During my last long road trip, I stayed at the Red Rock Casino Resort in Las Vegas for a few nights. One of my goals was to photograph the very contemporary looking lounge. Better yet, I wanted to capture this picture without anyone in the frame--a nearly impossible task!
There were several challenges to getting this shot:
- This involved a cat and mouse game with security personnel! When I started to extend the legs of my tripod, security was on me in seconds. So, the tripod was out of the question. And, security was manning this area practically 24/7. After passing through this area many times, I noticed that there were very brief intervals when the scene was clear of security. I waited for one of those times to quickly set up the shot. I was only going to get one try at it--because once security tells you that you can't take pictures, it's not a good idea to keep shooting! In locations such as this, I assume that it is OK to shoot until I am told otherwise.
- The tripod was out of the question. Yet, I needed to stabilize the camera. These are 3 second exposures--and I needed to shoot a sequence of bracketed exposures to retain detail in the chandeliers as well as the shadows. Fortunately, I had my RRS multi-clamp with me. I clamped the ballhead to the marble railing and then secured my camera to the ballhead.
- Having the clamp is the only way to capture this picture. Even if I had been permitted to use a tripod, the tripod wouldn't have worked. I was using a fisheye lens--and with such a wide perspective I needed to position the lens over the ledge. The clamp allowed me to do this rather easily.
- The clamp allows me to take shots without attracting the attention of security quite so quickly. With the tripod, I had no chance. But, with the clamp I was able to stand up against the camera and activate the shutter by pressing on the cable release near my pocket.
- Even so, at one point during my sequence of shots I was approached by security. It's always the same conversation--do you have a permit to shoot? I reply by asking if that is necessary for photographs for personal usage (which these are). Security is always polite and asks that I stop shooting--which I do. But, while we were talking I was able to finish the bracket of exposures as I kept pressing the cable release.
- This scene is usually crowded at nearly any hour of the day or night. Since I was staying at the hotel, I kept an eye on the scene. The morning that I departed for my drive to Tucson, I left the hotel very early in the morning. To my delight, the lounge was mostly free of people at 6:00 AM! I was able to clone one person out and use my mirror trick to remove another person!
In the end, I was able to create this apocalyptic style picture of a large Las Vegas lounge.