The tale of three photos

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Las Vegas is one city where night photography can be better than during the day. Recently my wife, daughter, and I stayed on Fremont street that colorful reminder of yester-Vegas. My first Vegas experience was during the 80’s when the Mob still had a foothold. Every meal my father played Keno and chain smoked Benson and Hedges while I enjoyed bacon eggs and toast. The casinos didn’t have elaborate themes they had elaborate neon lights. Fremont still has that old Vegas feel.

The first night we waited in front of The D for the light show.  While waiting, I fell in love with a sign. I fished the spot for a while. If you are not familiar with the term in photography it means to sit in one location and wait for something interesting to photograph.

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chili dogs

The first photo I metered on the sign because the sign caught my eye. I tried a few different exposures by metering on different areas. I had my M240 which five years ago when it came out, was a less conspicuous camera. In 2017, it is much more noticeable and often a conversation starter.  I am mostly trained to meter, shoot, then review the photos later.  This evening on Fremont St was a good day of shooting and staying in the moment. I wasn’t 100% certain how these shots would come out.

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Working while everyone else enjoys Fremont Street

The second photo is metered on the window. While I can see more detail in the crowd, I still prefer the darker photo.  The color of the wall isn’t very pleasing, but again it is similar to what I saw that night.  I could try and edit the photo adjusting the color of the wall and add more detail to the people but I don’t like to edit much. As a disclaimer, I don’t like to edit my photography that I shoot for myself. When did work for others I edit to the best of my ability. If I really like a photo and I missed the exposure I will try and recover it some. I try to see photography as the long game. Yes I may have missed a photo today but I’ll take photos again tomorrow, and the next day. After a few more years I will review all my shots and pick my favorites, moving some old favorites back in the shoe box pile.

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What happens in Vegas happened once before in LA, on a movie set

The last shot is metered on the sign again but in an effort to get the storm trooper in the frame, I cut off the sign and the feet of the storm trooper. The obvious interesting subject caught my eye. Some photographers see the obvious interesting subject and can frame it perfect. I have not mastered this skill. I find that I get so excited about the subject I forget about the basics, composition, composition, composition.

My favorite is the first photograph.  I tend to shoot color photos under exposed seeking deeper, darker colors. I look for composition and shapes more than crisp detail. Editing is a challenge. Immediately the first selection of photos I choose the photos I think others would like. The second pass I remember, “Oh yeah, I’m not a Magnum photographer. I’m not on assignment. I’m shooting for me. What photos do I like?” Since deleting my Instagram account and starting to focus on my website, the process is getting easier to think in terms of me. I shoot for me. I shoot to capture how I see the world. I share it because there are billions of people in the world and there has to be a few who are moved by my art.

Art is a beautiful thing and it should be shared and enjoyed.