Las Vegas Experience

Up till a week ago my photography had been pretty quiet lately because I’ve just got married and the preparations weren’t leaving much time for anything else. The wedding itself was superb, I had a fantastic time, I’m over the moon to be married to my wife, but…

Your own wedding is the best missed opportunity you’ll ever have from a photography point of view. All your friends and family are together, looking great and having a good time but you don’t have the time to be getting your camera out and starting to shoot. However, after the wedding comes the honeymoon which will hopefully give you the chance to start getting back on talking terms with your camera, although it’s still not going to be a like a photography trip.

I’ve been lucky and had the chance to go with my wife to Las Vegas and I’m also lucky that she understands my passion for photography. Vegas has a whole host of different photography opportunities so I thought I’d share some of the things I decided to shoot as well as some impressions of Vegas from a photography point of view.

Kit

First up is the different kit I used whilst out there. In my bag I carried 3 lenses – Sigma 17-50, Nikkor 70-300 and my new ultra wide angle Tokina 11-16, my small sb400 flash, sling strap, a gorilla pod and my point and shoot. Whilst at the airport I popped the bag onto one of the conveyors to check the weight and it came in at 5.3kg. Now, to lots of people out there, they’re probably thinking “is that all” but I found this plenty heavy enough.

I didn’t always carry all this kit on days out but I’m happy to say that it all got used. The 17-50 is my main lens so that did go everywhere and the other two lenses were packed when I thought they’d be needed.

Uses for the Telephoto

The 70-300 was really useful on two occasions. Once during a helicopter trip to the Grand Canyon and next on a trip to the Secret Garden at the Mirage hotel.

When I first read the recommendation to use a tele-zoom during a helicopter flight I had my doubts. As we were to be flying over the Grand Canyon I was thinking the shots would be all about the wide angle landscapes but from 2-3000ft up in a helicopter I soon realised you wouldn’t be able to compose shots without getting the helicopters frame in the image. So, I was glad I followed the tip and was actually very pleased with some of the shots I was able to get through the windows.

CanyonMountains

The Secret Garden at the Mirage hotel homes Tigers, Leopards and Dolpins. Being animal lovers, we thought this place was an excellent attraction to visit. Like any zoo environment, the wild cats were behind fences (thankfully) which can always be a nightmare for getting decent photos. Not only does it make a messy picture but it also confuses the cameras auto focus. Using the telephoto and keeping the aperture wide open though, I was able to get some decent shots with the fence not causing to much of a problem.

Leopard

Uses for the Wide Angle

The wide angle made a few appearances – inside the Grand Canyon, at the Hoover Dam and along the Las Vegas strip. I was aware of the features of the lens (although I didn’t realise the extent it is affected by glare) but I hadn’t really had chance to get used to it and had to do the best I could. The shots I ended up with aren’t fantastic but I was blown away with how good the lens is and I’m looking forward to getting more practise with it.

Hoover Dam

Interesting Shots

Other shots that I enjoyed taking were of:

  • Bellagio and Bellagio Fountains
  • The Volcano at the Mirage
  • Scenes from the top of the Eifel Tower at the Paris Hotel

I’ll be uploading more photos to Flickr of these places once I’ve had chance to process them.

Things that I didn’t shoot (either because I didn’t have time or didn’t want to have to torture my new wife) but would if I was either there longer or on a photography trip:

  • People on the street – endless opportunities here
  • Views from the top of the Statosphere
  • Getting out into the mountins

Other General Observation

I was amazed at the number of people carrying larger cameras than point and shoots (either bridging cameras or dslrs) and also the number of higher spec Dslrs I saw. The main high spec camera I was noticing was the Canon 5d mkii but there were also some Nikon D700’s and the odd Canon 1d and Nikon 3d. This could have been because it’s the first big holiday I’ve been on for quite a while so it could just be that as my interest has grown signigicantly, I’m more aware of these cameras now.

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