First of all, I would like to say, for the record, that there was absolutely no pressure put on me or any of the other bloggers by the folks at Sony to blog about this event or their products. It was neither mentioned nor inferred. But they were SO GREAT, there is no way I wouldn’t blog about the trip, the products, or the people I met.
When I first got the email inviting me to an all-expenses paid trip to California courtesy of the Sony Corporation, I was both shocked and dubious. I mean, things like this just do not happen to me! Plus, they were offering spa treatments and free gifts! Crazy! What really got me hooked on going, though, is that it would a) give me a much-needed break from my daily life and b) we were going to test cameras! I love taking pictures but wish I was a lot, lot, better at it. They had booked a professional photographer to give us lessons (more on her later) and I was very excited about that! But really – free trip? They had me at “free”.
The flights there were long but uneventful, and I was tickled to see a driver with my name on a sign at the airport when I got there. Again – a surreal experience! I wish I would have gotten a picture of that! When we got to the hotel, we were given a voucher for spa service and for dinner. I ate a fancy dinner with Kim and Christina, had a great time, took some pics, and went to bed. I was very jet laggy. Since I went to bed at 9 p.m. Cali time, I woke up at 5:30 a.m. Cali time! I was still on my Ohio schedule! Our sessions with Sony didn’t start until 9 a.m. Ha! I had puh-lenty of time to get ready, since I only had myself to worry about! It was weird just having to take care of me, but great. I mean I got a shower without the kids being in the bathroom with me! That’s luxury, baby.
There were 14 other Mommy Bloggers at the event, and when we all walked into the conference room, we were greeted with a very special treat: three of Sony’s cameras, the ones we were going to be testing, at our seats, waiting for us, but also given to us. FOR KEEPS! I could hardly believe it! We were not only testing the products we got to take them home! We got the Cybershot DSC-T2, the Alpha DSLR-A200K, and the Handycam HDR-SR11. I was floored. Give me a free trip and a couple grand in free products? Did I have to sign over my firstborn child? Join a harem? Was there a catch?
Believe it or not, there really was no catch. Just a room full of Sony folk legitimately wanting to know what moms think about their products. It was so refreshing. All the presenters with Sony told us the different reasons how and why they wanted to market to women, and moms in particular. I must say this is a first for a technology company. I think it goes without saying that most technology products are produced for and marketed to the male consumer. But Sony is looking to change that. And dangit if they weren’t so nice about it. I kept thanking each Sony rep I’d meet for bringing us to La Jolla and for all the great treatment we were getting. The response was always the same: “Thank you so much for coming and giving your valuable time to give us this important feedback.” They were as grateful to have me there as I was to be there!
After some introduction and training on the cameras, as well as a great lunch, we got into our photo tips session with photographer Me Ra Koh. (Pronounce it “Meera” like it’s all one word.) She is amazing. Not just as a photographer, but as a woman, a mom, and a blogger. We had the best time with her. I encourage you to check out her photography site and her blog. She has also recently produced a set of DVDs that I’m going to be reviewing and giving away soon, so stay tuned for that! After some practice shooting with our SLRs, we had a little free time, and I got a wonderful massage. THANK YOU SONY! That was the best hour I’ve had in a looong time. Oh my gosh. It was awesome! Although I did get into a small non-relaxing debate with the masseuse about whether or not it was ok to give Sophie whole milk while I was gone. (I was of the opinon that it was fine. The massage therapist…not so much.) Yeah…we had to drop that subject. I’ll have to blog on that later. After that, I left feeling all relaxed and happy, and we all went to a fancy-schmancy dinner at a restaurant called Azul’s. It was sooo good. I had a great time! I got to sit next to the fabulous Me Ra and she was so nice. We had a great talk and a lot of laughs!
Then it was off to bed…the next morning was early and busy. We had just a couple of hours of sessions before it was time to go home!! We made prints of some of the photos we had taken the day before and Me Ra and her husband Brian critiqued them for us. It was really fun to see the shots everyone had gotten! Then, it was over and I was whisked off to the airport by a uniformed driver (who, me??). In all the rush I somehow lost my laptop power adapter. Very sad indeed! I am not sure if I left it at the hotel (called, haven’t heard back) or in the airport…I had to unpack my laptop bag to get thru security, and again when I was pumping my breasts in the airport bathroom. So, that was kind of a bummer, but considering all I gained on the trip, not so bad!
Let me share a few pictures I took with my CyberShot. Sony is shipping my other two cameras to me and I am going to do a full review of all three cameras once I have tested them thoroughly! I am even going to try and do my first VIDEO review of the CyberShot. Exciting stuff! In the meantime, here are some shots:
This is the first pic I took with my CyberShot. I call it “Jenny likey free camera.” I thought this one looked kind cool. Watch out, Me Ra Koh!This was the view from the meeting roomThis is a view of the meeting room – the veranda was off of our meeting room, the garden below is where we had lunch!
Of course I had to get some practice in with the CyberShot when I got home, on my two little favorite subjects!
They were a sight for sore eyes indeed!
So to recap: The time away was great, the fancy schmancy treatments rocked, the free cameras were amazing, Me Ra Koh is inspiring, and Sony is the technology company that gives a crap what YOU as a MOM thinks. Who knew??Stay tuned for my reviews coming in the next couple weeks of the CyberShot, the Handycam, and the Alpha DSLR!