Mandalay Bay and The Luxor, © 2011 Terrell Neasley

Luxor and Vegas Srip shot from The Mix,
© 2011 Terrell Neasley
Shooting for fun with some friends can be an exceptional experience. This is when you get out and try some new things and get mixed up in situations where you ordinarily may not have ever tried on your own. My Las Vegas Photographic Society has some events all the time where we go out for specific purposes to get a particularly desired result. Sometimes these are training workshops and seminars. Other times they may be opportunity excursions to far off locations. And then there are times where a small group just meets up and you just wing it! Last Wednesday was one of those nights. We just went out on the strip and took some shots. We at least had an initial “guiding” goal to shoot Mandalay Bay in that golden hour of sunset. Trying to find a spot to set up proved tricky, as we all desired to be up in high vantage points, but there’s nothing across from the Mandalay Bay to offer such perspective. The street becomes the only option, but you have to contend with the electrical and phone pole wires, trees, and other obstacles that trash the composition you see in the viewfinder. 
© 2011 Terrell Neasley
Lake Las Vegas, © 2011 Terrell Neasley
On this night, we split up. Unintentionally, we ended up dividing up between the Canon shooters and those with Nikons. Of the 5 of us, it just worked out that way. We all had tripods and cable remote shutter releases. I loved what I got with the long shutters using a wide-angle lens and going Black and White. We eventually moved inside where I got to do some more interior scenes. I don’t think I got to rattle off 10 shots before security was on our butts. At this point, we were not inside Mandalay Bay. We were on the side with the Four Seasons. They were the one’s who nabbed us. We tried to argue, but of course to no avail. We left, but came right back and went just outside to the pool area and got some shots. Our troubles returned when we came back inside and were asked to leave once more. We did. 
Frank Zapata, © 2011 Terrell Neasley
But when we got to The Mix (64th floor, Mandalay Bay), a classy bar/lounge, the experience was a total 180. The Mix has an outdoor seating area overlooking the stip. A 5 foot high glass wall keeps you from falling over the edge, but it was off limits at this point due to high winds. I asked for permission anyway. What we got was an alternative. On the restaurant side, which has an identical balcony, the rules were a little more flexible. We got an escort to take us through to the opposite side and she stayed with us patiently in the cold while we got our shots. She was a real trooper shivering in her short black dress. I put my coat on her, gave the guys a few more minutes and told the big chief that we needed to head out and let this girl warm back up. We tipped her for her kindness, thanked the manager who approved it, left some business cards and left. I promised to come back to dine there real soon as I had not known the restaurant part of the Mix even existed. They really made our night. 
Yesterday, just a week later, my friend Heather and I took a ride out to Lake Las Vegas to experiment with her new camera. I had just gotten a new lens and so I put it through its paces. Our initial plans were to head over to the Las Vegas Strip and just play, but I asked to change the plans at the last minute. I hadn’t been out to Lake Las Vegas in quite some time and decided it might have some better scenes to test our new gear. It was fortuitous for us that we also got there right about the time a very interesting show/exhibition was beginning. Champion Water Skier, Franky Zapata had come out to showcase his new water jet-pak that allowed him to fly through the air on jets of water. I almost started to describe it, but you can see the pics. He looked like Iron Man, just without the iron, or whatever type of alloy Iron Man’s suite is made of. I’d never seen anything like this before. It was fabulous and we had an excellent time there. We spent a good chunk of the day shooting and then hanging out in the local cafe. Marvelous day.