Woody Harrelson

Ron Niebrugge Las Vegas, Nevada, Photos, Travel 2 Comments

Woody Harrelson

Woody Harrelson

I have been in Vegas the last couple of days – I have a film permit to shoot video and 3D video.  Well yesterday we ran across a major film production, filming the movie Now You See Me.  It stars a lot of famous people and according to some reports will be one of the most anticipated movies of 2013.

Watching the production was fascinating – a very slow moving, carefully planned but well conceived creative process.  Nothing is by accident – a casual cocktail waitress briefly passing in front of the actors for example is discussed, modified and practiced before actually filming a number of takes.  Every little detail is scrutinized down to the placement of lights – guys were crawling on the floor at one point identifying distracting light reflections off the shiny floor.   The production had taken over a large portion of the Aria Hotel and Casino.

One of the highlights was seeing Woody Harrelson.   I have enjoyed his acting going back to the days of Cheers – but that isn’t why it was a highlight.  What I thought was awesome was how he took the time to  greet many of the extras on the set – there were around a hundred!  Then he went around and shook hands with the young production assistants who were basically standing off in the distance doing crowd control – class act!

Hoover Dam

Ron Niebrugge Las Vegas, Nevada, Photos, Travel 4 Comments

Hover Dam at sunset, Lake Mead NRA, Nevada / Arizona.

Hoover Dam at sunset, Lake Mead NRA, Nevada / Arizona.

This is from the dramatic new by-pass bridge that routes traffic around the dam.   I captured some images from this bridge last year right after it opened, but they were taken during the day – I like the sunset / evening photos from this trip much better.

Lovell Wash Narrows

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Janine getting ready to enter the Lovell Wash Narrows, Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada.

Janine getting ready to enter the Lovell Wash Narrows, Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada.

I found this location after checking out some of the more colorful areas of this region on Google Earth.  This was a cool slot canyon!  I included Janine in both of these images to help show the scale of the place, although I have versions of both images without her.

Janine inside the Lovell Wash Narrows, Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada.

Janine inside the Lovell Wash Narrows, Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada.

Lake Mead

Ron Niebrugge Las Vegas, Nevada, Photos, Travel 4 Comments

Lake Mead, Lake Mead Recreation Area,  Nevada.

Lake Mead, Lake Mead Recreation Area, Nevada.

Sunset on Lake Mead.  This lake has sure dropped a lot over the last decade.  As you can see we have moved to Southern Nevada and are photographing the areas around Lake Mead.

This was captured on a very windy night.  To get enough depth of field to put the entire scene in focus I would have needed an aperture of around f/16 – but that would have lead to a very slow shutter speed and the flowers would have been nothing but a blur in the heavy wind.

So this is actually two exposures – One at f/4 and 1/60th of a second in which I focused just on the flowers.  This became the foreground portion of the images.  The second at f/14 and 1/5th of a second with focus further back.  This became the background. The two images were then combined in Photoshop.

Both exposures were done at ISO 400 and had the same exposure value in that they had the same level of brightness, but this way I could have the flowers fairly sharp and the background.

Good bye Sahara Las Vegas

Ron Niebrugge Las Vegas, Nevada, Photos, Travel 8 Comments

Inside of the Sahara Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada.

Inside of the Sahara Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada.

Before my quick trip for a conference in Las Vegas this spring, I heard the Sahara Hotel and Casino would be closing down for good – actually this upcoming weekend will be the last for this 60 year old Las Vegas icon  as it closes for good on May 16th.

Back in the day, this was one of the most popular places to “hang outs”  if you were someone famous – or, wanted to see someone famous.  The Sahara often hosted members of the Rat Pack including Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr.  Famous comedians like Johnny Carson have performed shows here, heck in 1964, even the Beatles stayed here!

So, I figured I better hop on the monorail so that I could get some images of the place before it was too late.  I’m kind of sorry I hadn’t photographed some of the other old hotels before they were imploded.

It is funny, typically you only have a few seconds to get a photo from inside a casino before security moves in and asks you to stop.  I had a feeling that employees about to lose their jobs might be a little more complacent.  Sure enough – I photographed away without problem. Even a security guard walked by without saying anything.

Makes me wonder what the rules are if you stay the last night at a hotel.  Will they even bother cleaning the rooms afterwords?  Can you keep the robes?  Do they bother with a room deposit?  I’m guessing things are probably pretty crazy that last night.  I also wonder what will happen to the mono-rail station.  This is the only stop on the North end of the Strip, it would be too bad to lose this convenient mass transit option – but the stop leads you right through the casino.  I suppose they will come up with some kind of temporary work around.  Anyway, good bye Sahara.

The Chandelier Bar

Ron Niebrugge Las Vegas, Nevada, Photos, Travel 10 Comments

Chandelier Bar in The Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas, Nevada.

Chandelier Bar in The Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas, Nevada.

The first thing you see when you enter the Cosmopolitan from the Strip at street level, or from the pedestrian over-pass is the Chandelier Bar.  The Chandelier is very popular at night, and the subject of many visitor vacation photos during the day.

The Chandelier is a three story bar covered with a multi-million dollar, 65 foot tall chandelier made from some 2 million beaded crystals.  The top two levels, which you see in the top half of the above photo is completely enclosed in crystals.  Access to the middle level is gained from a small, inconspicuous stairway from either below or above, making it a bit of what the Las Vegas press called a secret room.

The top photo is from ground level looking up, the bottom photo is from the third level looking down.

Chandelier Bar in The Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas, Nevada.

Chandelier Bar in The Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas, Nevada.

The Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas

Ron Niebrugge Las Vegas, Nevada, Photos, Travel 4 Comments

The Cosmopolitan along the Strip, Las Vegas, Nevada.

The Cosmopolitan along the Strip, Las Vegas, Nevada.

The main reason we took a quick detour over to Las Vegas was to photograph The Cosmopolitan.  The Cosmopolitan will be the last of the series of new hotel / casinos to open on the Strip for some time to come.  All of these of course were all started long before the Las Vegas economy tanked.

There are two more brand new towers on the Strip that were completely enclosed before construction was stopped a couple of years ago.  Even if construction was to begin again tommorow, they would be a couple of years out before being completed – and I don’t see construction on either one starting anytime soon.  So for now, they stand as stark reminders of the economic conditions in Las Vegas.

Fortunately I have no trouble avoiding the slots when I go to Vegas – so we are probably some of the few people who make money on our trips to Vegas.  🙂

Cosmo Las Vegas

Ron Niebrugge Las Vegas, Nevada, Photos, Travel 17 Comments

View from a room balcony from the Cosmopolitian, Las Vegas.

View from a room balcony from the Cosmopolitian, Las Vegas.

Well we have taken a quick two night trip up to Las Vegas not only to photograph what is not only the most recent hotel and casino, but probably the last new hotel on the Strip for many years to come – The Cosmopolitan.  I not only wanted photos of the Cosmopolitan, but also wanted to take advantage of their amazing balcony views!

We are in one of the smallest rooms – it is still over half the size of our home!  Maybe that is more of a reflection of our home, but the place is nice.  We are here during one of the less expensive times – not only to save a bit of money, but to avoid the crowds.  Even at that, this place is still really hopping – seems to be the place to hang out these days.  Can’t imagine what the weekends are like.  I do know at times this room almost costs as much as our monthly house payment!

So, we are really here for the view and I’m doing everything I can to take advantage.  I have been shooting 3D and regular video and time-lapses, plus a wide range of stills including panoramics and HDR.  I worked late in to the night last night so that tonight after sunset we might be able to enjoy the property a bit.