Sunday, September 23, 2012

In Pursuit of the Perfect Pixel

At the beginning of this month I attended the Photoshop World Conference in Las Vegas. I was a tiny bit dreading it, I just don't like big, loud cities. But I also was excited, I knew I would learn a lot and meet and make like-minded friends.

After a day fully packed with classes and new information I needed to get my mind off pixels and layers for a bit...what better excuse to grab the camera and go out and shoot. Las Vegas is definitively the city where you can photograph all night long!

The Strip

Statue of Liberty in front of New York New York

It always amazes me how far the hotels go to attract guests, as here the Bellagio with it's inside flower exhibition and the

well known fountains.

Reflection of the "Eiffeltower"

Still home I tried to set up an appointment to visit the "Neon Sign Boneyard", but no luck with that. Tours were only offered in the morning (when I had class) and taking photos for my blog was absolutely not allowed, how a rather unfriendly representative of the museum let me know. I could spend a couple hundred dollars for a permit, but I wasn't quite that determined....
Research on the web though showed that some of the already restored signs where on display throughout Fremont Street, 24/7, free of charge. So I thought that should do.

A nice concierge of the hotel explained how to get there, since it was all the way on the other end of the strip. The following evening then, Fremont Street it was. It kind of puzzled me, that the bus station was named Fremont Experience, I thought that sounded rather dangerous...;-)

After getting out of the bus and around the corner I truly had an experience....A whole block of the street was canopied to display rock bands and movies. You could have your photograph taken with Elvis, any given Star Wars character, almost naked gladiators and whoever else your heart desired...unbelievable. And if you weigh more than 350 lb, you even could grab a free dinner....

A bit off the whole spectacle though were indeed the old, restored neon signs.

Starting with  Aladdin's Lamp from the Aladdin Hotel&Casino, where Elvis married Priscilla on May 1st, 1967.

Andy Anderson, the Anderson Diary mascot which was originally installed in 1956.

The Hacienda Horse and Rider
This is the fist sign that got restored and put up at Fremont Street for display. It was originally put up 1967 at the Hacienda Hotel which used to be where the Mandalay Bay Hotel (home of the Photoshop conference) stands today.

The oldest sign, from the 1940's, the Chief

Sign at the entrance to the so-called Fremont East Entertainment District. Although this sign looks like an old fashion neon sign, it is made out of modern energy saving LED light. Classic meets modern...

The rotating Silver Slipper from 1968. Legend has it, that shortly after it's installation a millionaire, who lived in a penthouse across the street, got annoyed with the lights and asked to have them dimmed down. After his request got repeatedly denied, he just bought the Silver Slipper Casino and had the sign dismantled. One way to solve a problem.....
This sign is huge! Imagine 12 ft high, 17 ft wide and almost 1000 light bulbs.

And of course Vegas Vic, the 40 feet tall and probably most famous of all Las Vegas signs. The 61 year old sign got originally installed at the Pioneer Casino to draw visitors to Las Vegas with a waving arm, moving cigarette and blasting out:" Howdy Podner" every 15 minutes.
Although the Pioneer Casino doesn't exist anymore, Vegas Vic still resides at his original place, which is now a souvenir shop. Unfortunately, or should I say luckily, the moving parts and the voice do not work anymore...

After being so close to all the glitter, it was time to get some distance and overview. The idea was to get on top of the Eiffeltower for a view of downtown and the strip. Not one of my best ideas though....after paying $ 18 for a ride to the top and waiting for quite a while to actually take that ride, one finally emerges on a tiny platform. This platform is of course completely fenced in. I had expected that and had already asked at the entry about it. But got assured that there would be viewing holes cut out of the fence. And there were, just that the holes were barely wide enough to fit the lens not much of composition options here. Also my tripod got frowned at by the security lady and wasn't much of use anyway, since walking people had the platform vibrate at all times.
At least I got to capture a bird eye view of the strip with Bellagio's fountains.

The conference was amazing. And I am sure looking forward to the next one. But I also was glad to leave the City of Sin, 3 days of glitter and bling is all I can handle....

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