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Jan 122011

The crowds in part of Samsung’s huge booth provide a small perspective on the hoards attending CES.

CEA, the Consumer Electronics Association has been a client of mine for quite a while now. They are the organization that puts on the enormous Consumer Electronics Show every year in Las Vegas. It is one of the largest trade shows in the world and certainly the most important in the field of consumer electronics. In all the years I’ve photographed for CEA, my schedule never permitted me to attend CES. Personally knowing many of the exhibitors and having been exposed to their businesses, their philosophies and to CEA, couldn’t prepare me for the onslaught to the senses embodied in the CES. It is, in one word, astounding, in two, beyond comprehension. Over 2,700 exhibitors take over not just the enormous 3.2 million square feet of the Las Vegas Convention Center, but the Hilton Convention Center next door, the Venetian’s Convention Center, and numerous other venues around the city. The logistics is staggering. Over 125,000 people from literally all over the planet attend. Exhibitors range from tiny startup hopefuls in 10×10 booths to giants like Samsung, Panasonic, LG, Ford, Intel, Microsoft, Sony and many more with extremely sophisticated, humongous displays likely covering several tens of thousands of square feet. Trying to see everything is an exercise in futility. On a sensory level, it is overwhelming. The following is simply a taste of what I experienced beginning with my flight on January 6th from Denver to Vegas. With my face continually pressed to my window on the northern side of the plane, the flight was an amazing prelude to an astounding experience.

(Scroll down to see the images.)


I’m leaving Denver for the huge Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas shortly after sunrise. Flying west then west-southwest over the mountains after a clearing winter storm provides spectacular views as the clouds clear just east of the continental divide. Fresh snow blankets the mountains. One beautiful scene after another unfolds beneath. Visibility goes for what, a hundred miles? At least!

The knife-edge ridges of the Gore Range, tinged pink from the morning sun rise dramatically from their steep, cloud-shrouded valleys. Next, the glistening, pristine white runs of Vail, well-defined clear cuts through the dark trees of the slopes flow past. Following Vail, the familiar runs of Beaver Creek unfold, my house in Singletree clearly visible across the valley.

We turn slightly south as Cordillera, Brush Creek and Eagle, then Gypsum slide by. The dark, depths of Glenwood Canyon hide the interstate while the vast expanse of the snow-covered Flattops stretch to the north. Next, the town of Carbondale and the Roaring Fork Valley extend north to its terminus at Glenwood Springs followed by low mountains and valleys little known to me. The familiar flat expanse of the ranches south of Silt appear; a short cut through which we frequently drive to our cabin outside Collbran.

The 12,000’ heights of Battlement Mesa rise just to the north and then there it is, Vega Lake and three short miles northwest, a tiny ribbon of white leads to my beloved Hummingbird Knob, our cabin in the woods. Carlyle Currier’s empty hayfields above our land are snow-shrouded, brilliant and lonely.

The familiar ranches surrounding Collbran and the Plateau Valley slide past before the extreme northwest tip of 10,000’ Grand Mesa appears, very flat and stark white above the shear, 5,000 foot drops off its flanks.

Next, there’s the cityscape of Grand Junction and its namesake confluence of the Colorado and Gunnison rivers, the town flanked on the southwest by the red-rock mesas and canyons of Colorado Monument.

The flat plateaus south and west of Junction give way to the convoluted canyons northeast of the Monte La Sals, the mountains just southwest of Moab. The lazy, goosenecks of the Colorado River appear, deep within the bounding red-rock cliffs whose  broad mesas extend into the pinnacles, bluffs and convoluted folds of Arches National Park. Then, as we fly southwest through the dramatic, tortured wilds of south-central Utah, one after another in slow, stately procession, the national parks of Canyonlands, Capitol Reed, Escalante, and Bryce are clearly delineated in the vastness.

Distant mountains and ranges lay in to the north and west. Vast plains, empty, expanses of white, separate the ranges.

Finally, just before flying out of the mountains and valleys of Southern Utah into the deserts of Nevada, the deep, red-rock canyon of Zion, in all its glory, white and red and dark, dark green, lie literally at my feet. The blank, steep, red walls of it’s western sister, Kolub Canyon, are just to the north with the vast ridge of Cedar Breaks even farther.

St. George and the confluence of the Virgin River and I-15 appear, the interstate and its broad valley disappearing in the distant north amidst the jumble of mountains. Red mountains on St. George’s west rise sharply from it city roots.

Again mountains, this time cut deeply by the Virgin River and I-15, end abruptly at the tiny, extreme northwestern slice of Arizona. Appearing out of the desert is the gambling/retirement town of Mesquite, on the Arizona and Nevada border, then briefly the agricultural valley of Moapa flows beneath with its towns of Logandale and Overtone. Just to the west, the unmistakeable, crimson rock of Valley of Fire State Park erupts from the surrounding, drab reddish rock of the north shore of Lake Mead.

We cross the sparkling, deep-azure waters of Lake Mead, crisp in contrast to the tortuous, barren, surrounding rock and mountains. Its sharply defined, chalk-like bathtub ring defines high-water some years before, clear proof of the recent years of low precipitation in the Southwest. Flying along the lake’s southern shore, the slender thread of Hoover Dam appears, a fragile bulwark to the enormous pressure unceasingly  pressing against it.

And finally, to the dam’s north and just before landing, the bankrupt, empty terraces interspersed throughout the development of Lake Las Vegas gives lie to the illusion of unlimited growth, clear proof of the broken dreams in this, the foreclosure capitol of America.

A small part of Panasonic’s booth featuring the 3D TVs. The large TV in the middle, at 152 inches, is, I believe the largest HD 3D display in existence.

A part of Microsoft’s exhibition. Note the TV studio on the upper level. Several exhibitors had their own broadcast facilities incorporated into their booths.

A very few of some of the “smaller” exhibitors.

Part of Dolby’s booth. Of course, their home theater sound displays were very impressive.

Entering Motorola’s booth.

2011 is the year of the tablet. Scores and scores of tablets were introduced. Motorola’s new tablet running on Android’s latest Honeycomb OS generated a lot of buzz. They wouldn’t let me touch it though.

NBC Universal’s huge booth…

…had this large gaming/karaoke space inside the booth…

And they did live broadcasts as well.

Here’s another someone doing live telecasts from the show floor. Media was everywhere. Many where using small, hand-held videos cameras so they could post directly to their blogs.

A video portal into Samsung’s display.

Samsung’s new ultra-thin TV, I think it was a 72″ and only about 1″ thick.

And there were cars and thousands of things you can buy for your car…

Like mobile sound.

The new, beautifully, sleek Audi E-Tron…

And more cars of all vintages.

More high-end mobile sound from former CEA Board Chairman Loyd Ivey’s Mitek Corporation.

Maybe you just want a little driving game for your rec room…

Perhaps a driving game for your kids…

Or maybe you’d prefer an electric powered, remote-controlled skateboard…

Or play with controlling some robot balls with your iPhone…

Or build your own personal robot.

How about more grown up robots, say to defuse that bomb or plug that radioactive leak in your kitchen…

Or just to vacuum your floor.

Wanna Hook Up? Beautiful models were in booth after booth after booth after booth.

So what’s new with Polaroid?

They’ve got Lady Gaga! She’s somewhere in that throng announcing a new line of products…

The Lady Gaga camera, instant bluetooth printer and Gaga glasses camera. Wonder what they paid her?

Probably two hundred booths had cases for iPads, iPhones computers and everything else electronic. I thought I could make a statement with one of these cases for my iPhone.

There were all kinds of interestingly designed gadgets for the home and office of the future.


There were loads of hands-on displays for new technologies.

Intel’s 3D art creation station. One of a couple of dozen hands-on products you could test in Intel’s huge booth.

A representative from Dreamworks telling about using Intel’s new 2nd generation core processors in the production of their hit movie, Megamind.

Sharp’s new Aquos and Quatron four-color HD and 3D TV’s were spectacular.

And then there was Sony’s humongous 3D display. I think it was somewhere around 15-20 feet high and 80 feet long. Or maybe just 10×60, who knows, but you could view it with standard 3D glasses instead of the expensive proprietary glasses needed for other manufacturers. The others were better though.

Maybe all you want is your own personal 3D TV. I didn’t like it much though

Gary Shapiro, President and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association, signing his new book, “Comeback-How Innovation Will Restore the American Dream” Gary is somewhat of a hero to me. He is brilliant, whip-smart, an excellent, articulate speaker, a visionary and deeply devoted to the CE industry. His wife, Mal, is beautiful and brilliant as well, and both are down to earth, genuinely warm people.

And when you’re exhausted from standing and walking and need to collapse from the sheer overload, the world’s most comfortable and sophisticated recliner is available for testing. I think they must have had a time limit.

Copyright 2010 Dennis Jones/Dreamcatcher Imaging