New York State Of Mind

Taken in Vegas at the New York New York casino. Which would explain the New York theme.

My first trip ever to Las Vegas was for a birthday party (could have happily been my last) and I happened to stay at the the New York New York Casino. It was my introduction to casino mindgames and how stupid expensive Las Vegas is unless you are gambling and that’s a whole other level of expense.

One of the joyful things large casinos like to do is make it impossible to find the exit. Why? If you aren’t in there they aren’t making any money off you. From a business standpoint it’s brilliant. From the practical standpoint it absolutely sucks trying to find an exit when you actually want to go outside.

The other thing you want to pay attention to is that there is never a clock in casino. EVER! Again, this is done on purpose to separate you from reality and keep you spending, gambling or doing whatever. Sure, we all have a phone now with a clock on it but for most people it’s more natural to look for a clock then reach for a phone.

There are those that love Las Vegas and I applaud them. Me? I live on the other side of the world and happily making it my mission never to go back there again.

This image was shot on a EM1 so I knew I could not push the file that much so it’s more or less out of the camera. I used Intensify to bump some stuff on it then dodged and burned for local contrast since I was happy with the image overall.


New York State Of Mind

Fountain Spray

Shot this in Vegas with the fountains from the Bellagio Hotel.

Been in a weird editing mood lately. Felt like doing more, HDR-esq photos and going over the top. I shift from reality based super clean to going from it’s my world and I’ll make it look however the hell I want.

Maybe part of it is the fact I live in Thailand where reality sometimes seems a lifetime ago with some of the stuff I have seen in the last month. There is no culture shock but there is just a holy hell I live here factor and now pay attention to things I otherwise ignored or didn’t deal with when I was on holiday. So maybe the bit of unreality has worked it’s way into my editing for the moment and seems to be a trend. Who knows.

Editing this was standard workflow then moved into Aurora HDR and crunched up a bit. Then I brought it into Intensify CK and hit a preset. Once I was happy hit save and called it done.


Fountain Spray

Waster Dance

I shot these while I was in Las Vegas last year. These are the Bellagio Fountains that are in front of the Bellagio Hotel and Casino on the Vegas Strip. They do nightly shows, not sure about daytime as I am usually working so no idea if they do it then. They change up the theme periodically and they set it to music that is piped through speakers. I know they are scheduled and you can tell its about to begin because the crowds gather. I was lucky to get my tripod where I did.

These were all shot on my Sony A7R. I was using my Tokina 24-200 with an adapter. While it was an autofocus lens it had its fair share of issues. Happy to report after selling out a bunch of gear and using my American Express points I acquired the Sony 24-240 I have been wanting for my travel/landscape work. Looking at one more lens for wider images but that will do for the Sony kit.

When I started editing I didn’t even want these images. Was looking for a different one to edit. Then I started on these and the next thing I know I’m 13 images deep. I just kept at it as they were straight forward. I went for a consistent style and format in the edits. A 16×9 crop to get the expansive feeling. Nothing overly fancy. Just a bit of dodging and burning to get the water to pop.


Water DanceWater DanceWater DanceWater DanceWater DanceWater DanceWater DanceWater DanceWater DanceWater DanceWater DanceWater DanceWater Dance


Hard Rock Cafe – Las Vegas

I have shot this sign before. I’m a sucker for a Gibson Les Paul done in Sunburst. As for the restaurant itself can’t comment as I have never been in it but I have been in the Hard Rock Casino and thats got a lot of cool memorabilia in it if you are a rock music buff.

This was shot on my Olympus EM1 at 24mm. Took 5 images and did the HDR merge and then the usual Photoshop fun ensued. Nothing overly fancy. The biggest thing I did was to make sure the guitar itself popped. Like I said I’m a sucker for a good looking Les Paul.

Final note – It goes to 11!


Hard Rock Cafe Las Vegas

Shadowy Walkway

This was shot at the Venetian and it took awhile to get. I didn’t want anyone in the frame so I had to wait for people to move out it. When you are shooting long exposures this can either be a problem or not. If someone walks through quick enough they won’t appear. If they don’t then they are a blur in the shot. Sometimes this is nice sometimes its not. In this case I didn’t want them.

I used Macphun’s Intensify Pro to bring out the shadow details then masked it back into the original image with a varying opacity to the areas I wanted. Then ran it through Nik Silver Efex and bumped the structure in the image then used a luminosity mask to give it a bit of the secret sauce.

From there done!



Tower Of The Doge

Another one from the Venetian in Las Vegas. This is supposed to mimic an Italian courtyard with the tower rising above it.

Wasn’t sure about this image. Lots of layer masks going on with this one to bring out the areas I wanted and others I didn’t. I think in total I used something like 6 layers to get the final effect and I’m still not 100% happy with it. Still, its something I can live with and the tower and details look cool.



Paris Via Vegas

If someone was to ask me one of the least likely places I would go Las Vegas ranks high up there. It’s not my favorite place on earth. I just get sent there for work once a year. Yes, I have an okay time but I could happily live without ever going there again.

One of the amazing things I discovered as I walked down the Las Vegas Strip is that if you have a camera on a tripod no one bothers you! As in, the touts, the beggars, the hustlers and the abysmally drunk. It was one of the most glorious things that I had happen to me. I wanted to carry it all the time!

The two times I was stopped was once by a couple of guys who were extremely well muscled who earned money by posing for pictures. They wanted a camera recommendation and the next was a limo driver who wanted to fawn over the camera. Other than that, I was left alone. I did get stopped by security once and asked to stop shooting. There was a private event and he said I wasn’t licensed for it so I needed to stop. That I understood and happily went on my way.

So enjoy this first glimpse of Las Vegas.



The Downward Spiral

Points as usual if you get the title reference. I’ll give you a hint NIN.

This was shot in Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Well, the shots in Caesars Palace Mall. Is nothing but high-end, luxury retail stores. I am not what you call their target demographic. While I can buy their goods; this site is run by a man who thinks the latest fashion is a concert t-shirt and shorts. I look like a slob most of the time. I rather be comfortable than fashionable.

Still, I like the image.

Right now I am not sure how I will work moving forward. The secret of me being in Thailand for the next 6 weeks will be out that that point on social media so I may finish the other shots I took in Las Vegas or move to Thailand. I guess it depends on how I feel.


Downward Spiral


People of Vegas

These are random shots over a couple days. Some were taken of random people around Las Vegas and others where people I work with. One image is very similar to the one I published yesterday, in fact it was after he finish texting his wife. I still liked it.

I do have to tell the story of the monochrome image.

The woman is my friend who is a meeting planner who has been featured in major magazines. She refuses to let me take a picture of her when she is less than “fabulous”. So when I saw her like that I was like just stay in that pose and don’t move. Since I didn’t show her face she was fine.


People of Vegas

People of Vegas

People of Vegas

People of Vegas

People of Vegas

Texting Home

This is someone who works for me. He was texting his wife back home after we finished dinner for the evening. I wanted images shot out the window and had my mini tripod with me. I am not blaming the Kirin Light Beers consumed with our sushi dinner at Roku Sushi but I forgot to set the ISO on the camera at 80 and a shutter delay.

Normally I am not thrilled with people in my images. In this case it worked really well. The image of a lonely man with a magnificent view just made it. Gives the impression we rather live in a world full of electrons then one of visceral experiences.


Texting Home