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“The night before I left Las Vegas I walked out in the desert to look at the moon.  There was a jeweled city on the horizon, spires rising in the night, but the jewels were diadems of electric and the spires were the neon of signs ten stories high.”  ~Norman Mailer

We drove back to the Valley of Fire this afternoon to catch the sunset.  We then drove back through the northern edge of Lake Mead and found this amazing spot where the lights from Vegas were just stunning.  We set up the tripod and I attempted to do star trails, but didn’t really succeed.  Not dark enough.  However, I did capture the stars, the moon, and light trails from all the airplanes in the sky over the city.  We were here for over an hour and a half . . . mesmerized.  Only a few cars passed by on the road while we were there.  This shot is my attempt at doing sync flash – something MTM taught us when we shot on the Strip a few nights ago.  Not sure I was 100% successful as it seems the background is out of focus.  The first shot is the original with just a bit of LR4 editing.  

D800e, 70-200mm VRII lens @ 70mm, 2 sec @ f6.3, 800ISO, and SB800 flash mounted on camera set at zero.  

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I ended up not really liking that the background was out of focus, so took it in to LR4 and reworked it . . . adding in the starry moonlit sky from another photo I took just a bit earlier in the evening.  I think I like the reworked version best.

This is my edited/reworked version.

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312-365 reworked

“Ultimately photography is about who you are. It’s the truth in relation to yourself. And seeking truth becomes a habit.” – Leonard Freed

We arose at 3:30 this morning to catch the sunrise in the Valley of Fire – about an hour drive from the house we rented in Vegas.  It was pretty spectacular, as we shot in the dark at first – learning how to do light trails as MTM drove his car down the park road towards our bank of tripods all set with slow shutter speeds.  As the sun started to peek over the horizon, we all scattered in our different directions to capture the beauty.  This shot below was taken well after the sun was up in an area of gorgeous red-rock formations.  

I detest early mornings, but this trip was so well worth the effort of getting up before dawn!  

I would do it again in a heartbeat . . . 

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“To be a photographer, one must photograph. No amount of book learning, no checklist of seminars attended, can substitute for the simple act of making pictures. Experience is the best teacher of all. And for that, there are no guarantees that one will become an artist. Only the journey matters…”  Harry Callahan

Viva Las Vegas . . . Day Two.   We drove in a caravan out to Death Valley today.  We spent most of the afternoon exploring Rhyolite, a small ghost town on the edge of Death Valley.  I could have spent the entire day there – it was that interesting.  There were old buildings and rail cars, and a very eclectic Museum with very interesting statues and artifacts.  It’s really a Photographers paradise.  We spread from one end of the site to the other . . . all immersed in our own creative juices attempting to put our own unique spin on what we were documenting here.  We didn’t actually make it in to Death Valley because we ran out of time . . . and it was very cold and overcast by time nightfall came.  Our intention was to photograph the sunset, and then get some star trails . . . but that wasn’t going to happen with an overcast sky.  Oh well . . . we left Rhyolite feeling very pleased with ourselves and wishing we’d had more time there!  

This photo was taken in an old abandoned cabin.  I applied some HDR processing, and tweaked a bit more in Photoshop.

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“Photography deals exquisitely with appearances, but nothing is what it appears to be.”  Duane Michals

Viva Las Vegas!  

We are a group of Photographers out and about on the Vegas Strip!  Michael the Maven is with us, instructing us on night photography techniques . . . catching light trails, slow sync lighting, and whatever else we can soak up from him.  We started at the Luxor and worked our way down to the Bellagio.  Being my first time in Vegas, I was struck by the constant motion, and movement of people and lights and noise.  This is when Sin City really comes alive . . . and we are there to digitally record our interpretations of it.  I’m anxious to learn all I can over the next few days here with my fellow 365’ers whom I’ve know for almost a year now but just met in person.  What a fun group of people.  

It’s going to be a great weekend!

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“The real pleasure was having the chance to enjoy being weightless, and the other was to spend some time looking out at this beautiful Earth that we’re all lucky to inhabit.”  Robert Crippen

Today is Baby Girl’s second birthday.  Papa G and I spent the day out and about with her just having fun. We went to the Chabot Space and Science Center in the Oakland Hills.  It’s a great place to take kids . . . fairly new and lots of great activities.  One exhibit was all about weightlessness in space.  In this one, I pressed the button on a touch screen, then stepped on to this mat with Papa and Ella.  A message said for us to JUMP!  When we did – it snapped out picture.  It’s supposed to look like we are weightless in space!  It didn’t turn out that great – but it was a lot of fun.  There was an option to e-mail it to yourself . . . so I did and thus it becomes my 365 for today!  

We head off to Vegas for the 365 Meetup tomorrow . . . I’m going to miss the little one so much.  I’ve been with her every day for the last four weeks!  

Hmm . . . I wonder who is going to go through withdrawal more . . . 

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