Tag Archives: Las Vegas

Long and Winding Road

Long and Winding Road

The other idea I had for a title to this image was Everyday is a Winding Road, but choosing between the Beatles and Sheryl Crow is an easy decision.

This is another image from the Valley of Fire State Park, about an hour’s drive from Las Vegas. Considering the amount of people that descend on Sin City daily, I was surprised to see so few people on my drive through the desert. Once I got back to Las Vegas, it occurred to me that the crowd in Las Vegas isn’t really the “state park crowd.”

That being said, this was my sixth time to Las Vegas, and the first time I’d ventured off of The Strip. My rental car was something even my grandparents wouldn’t be caught in, but the sights were amazing none-the-less.

(0773) 0611.

Posted in Scenic Also tagged |

Overlooking the Valley of Fire

In the Valley of Fire State Park, there are a variety of different rock colors and formations. Not far from the main road, towards the back-end of the park, is the “Fire Wave.”

It’s not nearly as spectacular as the stunning wave located on the Utah/Arizona border, but it is spectacular none-the-less. The park’s entrance is located about an hour from Las Vegas, Nevada, and even then, one has to drive another half-an-hour into the park before the scenery gets good.

For this picture, I set the camera on a tripod and then brought with me the tiny remote control to trip the shutter. Yes, I am my own model in this picture. I have about a dozen pictures of myself here, ranging from jumping up in the air to “sitting in reflection.” Additionally, I have a few pictures with no one in the shot, but I like the inclusion of a person to help show the sheer size of the wave.

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Posted in Scenic Also tagged |

White Domes Slot Canyon

This picture falls under the category of “Good Idea, Bad Execution.”

While making plans to visit Las Vegas, I decided to make a trip to a nearby state park and explore some of the canyons surrounding the area.

At the end of one of the scenic drive within the Valley of Fire State Park is the White Domes Loop Trail.  The 1.25 mile hike is fairly popular and extremely colorful. There are beautiful patterns all along the journey and the trail winds through a short slot canyon.  The walls of the canyon feature an intricate “Swiss cheese” texture which were impressive in their own right, but even more-so since I was experiencing them alone on a weekday, without any other tourists around.

That’s where the aforementioned “Good Idea, Bad Execution” comes in.

I decided to make my journey through the park alone and without water. I realized early I had become dehydrated, but by then it was too late to do anything.  I spent the rest of the trip attempting to stay in the shadow of the rocks and avoid thinking about it. For the most part, the White Domes Loop Trail is well-marked, but as one can expect in an area that flash-floods when it rains, some signs and markers weren’t easy to spot.

So there I was dehydrated in the middle of the desert, roasting at 80 degrees in the hot sun, long since without water and unsure of whether I sure turn left or forge straight ahead.

In the middle of everything, I chuckled to myself because it reminded me of the time I went to Gary, Indiana solo to shoot some abandoned buildings. Wandering around crumbling buildings may not have been the best thing to do by myself, either, but at least I had water on that trip.

June 2011. (0575)

Posted in Nature Also tagged |

Las Vegas Night Lights

In 2011 we celebrated my friends’ 30th birthday in Las Vegas.

Unfortunately for me, my flight home was canceled because there was a maintenance issue with the plane.  The next available flight out was the following morning, so I checked into an airline-provided hotel and immediately left to wander around and take pictures of Vegas at night.

The lights of Vegas will never cease to amaze me.  (Even the McDonald’s has a fancy flashing neon light in an attempt to attract attention.)

Later this year I’ll have another chance to shoot more images of Las Vegas.  On the 2011 trip to Vegas, I took an airline “bump” and received a $400 voucher for an upcoming flight.  That voucher was just cashed in for a trip to, of all places, Las Vegas, for my previously mentioned friend’s bachelor party.

June 2011. (0924)

Posted in Travel Also tagged |

Las Vegas Strip From Above

I think this is a dramatic contrast to the previously posted image from Vietnam. Life in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta is slower-paced and more run out of necessity. Life in Las Vegas, Nevada is not quite the same.

I have been wanting to get up in the air for some pictures for awhile now.  There aren’t a whole lot of things to read about tips and tricks to aerial photography, unless I’ve got an unlimited budget (which I don’t).  Being in Las Vegas, it was a nice chance to find one of a dozen helicopter companies offering aerial tours for about $100.  It’s far easier to pay that price, do a ten minute flight, learn what I need to learn and land.  Paying $500 to charter a helicopter (in Chicago, for example), I’m not really interested in learning new things about aerial photography at such a high price tag.

As a disclaimer: I still think $100 a lot of money, but for some reason being in Las Vegas, it seemed like a bargain.  Vegas is so damn pricey.

(0833) 0611.

Posted in Scenic Also tagged |


I’ve probably logged about 150,000 miles in the air.  Fortunately most of those flights are completely forgettable, and no real issues to stand out.

Sure, there were odd delays like a “weather” cancellation at O’Hare Airport that didn’t have any notable weather to speak of.

There was a flight into the U.S. Virgin Islands that landing was aborted at the final moment because a freak rain storm came through.

While in Panama our flight was grounded for an undetermined amount of time because of the pouring tropical rain slamming down outside.  (We were told to stay close because when the storm let up we were going to make a run for it.  Sure enough, we were onboard and ready to take off within 15 minutes of the rain letting up.)

Coming home from Las Vegas was the first time I had sat on a plane for three hours and didn’t go anywhere. (The worst part was waking up from an hour nap and the plane hasn’t budged.)  Our plane had a maintenance issue and the airline was hoping to fix it and get us on our way. Eventually officials decided to de-board our plane and had us sit at the gate until the announcement was made the flight was canceled — some seven hours after my journey began.  There are worse places in the world to have to spend a night then Las Vegas — and I was fortunate the cancellation was not weather related, therefore United Airlines picked up our hotel room bill for the night.

Taking the opportunity to kill time before bed, I walked to In-N-Out Burger, and kept going to the South end of The Strip.  I normally don’t prefer to take pictures against a completely black sky, but my other option was to sit in my hotel room and go stir crazy.

(0950) 0611.

Posted in Scenic Also tagged |


This is “Fire Wave” from the Valley of Fire State Park, near Las Vegas, Nevada.

It took quite the effort to get to this remote location, and I not-so-wisely set out on my quest without any water.  I had spent an hour here and hadn’t seen a soul, so it was good I had my remote trigger with me.  It’s a fun self-portrait.

(0697) 0611.

Posted in Travel Also tagged |

Valley of Fire

Spending the weekend in Las Vegas, one can only take so much of the opulence that is “Sin City.”  Going for something less seedy, I grabbed a rental car and headed to Valley of Fire State Park.

Valley of Fire is only about 30 miles from Las Vegas, except the last 14 miles are winding through the Nevada desert, so it takes about an hour to get there.  After paying the park’s entry fee, I found something one doesn’t see too often in US parks anymore — no fences.  There were dangerous rock ledges, loose boulders and lots of things to trip over.  I feel like the United States has become so over-protective against lawsuits that parks are fenced off so much that only flat, parking lot-like surfaces are where tourists have the freedom to roam.

All of that being said, there weren’t many people at this park.  Normally I like taking pictures and avoiding people in them, but in this case it was nice to have the woman on top of the rock formation giving perspective without detracting from the image.

(0408) 0611.

Posted in Travel Also tagged |