I have just returned home from Orlando, Florida‚äîwhere I did not go to Disney World. However, I did attend the annual Diving Equipment Marketing Association (DEMA) trade show. This “wasn’t my first rodeo,” as a DEMA show attendee. I’ve been to this event thirty-some-odd times and it’s easy to fall into the “same show, different year” mindset.
But not this year.
At this year’s show I felt a buzz of excitement, on the show floor that I haven’t noticed in a few years. What was different was the fact that younger people are bringing new ideas, innovation and energy, into our sport.
As a photographer I always pay close attention to new underwater photographic equipment being introduced at DEMA. I certainly was not disappointed in that regard. I think there will be a resurgence of interest in still photography and videography given the increased popularity of mirrorless cameras. These cameras offer a lot of the features found in top-of-the-line digital single lens reflex cameras, but they are considerably more compact, thus easier to handle when traveling and in the water.
And there were a few other photographic goodies such as fluorescent dive lights that are going to help us get new shots. These lights commanded a lot of attention at the show.
When visiting the various exhibit booths, I kept noticing that the photographic examples that exhibitors used to show off their new products were of California dive sites. Kelp forests. Garibaldi portraits. Gray whales and great whites. And when I’d ask an exhibitor, “Where are you based?” I’d often get “California” as the answer.
Of course, the DEMA show is a very big event and it wasn’t all about California and Californians. But being in Orlando and seeing California so well represented at a truly international show that draws exhibitors and attendees from the far reaches of the globe made me feel proud that our little corner of the world was featured so prominently.
My “What I Did at DEMA” report reads like this:
I met some enthusiastic folks who I believe are the face of our industry’s future.
I learned about some new and innovative “must have” photo gear and accessories.
I discovered a few faraway destinations that I’d like to visit.
I caught up with friends and colleagues.
But perhaps the most rewarding part of the trip was returning to California with a renewed appreciation for what our local diving has to offer those of us who live here, and what our local diving community offers to the world. It’s good to be home!