I’ve posted about summer my trip plan a few times and now that trip has come and gone. From mid June through early July I made a trip to the American Southwest and California (is any part of California considered part of the southwest?) totaling a few hours short of three weeks away from home. I spent nights in campgrounds, cabins, hotels, and motels. It was a trip of contrasts with days spent without cell service or Internet (or electricity) and days in the heart of San Francisco. I’ve much to post of the trip from models, animals, and landscapes. Those will be coming over the next weeks mixed in as I catch up on some work from before the trip not yet shared. I’ll start the trip photos here at the start of the trip in the desert city of Las Vegas.
I’d gone Vegas for work and taken the time and proximity to lead into the rest of the trip. In my original plan I would spend a few more days after the work portion completed before continuing with my trip. I’d not known or counted on the Electronic Daisy Carnival being in town that same weekend. I’d originally booked a nice room on the Strip for the work portion of my trip with no issues. By the time I tried to extend the stay for the extra few days I found rooms scarce and those available greatly overpriced. Surprising since I’ve always found hotel rooms the one thing not overpriced in Las Vegas. Not in this case as 400,000 people fill up even this city of hotels. In the end I would take only a single extra day in the city and squeeze in a short side trip to one of my favorite cities, Phoenix, but that will be another update. I did find a reasonably priced hotel near the strip for the extra night though even that was a bit of a mistake as I’d meant to book a hotel near the airport instead.
I actually have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Las Vegas. I hate the “come here and do the stuff you wouldn’t dare to do back home” message pushed there now. The city seems to sell the idea that in Las Vegas you can let go, have fun, and enjoy yourself in Vegas, but do so without losing your reputation back home. Hypocrisy is one of my pet peeves and Vegas seems to build a vision out of it. Even more so though the whole city just has an element of greed running through it. I’ve nothing wrong with a city thriving off tourism, but something about the get rich quick version in Vegas feels cheaper. From the slot machines in airport terminals greeting you upon arrival to the cost of just about everything you need from transportation to meals, Vegas feels like it constantly wants to get into my pants – specifically to my wallet.
That said I do enjoy a few days in Las Vegas before it starts to wear on me. It’s a fun place to go out with co-workers and/or friends and bond a bit. I could probably walk and people watch on the Strip at any time and enjoy it for the simple amusement if nothing else. People letting themselves go for perhaps the only time make interesting entertainment. And given I tend to have the habit of not caring much about what other people think, it does feel nice to be in a place where no one else cares either. A contradiction I admit, but that I think it reveals Las Vegas’s appeal and distraction. It’s a city that straddles both the fantasies and realities of youth and age, wealth and poverty, crowds and loneliness, sex and strangers, love and loneliness, and hard work and luck.
While in Las Vegas my work related schedule ruled out shoots most days. A few discussed for the few free moments didn’t come to pass. With only about thirty-six hours between the end of those work commitments and my flight out of the city, I had little time to shoot. One shoot my next to last night in town fell through at the last minute leaving with a night alone in the city I enjoyed walking the strip, catching a show that I’d not seen, and talking with strangers in a hotel bar until early in the morning. The only shoot I ended up with in Las Vegas came with Wonderhussy, a model who I’d worked with my previous trip to Las Vegas. We’d worked outdoors then and had the same plan now.
We began by heading out of the city into the desert to a wonderful abandoned building and the source of the photos scattered through this entry. All went well for a until we had unexpected visitors in a couple of young men. Whether they saw the admittedly cool building and wanted to check it out or the naked lady and wanted to check her out I don’t know. They left shortly after causing no problems and we continued shooting. About the time we were beginning to wrap came a first for me, the arrival of a law enforcement official. We were polite and very non-threatening (I can turn on the Southern very thick when I wish to and few things sound less threatening than a thick Southern Drawl). He gave us a bit of a lecture, but truthfully was pretty cool about it. We agreed to move along and did so. As I noted we were about done anyway so we got some nice work before leaving.
To that point I’d only once had any issue during a shoot, a ranger showing up during a shoot with nothing more revealing than a bikini. I’m pretty careful about shooting locations so this is the first time I’d ever had an issue and it was probably just bad luck. At the time I figured the earlier unexpected visitors had called someone or had shared the story with someone that had. I now wonder if we just had the bad luck to run into extra patrols around thanks to the previously mentioned EDC. The combination of young, inexperienced, and under the influence of something (probably a good description of most of those in town for EDC) can end badly in the desert summer and I wouldn’t expect if patrols were out in greater than normal numbers for that very reason.
After that unplanned encounter ended happily we decided to head to my hotel and finish the shoot instead of to the second outdoor spot. Truth is I felt if I tried shooting anything outdoors at that point my head wouldn’t be in it and results would show that. We arrived back at the hotel to a number of interestingly attired people on their way to EDC and the strong smell of a certain burned plant in the halls. If I plan to shoot at the hotel I usually try to find a place that helps that. The place I was staying that night was chosen mostly because it was available and not too expensive, not for shooting. Still, there is a fun challenge of shooting in a place you hadn’t planned and seeing what you can do. I’m pretty happy with the results and will post some of those later. Photos scattered through this post from the location.
Wonderhussy also keeps a rather funny blog where she also describes the shoot in this post.