WordCamp EU 2023, Athens.

WordCamp EU is an annual conference held for European members of the WordPress community, where a diverse group of developers, designers, and organisations get together for talks, workshops, and networking. As part of my job at Automattic, I’ve been to a couple of these in the past – specifically Paris in 2017, and Belgrade in Serbia in 2018. It’s always a great opportunity to connect and re-connect with folks outside my immediate sphere, and I was especially pleased to see that the host city for 2023 was one of my favourite places in the world. In case you haven’t read the title of the post, that would be Athens.

I joined the photography team for the weekend, and used this as an excuse for a long overdue upgrade to my camera gear – buying a refurbished, full-frame Sony A7 IV, which would also double up nicely for recording video. I didn’t really have many suitable auto-focus lenses, so paired it with a general all-rounder in the form of a Tamron 20-40mm f2.8. I did also pick up a Viltrox 85mm f1.8 for some greater reach, but unfortunately it didn’t arrive in time, so I was stuck with an older manual focus classic – the Meyer-Optik Görlitz Orestor 135mm f2.8.

For those of you curious about such things, I also took along my Leica M Typ 240 rangefinder as a second body, with the Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.4, Voigtlander 15mm f4.5, and the Canon 50mm f0.95 dream lens. I swear I had some other ultra wide angle lens for the Sony as well, but I can’t remember what one. Yes yes, I’m useless, though to be fair, I’ve held off posting this until now, to allow for the pictures to be shared on the various official WCEU channels. Can’t have my incredibly well-trafficked blog stealing their thunder after all.

There are always a number of concurrent sessions going on at any one time, and a fairly sizeable team of photographers as a result. As a foot-loose and fancy free type of guy, I was left to roam around the halls for most of the time, getting pictures of the various stands and sponsors.

Despite being an ancient manual focus lens, the 135mm held its own for the sessions.

though a wide angle perspective is always nice too.

Speaking of which, the weekend’s venue was the Megaron Athens International Conference Centre. The main theatre was probably the biggest I’ve ever been in – and it was difficult to capture the sheer size.

It made for a fitting place to have the keynotes though.

My time in Athens was relatively short, as I had a slightly later arrival than anticipated, but it was good to be immersed in the European WordPress community again – particularly after a number of years in absentia thanks to COVID.

Roaming about an event with a camera slung over each should is something that I haven’t done in a while either, but which feels instantly familiar – and I enjoyed getting to be part of the weekend by utilising a different set of skills which – while still very much part of who I am – aren’t what I normally do at work.

Naturally, my personal commitment to documentation extended to the after-hours as well, as the Greek parties spilled out into the streets, and the 50mm f0.95 came in handy.

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