Date of visit: Saturday November 14th, 2015
Attractions/Places of Interest:
Ah the viceful yet beautiful Sin City. While millions of tourists pass through the infamous Las Vegas strip every year gambling away tens of millions of dollars, only a small portion of them really stop to capture the colorful nightlife of Vegas. Wherever you plan on staying and visiting in Vegas, you will certainly have a blast, but let’s take a photographer’s perspective on capturing what this city is really all about.
I took a very simple approach – I spent about 2 hours leisurely strolling up and down the strip with my D600 and super-wide angle Tokina 11-16 f/2.8 attached to a tripod and came home with some beautiful night shots of Las Vegas. I made sure to capture the most significant points of interest – The Bellagio Fountain, Hotel New York, Paris Hotel, as well as anything else that struck my attention along the way.
My experience photographing Vegas was a bit short and limited due to time constraints – after all this is a city to have fun and not be tied to a camera during your entire stay. It was the last day of a 10 day road trip during which I explored Zion National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, Antelope Canyon, Rainbow Bridge National Monument, and more which you will find I discussed throughout this blog.
I was satisfied with the results and there really is no right or wrong way to photograph this city, but I felt that walking up and down the strip is a good way to start.
Photo and Travel Gear:
If you’re shooting at night like I did, a sturdy tripod is essential. I use the Sirui T-1205X with a Induro BHD2 ballhead (which is a great ballhead, however a bit overkill for that set of legs as it weighs more than them).
My preference was to stick to the wider focal lengths I was able to get with my Tokina 11-16 f/2.8, but anything in the 24-70 range should work just as well if you don’t own a super wide angle lens.
Your exposure settings will vary based on the effect you wish to get – If you purposely want people walking by to be blurry, set a slightly longer exposure speed of 1/20th or slower. If you want them sharp, you will have to compensate by opening up your aperture or increasing your ISO. I concentrated on exposing for the brightest highlights and then brought back detail from the shadows during post processing in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom.
Typically my mentality when traveling is to save as much as I can on accommodations, but this is one city where it is worth splurging a bit for the added luxury that is available in nearly every hotel along the strip. I highly recommend Booking.com to find the best deals!
We stayed at the MGM Grand and could not be happier – although there are hotels closer to the strip that offer much better views such as The Cosmopolitan from which you get a top view of the infamous Bellagio Fountain.