Notes From the Road – Las Vegas – Of Elvis, Art Crimes, and Mobsters

Elvis Presley on a mural in downtown Las Vegas, Nevada
Elvis and Friend, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

In between shooting a ton, I thought it might be nice to check in and let y’all know how the trip is going. So far, it’s been fantastic. Lots of good shooting, though I’m pretty much tired and my back is aching a lot. Still, lots of good shooting. Did I mention lots of good shooting? Yeah, though so.

Came back to the room to get some Tylenol and rest up a bit for more shooting tonight. Been doing a lot of stuff, a lot of different stuff, eating a lot of good food, and working it while I’m here.

This morning shot the Mob Museum. It was fun, but I have to say I did something different. They had all of these text (actually sayings) on the walls, so I shot basically all text. Text, text, text. I guess, in the land of the gangsters and Tommy Guns, I found a typewriter. Still very good film noir-ish stuff with lots of fun things in between. It was a great shoot.

Yesterday, the Boneyard, Man, what can I say? Yesterday was one of those days we like *live* for as photographers. We started at the Boneyard, which is actually kind of hard to shoot. Nothing tricky about the subject, but they sort of hassle you about taking pictures in general. You’re not supposed to be a “pro” there, and they keep reminding you it’s “snapshots only.” Well, needless to say, I’m one of those people, I can’t pretend to take snapshots. Two or three frames into it the security guard was already yapping at me. “Ahem. This is a tour *not* a photo shoot!” Yeah, so OK, I can’t just take a tour, so like shoot me, OK? (Ha Ha! You can’t just shoot me because, well, that would make it a photo shoot as well!)

After that, we hit up antique alley. Oh man, what an experience. Bunches of stuff, the kind of “junque” I just love to shoot. We ducked down some alleyway when I happened upon this couch sitting out in the middle of nowhere. It was a round lounge style couch. You’ll have to take my word for it, as I was not able to get any shots off. Just as I was about to shoot it, some guy came out and waved his hand-motioned for me not to take a picture. All well and good, I mean, who doesn’t like a round couch, and who would not want a shot of that just sitting outside, but I’ve learned that respect is more important so I let the shot go.

Was rewarded for my troubles as a few steps down the block, we found this sort of “graffiti central” style shack. Now, I’m not typically one to shoot the street art even though I like it but this stuff was the bomb in every which way. As we’re shooting, it dawns upon me that, why I can smell me some fresh paint and I hear this “Sssssh” sound. Sounds like a spray can. Then, out of nowhere (well, technically out of back down the alleyway) rides in this guy on a motorcycle wearing a face mask, looking a bit like an armed bandit. Just when I’m thinking, “Oh great, I wandered my way into a gang bangers lair” I turn the corner to see two graffiti artists doing this stuff. And, get this, good Karma comes around (thanks, Mr. You-Can’t-Shoot-My-Couch!) because they LET US SHOOT THEM. Yes, it’s true, we got all of these shots of masked men painting graffiti, and believe me when I say, it was FANTASTIC graffiti. Turns out one of the artists is world famous too. He gave us his “street name” and we promised to send him some shots fresh off the sensor and all. Can’t wait to hook up with these guys as that was a fantastic shoot. Yeowza! Score one for the photogs and this was *after* shooting the Boneyard (a place I’ve wanted to shoot for years now.) I guess photographic dreams really can come true because that’s what yesterday was all about (for me anyway.)

If that were not enough, Vegas treating us good and all, we walked a bit ways more down the alley and happened upon this fun group of what looked like ravers. They had this sort of “dead cow” which was actually a giant sculpture of a cow but, get this, it was TIPPED OVER. They offered to “straighten up their cow” for us (Ha! When does *that* happen?) but we declined, saying we prefer our cow “freshly tipped.” Got some great shooting in with them, and come to find out the cow’s name was Wayne Mooton. I mean, who would not like a tipped over cow named Wayne Mooton? Gotta love Vegas.

In between, we did some neon lights (been a lot of hunting neon this trip) and the mob museum this morning was a treat. Lots of really good food, although I keep eating tons. Been walking and shooting a lot (well, walking as much as I can and shooting the same way.)

This one from a mural right near the famous “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign which I also shot. Got a couple of Fake Elvii and a few Frank Sinatra’s in as well. I mean, who doesn’t shoot that kind of stuff, right?

Oh, and, down by the old antique area we saw this incredibly long line, people queued up waiting to get into….a pawn shop? Turns out they film some kind of show here called “Pawn Stars” and we saw the guy from the show out from giving a talk. We opted not to stand in line and shot the Vintage Vegas boutique instead. What fun so far.

Tonight we’re headed to an art fair outdoor thing and tomorrow brings our first real day of shooting on the strip. Stuff like the fountains of Bellagio and the like. Long shutter, water type of stuff. Should be fun. Oh, and the Dale glassworks, which I’m itching to see.

More notes from the road, I promise, as time permits.

Until next time…

1 Comment

  1. Great Grandma Lin
    April 6, 2013 / 12:53 pm

    vegas is exhausting for all the walking…but fascinating. Glad you are enjoying yourself.

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