This is the registration lobby of the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada, two days before Christmas. “Leo The Lion” normally presides without the holiday glitz. I had a tough time dealing with all the noise in the blacks, and was not able to eliminate it completely during post processing, but I liked the combination of color tones, and the overall tableau of the scene, so decided to share it. Like most everything recently this was hand held. If I had it to do over, I would use a tripod and set the ISO much lower, but then I don’t think the humans would cooperate and remain still long enough.
For all I know, it was the wettest week on record in Las Vegas this week. We had intentions of capturing some images on a visit to the Valley of Fire state park and the Nevada State Railroad Museum, but due to the weather, we were captive in the casino. The MGM West Tower is in the left foreground, the Mansion at the MGM Grand in the middle right foreground, Excaliber in the left background, New York New York in the middle background, the Monte Carlo in the right background; the south end of City Center on the right edge of the background. Las Vegas Boulevard, the “Strip” delineates the foreground from the background. The shot was taken on the 25th floor of the north end of the MGM Grand Tower.
I had a Hell of a time with reflections off the window, what appears to be streaking in the left foreground is actually a reflection of the window curtains, despite having all of the lights turned off in the room, the ambient light from outside the hotel bounced off the curtains and reflected back in the glass. I really would have liked to have a polarizing filter with me for this shot, but I do have it on good authority that a polarizer will show up in my stocking tomorrow morning. I diminished some of the reflection damage by using the Lightroom cloning tool on the sky.
I took some other shots of the skyline, both in daylight and at night, and some other interiors in the hotel, but I am not very happy with any of them. Besides being disappointed with my images, we were disappointed by the cost of everything, including all meals in the hotel, the unfathomable add on charges to the basic room rate, the extremely tight slot machines (not a factor to me, I did not gamble) and the irony of being booked in to a vaunted spa suite and finding we had no water pressure the first morning, and apparently the maids service the rooms on some undefined schedule, known only to them, and not in response to your specific phone request for service.
This is not the same Las Vegas my parents would bring me to in the 1950’s, way overpriced and over crowded. I think we are done with Vegas.
We did our third one-nighter at Fantasy Springs Hotel & Casino, Indio, California to celebrate an upcoming birthday. Fantasy Springs is an easy trip, about 90 miles from our home and we enjoyed the food, a little casino action, captured some HDR images and enjoyed the Jazz performance by our friend Rose Mallet who played some dates there this year.
We wandered around an outdoor (best at night) event venue called the Rock Yard which is adjacent to the hotel, pool, casino and special events center and managed a few shots before the heat chased us back inside. I played around with lines, perspective and texture outside and perspective inside. It was late in the afternoon and shadows outside were long (I cloned out my shadow in one image since it was so prominent, but then the cloning distotred the shape of some of the brick pavers.) I also applied perspective adjustments to some of the outdoors photos.
The colonnade linking the hotel to the casino is quite a dramatic and inviting space, one shot is looking east from the casino end, with the sun outside over my right shoulder, the other colonnade shot is looking west from the hotel to the casino, the sun outside virtually shining directly on me . I did some tweaking of shot looking out the colonnade doors to the pool so that some of the door detail could be seen against the brightness of the pool area.
I have come to the conclusion that if I want to create truly outstanding architectural images, I will need to take more time contemplating and composing, and use the tripod (all these shots were hand held, which impacted their sharpness and any flexibility with depth of field that I might have leveraged.)