Las Vegas 18b Arts District is a thriving arts community, but also an ever-changing palate for local graffiti artists to express themselves. It is not uncommon to find amateur filming crews documenting artists as they add new art atop what may be only a few days old.
The Arts District is also home to the long First Friday tradition: a gathering of artists, food, drink, fun, friends, and entertainment The even is free and happens on the first Friday of each month that draws crowds in the thousands. No, I’m not advertising! It’s quite fun, and I strongly recommend it when temperatures aren’t raging hot. If you do ever have a chance to go, be sure to get there early enough to explore the District’s fun shops beforehand. They’re all unique and interesting in their own way.
Photographers: hours ahead of time, if you’re anything like me.
Many elements go into the production of a beautiful photograph, and what elements are used depends on the subject matter. For this image, I used a range of things to enhance this gerbera daisy: removal of color, foreground and background bokeh created by the water droplets, negative space, and a lighting setup that boosted the texture of the petals.
Why remove color from flowers? Most people believe a significant part of a flower’s beauty lies in their vibrance. As a photographer, I see subtle nuances start emerge as color is removed — what I’ve come to think of as the flower’s unique personality. It’s less apparent when the color distracts my eye.
This photograph taken at Alta Wind Energy Center in Tehachapi, California, is one of my favorites for many reasons. First of all, I have some strange affinity for wind farms — not merely for their energy efficiency and climate friendliness. I simply love the grandeur of them. To watch those massive blades move with such grace and precision, knowing the engineering that went into it, I find awe-inspiring. To see an entire farm of these beauties performing their dance with only the music of the wind to choreograph is mesmerizing to me.
I was out for an afternoon drive when I decided to take a detour to photograph the turbine farm. There were a few fleeting clouds, an otherwise boring sky, and several overly-friendly (read: not bothered by pesky photographers) to block the roadway at strategic junctures. It was a leisurely day, after all, and my time to squander as I saw fit. Cows were welcomed.
Duly satisfied with the images on my card and still half an hour before sunset, I scouted a location in case of a surprise. I didn’t expect much, but stranger things have happened. Lo and behold, seemingly out of nowhere, a storm cloud appears with one of the most beautiful sunset color splashes I’ve seen! Patience definitely rewarded me.
Las Vegas has an odd mixture of architectural offerings for photographers, including small scale replicas of several global icons: the Eiffel Tower, the Colosseum, the Rialto Bridge, and the Statue of Liberty, among others. What many don’t realize is that we also have a Frank Gehry building: the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, a division of Cleveland Clinic. It is located near the Arts District and the Smith Center (I highly recommend both).
To learn more about Lou Ruvo Center’s important brain research, building location and tour information, visit the Keep Memory Alive website.
If you read about that gull sitting on a fence rail, this is the shot I wanted. This isn’t where most people go to shoot the Golden Gate Bridge, but there are thousands of photos already on the internet from Hawk Hill in Marin County. I have those too, of course, along with many others. No self-respecting photographer who has spent time in the Bay Area of California is without those.
This shot was taken at Horseshoe Bay, situated northeast of the bridge. The North Tower of the GGB is in the foreground. I’ll eventually get around to posting a Hawk Hill shot or two here. For now, I hope you enjoy this low perpsective.
Me: Excuse me SG (seagull): [sits silently] Me: Ahem… excuse me please. SG: [fluffs feathers, glares at me] Me: [glares back] I want to shoot the bridge. SG: Yeah, so? Me: It’s an icon of this city. MSG (monsieur [huffy] SG): You and every tourist. What makes you so special? Me: You have an attitude. I want a picture of it. Do you mind? SASG (figure it out): It’s a chunk of steel, just sits there. Me: [losing patience] It’s a beautiful bridge! SG: You should photograph something interesting. Look, I can stand on one leg. [stands on one leg] Me: Go find a different rail. SG: Go find a different bridge. I was here first. Me: I will not! I’m here to shoot the Golden Gate. SG: Find a different place to shoot it. I like this spot and I won’t move! [mutters under breath: tourists!] Me: I’m not a tourist! SG: Oh yeah? Then why are you carrying a camera? Me: I’m a photographer. SG: Take that Miss Photographer! [turns around]
Me: [dances happily, singing] I just shot you in the arse. Take that, smartypants!
SG: You didn’t!!
Me: Oh. Yes. I. Did!!
As an aside, I named this image “Lamp Post” because I’ve been told I’ll argue with a lamp post or just about anything.
Playing with my camera is always fun, no matter what I’m shooting. Sometimes I decide to color outside the lines, get a little creative. That’s when I invariably either surprise myself and get exactly what I want on the first try — or, as I did today, spend most of a day rearranging, changing the light, trying unorthodox methods, before I get what I want. I might end up throwing out a few dozen bad images. Sometimes I give up completely, but that’s rare because I’m very stubborn!