took a prize in the Open category and Michael Slyfield won the Wedding category with an image from a wedding he came across in Rome. Michael also took the PTO Photographer Of The Year prize with an image of his partners father in the Portrait category. The Societies once again supplied the fantastic glass trophies to the winners, One Vision printed the image finalists and gave a redeemable voucher to each winner whilst Fuji and Epsom also supplied two great prizes for the PR and Photo Art Competition.
As a delegate I would just like to take this opportunity to reiterate that we are very grateful to all the sponsors of PTO (Aduki; Epson; Everybodysmile; Fuji; One Vision Imaging; The Flash Centre; and The Societies) who added an awful lot to our overall enjoyment and helped to make PTO such a special event once again. So here’s a big delegate thank you to you all, it was very much appreciated by everyone.
As this was the 29th PTO everyone, including people back home who weren’t able to attend this year eagerly awaited news of where the big 30th PTO would be held in 2017 and when the announcement was a made a mad frenzy to make an early booking ensued. Such immediate excitement about the next years venue had never been seen and lots of people booked there and then. Even the next day the PTO Crew were taking phone calls from the Uk from people wanting to make bookings.
To keep PTO going every year for 30 years without a break is a massive achievement and one which I have no doubt will be celebrated extensively next year in CUBA ! But as the penultimate event for the big one next year the 29th PTO was a great success and one of the best I have attended. So thank you G&G, PTO Crew, Howard, Simon, Faye and Rolls, all the tutors and sponsors – you did it again – 2016 was fantastic.