Doc
Doc
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December 2nd, 2010 at 6:17:45 PM permalink
In the trivia warm-up thread, I was able to guess the Fontainbleau skeleton as the next tallest structure in Las Vegas after the Stratosphere. I confessed that I checked a photo that I took in 2008 and picked out the tallest structure I could find. That prompts me to ask for some advice as to the best location to take a photo that I want.

I have lots of my own photography on the walls of my condo, including skyline photos of Seattle and Toronto with their major towers. I would like to add a photo of the Las Vegas skyline (primarily the strip) including the Stratosphere. I have not yet found a really good place to stand to take the photo. The one I looked back to for help on the trivia question, I took with a long lens from somewhere out near E. Lake Mead Blvd. and N. Hollywood Blvd (don't know the area well enough to say just where I was). The perspective wasn't too bad, but the distance was so great that there was too much haze between me and the strip. I thought of another site I would like to try to shoot from, but I don't think I can get access to that road to the radio/TV/communications towers on the hill near Henderson, and that may also be too distant from the strip for clear images. Another long-distance view would be from the Skybar at the Eastside Cannery -- never been there, but the promo photos are intriguing.

At the other extreme, getting too close presents a different problem. I don't have a panorama lens, so my position must be able to include the strip buildings and the Stratosphere with a modest wide-angle lens. I have a zoom lens for my D70 that goes as wide as 18mm, which is equivalent to a 27mm lens on a 35mm camera. That means that even though there may be some great views from atop the Eiffel Tower, from there I could not get the kind of image I am looking for. I have never been up to the Voodoo lounge, so I don't know whether the view from there gives the perspective I would like. I will be staying at the Rio week after next, so I may go up to the roof to check it out.

Any better suggestions for a skyline photo op? I don't really want to pay for a helicopter or balloon ride just to take the photo.
wildqat
wildqat
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December 2nd, 2010 at 8:42:25 PM permalink
Quote: Doc

I will be staying at the Rio week after next, so I may go up to the roof to check it out.


I went up to the Voodoo Lounge last time I was in Vegas, and had the same idea (unfortunately, I forgot my mini-tripod... and my memory card). I think it would be a good place to take photos of the Strip, but there's a few caveats:

1) Rio is only about a mile from the Strip, which is about four miles from Strat to Mandalay. If you want to do this in one shot (you didn't mention this as a specific requirement), this requires a lens that can see about 130°, which I think is about twice what your lens can do. Of course, if you don't mind multiple exposures and stitching, this won't be a problem.

2) The Voodoo Lounge isn't open until 5:00. Sunset is at about 4:20 this time of year. It's going to be dark by the time you get up there, so if you're looking for a daytime shot, no dice until mid-March. The nighttime view is pretty damn cool, though, especially CityCenter (oh, yeah, and Cosmo's going to be open by then, too).

3) You'll mostly be seeing the back side of the west side Strip properties. You can see some of the east side properties, but some of them are completely blocked.

I was looking at ghOstbar (top floor of the Palms), but they don't open until 8:00, and they're only a half-mile further out, so you'd still need a 110° lens for a single shot.

Also, if you're interested in shots of downtown, the top floor of the parking garage at the Premium Outlets looks like a good spot to shoot from (although it's only four stories up).
EvenBob
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December 2nd, 2010 at 8:52:42 PM permalink
Quote: wildqat

I went up to the Voodoo Lounge last time I was in Vegas, and had the same idea (unfortunately, I forgot my mini-tripod... and my memory card). I think it would be a good place to take photos of the Strip, but there's a few caveats:

1) Rio is only about a mile from the Strip, which is about four miles from Strat to Mandalay. If you want to do this in one shot (you didn't mention this as a specific requirement), this requires a lens that can see about 130°, which I think is about twice what your lens can do. Of course, if you don't mind multiple exposures and stitching, this won't be a problem.

2) The Voodoo Lounge isn't open until 5:00. Sunset is at about 4:20 this time of year. It's going to be dark by the time you get up there, so if you're looking for a daytime shot, no dice until mid-March. The nighttime view is pretty damn cool, though, especially CityCenter (oh, yeah, and Cosmo's going to be open by then, too).

3) You'll mostly be seeing the back side of the west side Strip properties. You can see some of the east side properties, but some of them are completely blocked.

I was looking at ghOstbar (top floor of the Palms), but they don't open until 8:00, and they're only a half-mile further out, so you'd still need a 110° lens for a single shot.

Also, if you're interested in shots of downtown, the top floor of the parking garage at the Premium Outlets looks like a good spot to shoot from (although it's only four stories up).



I'd rent a good panarama lense.
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annaj10
annaj10
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December 2nd, 2010 at 9:03:17 PM permalink
Quote: Doc

I thought of another site I would like to try to shoot from, but I don't think I can get access to that road to the radio/TV/communications towers on the hill near Henderson, and that may also be too distant from the strip for clear images. Another long-distance view would be from the Skybar at the Eastside Cannery -- never been there, but the promo photos are intriguing.



Horizon Ridge Pkwy runs in front of the radio/TV hill (Black Mountain) in Henderson. A great view is from the corner of Gibson Rd and Horizon Ridge. When I have relatives visiting, I take them to that corner for good views of the strip at night. That area is still relatively undeveloped so you wouldn't have much interference from lights and traffic.

The view from the parking garage at Green Valley Ranch is also good but the light from their sign might make the view difficult to photograph.
FleaStiff
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December 2nd, 2010 at 11:44:33 PM permalink
May I suggest you go to the Montecito Casino? They can do wonders there with photography of the various buildings on the Las Vegas Strip.
Doc
Doc
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December 3rd, 2010 at 6:46:49 AM permalink
Quote: FleaStiff

May I suggest you go to the Montecito Casino? They can do wonders there with photography of the various buildings on the Las Vegas Strip.

Yeah, I recall that the outside of the Montecito is across the street from the Luxor or Mandalay Bay, though Ed's office window looked out at Harrah's or something. Very clever configuration for good views. I don't think I can find my way around the property well enough to get the really good shots.

Quote: annaj10

Horizon Ridge Pkwy runs in front of the radio/TV hill (Black Mountain) in Henderson. A great view is from the corner of Gibson Rd and Horizon Ridge.

Thanks! I'll try to get out to check that out. I haven't driven around in the area other than within a block or three from the interstate. Google Maps satellite view suggested the road to the highest points (Westview Drive, maybe?) is a bit rough and might require a 4WD. I think it eventually runs to a "no trespassing" zone closer to the towers.

Quote: wildqat

... Rio is only about a mile from the Strip, which is about four miles from Strat to Mandalay. If you want to do this in one shot (you didn't mention this as a specific requirement), this requires a lens that can see about 130°, which I think is about twice what your lens can do. ...

The Voodoo Lounge isn't open until 5:00. Sunset is at about 4:20 this time of year. It's going to be dark by the time you get up there, so if you're looking for a daytime shot, no dice until mid-March. ...

Also, if you're interested in shots of downtown, the top floor of the parking garage at the Premium Outlets looks like a good spot to shoot from (although it's only four stories up).

Thanks. I had not done the calculations, but I was afraid the Rio was too close for my lens. I will take a look anyway, to see whether I can get the Strat and enough of the strip buildings for a suitable skyline. A nighttime shot would be O.K. Is there a viewing area around the Voodoo Lounge that might be open during the day before the lounge is open for business? I think a just-before-sunset shot from the west might be good. As for downtown, I have reasonably good views from the top of the Stratosphere itself, though even at that distance they are pretty much looking down on Fremont Street. I might check out the Outlets garage, but I have a feeling that location might include a bunch of unwanted foreground material. Hard for me to tell without going there for a look.

Quote: EvenBob

I'd rent a good panarama lense.

Good suggestion. But I'm probably too cheap for that -- not sure what the charge would be. Any suggestion of a photo rental place in Las Vegas I could check for such a lens? I'm pretty sure I wouldn't want to rent and carry one from home for most of a week for really just one shot.

Thanks to all for the suggestions. I'm still open to others.
Wizard
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December 3rd, 2010 at 8:29:08 AM permalink
This picture from my Treasure Island review was taken from the top of the TI parking garage.

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Nareed
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December 3rd, 2010 at 8:41:59 AM permalink
I recall amazing views of the whole Strip while on final approach to McCarran.

Of course, you can't use digital cameras during that time, but if you have an old-fashioned film camera you can snap away then.
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thecesspit
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December 3rd, 2010 at 9:28:02 AM permalink
There's a pretty good strip view from the east side of the Orleans. I noticed when walking out of the Arena after watching the Wranglers thump the Salmon Kings (sigh).
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wildqat
wildqat
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December 3rd, 2010 at 10:13:18 AM permalink
Quote: Doc

Thanks. I had not done the calculations, but I was afraid the Rio was too close for my lens....

Quote: EvenBob

I'd rent a good panarama lense.


Good suggestion. But I'm probably too cheap for that -- not sure what the charge would be.


Don't know about places or charges in Vegas, but lensrental.com has a Sigma 4.5 mm for about $13 a day, so you can use that as a starting point. A 4.5 should get you to 130°.

Quote: Doc

Is there a viewing area around the Voodoo Lounge that might be open during the day before the lounge is open for business?


There is an outside deck, but you have to go through the lounge to get there, so I don't know if it's open before 5:00. Of course, It Never Hurts to Ask.

Quote: Doc

I think a just-before-sunset shot from the west might be good.


Same here. It'll be well-lit with the sun right behind you, and you might get some nice coloring and shadowing from the setting sun.

Quote: Doc

As for downtown, I have reasonably good views from the top of the Stratosphere itself, though even at that distance they are pretty much looking down on Fremont Street. I might check out the Outlets garage, but I have a feeling that location might include a bunch of unwanted foreground material. Hard for me to tell without going there for a look.


Well, it's the north garage, right off Bonneville. IIRC, from that location, it's pretty clear to Fremont; lots of low buildings and empty space. It shouldn't be too busy (you're going the weekend before Christmas, right?). You can also get a good picture of the Las Vegas Design Center, if you like funky fresh architecture yo.

Quote: Nareed

Of course, you can't use digital cameras [on final approach to McCarran]...


Civil disobedience is fun:





Taking pictures in low light on a shaking airplane, not so much.

Just sit on it until the FAs strap in, then pull it out and shoot away (turn the flash and sounds off, of course). These were on takeoff from 1-R. Anyway, they'll tell you to stow your old cameras, too, just because it's one less object bouncing around the cabin Just in Case.

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