On the road again: family reunion in Las Vegas

We went in search of neon last night. Actually we went to the Linq an outdoor shopping center. Jim suggested I go there to get a good shot of the High Roller (a 550-foot observation wheel) and a fountain. The High Roller is the tallest observation wheel in the world and takes one hour to ride. I heard it costs $35 per person. It’s easy to shoot since it doesn’t move fast!

The shopping center was fun to walk through, not too crowded and had a variety of shops and restaurants. I hope you enjoy what I managed to capture.

Today we are going to visit with Anita and Jim again. I’m looking forward to this post-reunion visit. We go home tomorrow, hoping to drive straight through. Do we sound anxious to get home–yes!

Tomorrow were going to hit the highway in search of home!

Family reunion in Las Vegas and the Valley of Fire

It’s a wonder that near the neon, fast paced city called Las Vegas, there are two beautiful natural areas. Yesterday I showed you Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, and today I’ll show you images I took last night at the Valley of Fire State Park. They are both beautiful, but different.

While the Valley of Fire also has red rock, it has more formations like you’d find in Arches National Park. We did miss some formations because we stuck to the road due to the late hour and lack of any shoes to hike in. But, there still was much to see during the golden hours. My only regret was the lack of a sunset worthy of shooting.

That was because the high winds blew sand and grit into the air creating a haze of sorts. The wind was so strong that as soon as I released my car door lock, it blew the door open. Many times I had to brace myself so I wouldn’t fall down. I hope you like today’s photos and, maybe, visit the two awesome areas someday.

Tonight we are going into town to catch some neon and whatever else we can.


On the road again: Family reunion in Las Vegas and Red Rock Canyon

On the way back to the resort from visiting The Valley of Fire State Park and just as we were getting into Las Vegas, Simon and Garfunkel (singing the Sounds of Silence) sang, “and the people bowed and prayed to a neon God they made..” That was a wicked amazing sense of timing! Neon was all over the city.

Another wicked bad timing has been the wind. Tonight’s sunset wasn’t. There was just light colored haze up in the mountains. At least it’s keeping us cooler. It was windy last night too when we had the reunion dinner. I’m hoping our hosts are resting today. They deserve to.

Last night was great. People mixed before dinner, looked at the boards again and after dinner Anita showed a slide show she put together with all the pictures we cut out. She’s going to create a DVD and mail it to all of us. I didn’t do too well in the capturing images department last night. I guess if I knew the clan better, I would have gotten in their faces with my camera. Jim was taking groups for another DVD, and at the very end of the evening, he got a group shot of all of us. It took some time to set up, and I’m anxious to find out how it came out.

By the way, Jim and Anita’s photography can be viewed at their website Sandstone Photography.

In addition to a few pictures of the dinner last night, I do have some images to show you of Red Rock Canyon. This beauty is relatively close to our resort, and reminded me of parts of Sedona Arizona and Southern Utah. We drove the 13-mile scenic route. The only disappointment was the sunset–not too grand.

Tomorrow we are having breakfast with friends. After that, I’m not too sure what we will be doing. Maybe if the wind dies down, Richard can put up his sun scope, and I’ll edit my Valley of Fire shots.

On the road again: Family reunion, part 3

Here we were this morning walking around the hospitality suite, wearing our buttons, eating our breakfast and trying once more to meet family. Some I recognized from last night. One cousin, he’s a Friedman, actually remembered where we were from! Now that’s good remembering for someone with grey hair! More of the younger set showed up this morning too.

After the meet and greet, Richard and I took off to eat lunch and find the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop of TV fame. If you’ve ever watched the show on the History channel you know what I’m talking about. The shop was pretty much as it’s shown in the TV series, except for the owner’s desk area. That wasn’t in the shop. We strolled through the store like the others who wanted to catch a glimpse of TV history. I didn’t bring my camera in because it was a long, narrow and crowded room. But, now, when I watch the show, I can say, “I was there!”

Back at our resort, I took advantage of the down time to edit some shots I took of the Las Vegas strip the other day. I really don’t like to vacation in Las Vegas. I cry when I lose money, I don’t drink and the shows have gotten very expensive. It was hot when we were out so we just walked a little.

They make it easy for you to walk the strip with elevated walkways going from casino, to shopping, across streets, etc. I remember when I was here last for a trade show. We walked from casino to casino, soaking in the lavish interiors. I do have a disclaimer–where our cousins live, it is nice. Their home is near the mountains and is beautiful. The people who live here seldom come down to the strip. Just us tourists walk from shop to shop and casino to casino. It’s like living in Manhattan, you seldom go to Times Square. It took me 12 years to visit the California State Capitol building and we live in the Sacramento area!

Here’s a glimpse of what we saw. Tonight is our dinner and then a large family portrait.


On the road again: to Las Vegas, Nevada for a family reunion

I’ve been busy; so busy that I’ve hardly had time for photography. My schedule has kept me from several photography meetup opportunities, but I have taken photos–not many–but enough to practice. This trip to Las Vegas will provide me with some photo opportunities.

I’ve decided to turn this blog into, for a short time, a series on our Family reunion in Las Vegas. It took us two days to arrive in Las Vegas, stopping for the night in Tehachapi, California. I did take some shots of the Tehachapi Historic Depot before the sun set.

The depot was built in 1904 along a Southern Pacific Railroad line, which founded the town of Tehachapi, and was one of the most active rural stations during World War II. Later it was a warehouse and a railroad office. In 2008, the depot burned down, was rebuilt in 2010 and is now museum.

We saw many trains come through. Some with three engines to carry the load they were pulling. These were long trains. They continued moving down the tracks all night.

The California desert is not pretty. I remember thinking that when we began our cross-country trip last summer. Things were bleak until we got into Arizona and New Mexico. The Nevada desert is also bleak, except for the casinos. Just as you cross the border into Nevada, there’s a small town with many casinos and hotels. “Welcome to Nevada,” the sign said.

In this post, you’ll see the train depot and a windmill farm. Tomorrow, I’ll tell you more about the reunion and its preparation.