Blue hour at Paris Las Vegas

Vegas is crowded, but not at 6am!

I like Las Vegas.  I don't love it, but I like it.  It's an interesting town, and there is a lot to shoot there.  The biggest problem with it though is that it is crowded!  It's hard to get a clean shot of anything there...and I prefer my shots to be devoid of tourists.  They kinda ruin it for me.

So, how do you solve that problem?  Get up really early!

Blue hour on the Las Vegas beautiful that time of day!

Theoretically, you could stay up really late and wait out the crowds, but since Las Vegas is pretty much a party town, you would likely be up all night.  I prefer to get up early and get out to shoot while everyone else is asleep.  It's hard, but doable.  Really hard, I might add.  But that's what caffeine is for.  That way you don't fall asleep in your afternoon meetings.  Or, maybe you do.  Either way, at least you got some shots!

I like their version of the Arc de Triomphe - pretty large too!

In addition to shooting when the streets are empty, I also absolutely love blue hour, especially in the morning.  It's so beautiful to see the sky turn such a brilliant shade of blue. 

Looking up at the Eiffel Tower at Paris Las Vegas...

In Las Vegas, where there is a neon sign at every turn, it's especially beautiful to me.  I love how the lights of the town contrast with the blue in the sky.  Just one of those things that I love about photography.

So next time you are in Las Vegas, find a morning when you can wander The Strip pretty early.  You'll be happy with all the shots you get.

A slightly different look at the Eiffel Tower.

Shopping at The Venetian

Ahhh...The Venetian.  What an incredible hotel.  If you ever get to Las Vegas, be sure and stop by here and check this place out.  It is beautiful, and very accessible.  One cool part of the hotel complex is this section, where they have re-created an imagined Venetian scene, complete with stores, cobblestone paths, and this canal where you can catch a gondola ride.  It’s not Italy, but it’s a pretty good imitation of it!

I recently created a new list here, which is “Top Photo Spots in Las Vegas”.  You can click here to check it out - The Venetian is on it a couple of times!

Bellagio reflected

After that last post, which was pretty long, I think my next few will be a bit shorter.

This is the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, just after sunrise one morning.  I love the light at sunrise, and being able to enjoy a scene in complete solitude - especially in Las Vegas - is pretty fabulous.  I will be in Las Vegas again soon, and will probably shoot this scene again since I have some other ideas for shots there.  Shooting the same scene twice - sound familiar?  Thanks for stopping by!

Well, I guess I couldn't pass up the opportunity to share a Before & After here.  I love HDR and when I compare the finished product with the straight-from-Photomatix result...there really is no comparison!

That warm morning glow

Las Vegas is a great town to shoot in, as you can probably imagine.  There is just so much to see at every turn.  The thing is though - the town is crowded.  It's packed.  People are everywhere.  So how did I get this shot with no one in it?  Easy - I got up really early.     

That is the trick in touristy places.  If you get up early and shoot the sunrise, you normally have them all to yourself.  I do that a lot when I travel, and Las Vegas was no exception.  I rarely saw another person, except cleaning crews and a couple of folks who looked like they were just calling it a night.

It was strange to be so utterly alone in a place like Las Vegas.  But, it was great for photography - and I was happy for a morning of peaceful HDR work!

Sin City sunrise

Las Vegas is a great town for photography.  I suspect most folks there shoot sunset but not me, I go for sunrise.  Yep, the rest of the town is asleep (or in some cases, still awake from the previous night!) and I was out hammering brackets on the Strip.

Sunrise is always a great time to shoot, and in Las Vegas it's about the only time you will get places mostly to yourself.  Everything is always crowded - or so it seems - but at sunrise there is a certain calm to the place.  It's eerily quiet, and things are either still, or moving slow.  The energy of the place is vastly different.  Better, really.  

And sometimes, you just happen to have a wonderfully colorful sunrise with great clouds while you are standing at the lagoon in front of Bellagio...

Luxury shopping at Bellagio

Bellagio is a luxury hotel in Las Vegas and is right in the middle of the action on The Strip.  Though I am not one to spend much time shopping (well, except at the Apple store or a camera shop), I did enjoy an early monring photo walk through the shopping areas which are attached to Bellagio.  It's all pretty much luxury stuff, which is no fun to shop for but often makes for nice pictures!  It's such a beautiful place and the shiny, gleaming marble floors are just right for some HDR action!

Walking The Strip part I

I spent one morning in Las Vegas just shooting random stuff.  Often I go out with tripod in hand, armed and ready for a monster-sized bracket hunt.  I did that on my first morning out in Las Vegas.  Other times though, I like the casual randomness of this and that, a single frame at a time.  Here's some single frame bits of randomness from Las Vegas!

** If you like this sort of thing, would you mind leaving a comment and letting me know?** 

I have lots of little shots like these from all my travels.  I am thinking about sharing them here, as it sort of fills in the little spaces between my full-on HDR shots.  I feel like I am weaving a fabric here - sort of a never-ending tale - and it isn't complete without these little bits.  Does that make any sense?  Do you want to see this stuff?

I just love taking pictures of signs of all sorts.  Big, small, bright neon, dull and dilapidated - you name it and I like it.  Well as you can imagine, there is quite a bit of signage to shoot in Las Vegas - it's like some sort of mecca for sign shooters.  

This pattern just really caught my eye!

Here's the Sphinx standing guard at Luxor:

Well that's it for today.  I have plenty more stuff to share, so please visit again!  Thanks so much!!

The Las Vegas time machine

I know, this picture looks crazy!  This is what I consider a bit over-the-top HDR, but hey's it's Las Vegas - everything is over-the-top there!!  (I came this close to saying "you're so money" haha.)  

It was early morning blue hour in Las Vegas, and after shooting some at Paris I kept walking up the Strip and the next place you bump into is Bally's.  This is their entrance and the moment I saw it, I just knew it was going to need the radical HDR treatment.  I was having trouble coming up with a title for this, but I kept thinking that it looked like the entrance to some weird science project in a bad Sci-Fi movie...sorta like a time machine!  Then I realized that all the casinos in Las Vegas are like time enter, only to emerge 3 days later broke and dehydrated! So...there you go!

Sunrise in Las Vegas

Just wanted to take a moment and thank everyone for the visits here to read my interview with Jeff Clow. Glad to see so many folks liked it, and thanks too all for the shares, retweets, +1s, etc!!

Here's another Las Vegas shot from my trip out there recently.  That town is a photographic wonderland - there's just something interesting at every turn!  I had been shooting inside the Bellagio and ended up stepping out a side door, right into this scene.  I literally took 2 steps out the door, set up the tripod and fired some brackets!  Easy living!

Las Vegas morning

Just a post and run today - wrapping up my travels for a while, thankfully!  This is the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas (on the left, that is - the one on the right is Caesar's Palace), which is an incredibly beautiful property, inside and out.  I grabbed these brackets while heading back to my hotel one morning - I'm a sucker for reflections!