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06-07-2019, 05:22 AM   #1
Pentaxian




Join Date: May 2010
Location: London
Posts: 684
Vegas - recommendations sought

Hello all,

I don't know if this is an acceptable thing to post - my apologies if not!

In July, I will be going on a business trip to Las Vegas and I plan to shoot one of my city star trail images. Should be a nice challenge, with all the bright lights of the city!

Never having shot there before, I am keen to make good use of the opportunity. If anyone here knows the city, I wonder if you would be able to advise on vantage points - and their accessibility at night. I have seen some reference images on Google Images (I don't, obviously, have copyright on these pictures, but the linked files are online and have their own copyright statements). Can anyone advise on the accessibility of these vantage points at night?

Again, if any of this isn't acceptable, please accept my apologies in advance.

The reference images are:
1) Still image at top of this page - (4K+) Las Vegas Skyline at Night Tilting - Emeric's Timelapse
or this (HD) Las Vegas Aerial City Skyline at Night - Emeric's Timelapse

2) The fifth image on this page: 100+ Beautiful Las Vegas Pictures & Images | Download Free Photos on Unsplash

3) Group of Las Vegas Night Wallpaper Hd


All the best,
Ed

06-07-2019, 06:54 AM   #2
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Join Date: May 2007
Location: Flagstaff, Arizona
Posts: 422
QuoteOriginally posted by Ed Hurst Quote
Should be a nice challenge, with all the bright lights of the city!
You bet! It's awfully bright at night everywhere.

I used to live there (1990-2005).

The first two videos appear to have been shot from (near) the top of the Aria hotel.

As you can well see, Vegas is well lit up at night.

Also, as you can see, there are lots of tall buildings, pretty much all hotels.

Some, at least, have observation decks. Perhaps the best (highest!), and quite easy to get to, if costing a few bucks (free - at least it used to be - if you eat dinner in their rotating restaurant - quite nice at sunset!) is the Stratosphere. They have a nice observation deck, and as far as I know, no policy against tripods. Better check, though.

Here’s a list: List of tallest buildings in Las Vegas - Wikipedia

There are various cross-over pedestrian bridges at several of the major Strip intersections where you could perch a camera/tripod.

There is a small parking lot at the canonical Welcome to Las Vegas sign, and it’s a not too far walk from the hotels on the south end of the strip.

If, instead, you’d like to shoot some scenery and have a rental car, don’t miss Red Rock (very close to town) and Valley of Fire (farther out) parks. A drive up Mt. Charleston is scenic. And, walk out on the bridge over the Colorado at Hoover Dam - take your wide angle lens. The dam itself is interesting and you can walk around on the top, and they have a tour you can take down inside it to see the power plant.

Death Valley would be a long day trip (and awfully hot during the summer!!!!!) - not to say that Vegas is cool. You could well see daytime temps approaching 110 degrees. No matter what they say about a “dry heat,” that is very warm!
06-07-2019, 08:06 AM - 1 Like   #3
Pentaxian




Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 1,056
QuoteOriginally posted by Ed Hurst Quote
If anyone here knows the city
I live in Vegas and I second @AstroDave's recommendations. For best pix regardless of the vantage point, you need access to the roof or the upper floors. With all the security concerns around the city and the world, accessing the roof will be difficult. The other option is to stay at a hotel on one of the higher floors that has the vantage point you seek. I have shot from street level and you can get some really nice shots. The bridge suggestion too is a good one as it gives you an elevated vantage point.

As far as other spots to photograph, Red Rock Canyon is one of my favorites as it is only a 20-25 minute ride from my house. Rock formations are to die for. Valley of Fire is an all-day deal as it is 75 miles north of the city. Valley of Fire has a section similar to the Bowl in Arizona. I have photographed herds of Bighorn Sheep on multiple visits. It is a thrill to see these animals less than a 100 yards away. Summer days are going to be super hot and high noon sun is not that attractive. Best time to shoot both locations is early morning as the sun comes up or late afternoon as the sun goes down.

Hope this helps.
06-16-2019, 05:32 AM   #4
Pentaxian




Join Date: May 2010
Location: London
Posts: 684
Original Poster
Thank you so much, everyone, for the helpful and generous advice! It's taken me a while to reply because my work schedule has prevented much time for being online - but really does mean a lot to me. If I get anything good, I'll be in posting it in due course.

You guys are great :thumbup:

07-08-2019, 01:58 AM   #5
Pentaxian




Join Date: May 2010
Location: London
Posts: 684
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by btnapa Quote
I live in Vegas and I second @AstroDave's recommendations. For best pix regardless of the vantage point, you need access to the roof or the upper floors. With all the security concerns around the city and the world, accessing the roof will be difficult. The other option is to stay at a hotel on one of the higher floors that has the vantage point you seek. I have shot from street level and you can get some really nice shots. The bridge suggestion too is a good one as it gives you an elevated vantage point.

As far as other spots to photograph, Red Rock Canyon is one of my favorites as it is only a 20-25 minute ride from my house. Rock formations are to die for. Valley of Fire is an all-day deal as it is 75 miles north of the city. Valley of Fire has a section similar to the Bowl in Arizona. I have photographed herds of Bighorn Sheep on multiple visits. It is a thrill to see these animals less than a 100 yards away. Summer days are going to be super hot and high noon sun is not that attractive. Best time to shoot both locations is early morning as the sun comes up or late afternoon as the sun goes down.

Hope this helps.
Quick follow-up question (in response to your kind message from a while back): do you know if any of those desert places allow night time access? Am keen to do some astro shooting...
07-08-2019, 12:52 PM   #6
Pentaxian




Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 1,056
QuoteOriginally posted by Ed Hurst Quote
do you know if any of those desert places allow night time access?
Red Rock Canyon is open dawn to dusk. Officially they do not allow overnight stays as they have gates. But I have heard people have stayed there overnight hiking the trails. I am not sure how they pulled it off. Valley of Fire has camping sites so they allow overnight stays. I am not sure on the details as I have never stayed there overnight.
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