So I took the Ferrari out for a spin — the fancy lens that I rented for our Las Vegas trip — and made an important discovery: I’m really much happier with my Honda, photographically speaking.
That is, I really prefer macro-like or at least small-scale photography to landscape photography, at least for my own shooting. I guess I should have figured this out, since my preferred photographic genre is Random Shit. But I thought I’d see what I could do with a giant lens that could open up to f2.0 through the entire zoom range of 35-100MM. (Photo nerds – did I say that right?) A lens that was described in reviews as having “buttery soft bokeh, with a good nose, hoppy notes, and a peaty finish.” Or something like that.
Of course, I can’t blame the incredible lens for my lack of skill and preparation. I actually did a lot of theoretical preparation — checked the time of sunrise on The Photographers’ Ephemeris and set an early wake-up call — to make sure I was at Red Rock Canyon for the beautiful early morning light. But it turned out that I’d miscalculated sunrise, and I then found myself — this was both hilarious and devastating to my carefully-planned timing — unable to make the stove work in our hotel kitchenette,* requiring additional time to grab some breakfast on the way.
By the time I got there, it was long past sunrise, but I still got some pretty cool shots:
When I got bored with taking landscape photos, I took a couple of exposure-bracketed shots and had fun with HDR,** which at this point requires no talent whatsoever. I toss three bracketed photos into Photomatrix Essentials, and voila! HDR!
But not just default HDR, “painterly” HDR:
and “black & white artistic” HDR:
I’m a regular Ansel Adams!
Stop her before she noodles again!
At this point in the morning, I switched to my Nifty Fifty*** and took the sort of photos I enjoy both shooting and looking at later. For example, I like the landscape on top of a cactus
more than the landscapes above.
Here are some more sorta kinda**** macro — or at least small & random — photos.
More fun with HDR:
And some fun with Lightroom:
I had hiked the first couple of miles of the 13-mile circuit through Red Rock Canyon, then hiked back to the car — that’s serious distance for this desk potato! — and drove the rest of the way around the Scenic Drive.
I stopped at the High Point Overlook for lunch and more amazing scenery.
Met a couple of cyclists and convinced one to take a photo of me and my cool rental car. One of them explained that he was going to do “18 or 19 miles today.” I said, “wow – 19 miles!” He said — you saw this coming, right? — “No. 90 miles. 9-0.”
Oddly, I completely failed to convince Tim that I encountered carnivorous wildlife on my hike with either this photo
or this one.
As you can see from the previous two photos, the final stop on my Red Rock Canyon Adventure was the Visitor Center, where I strolled past a lot of the sort of informative displays that I’ve been studiously ignoring since elementary school field trips, but did get to meet Maxine the tortoise:
All in all, a gorgeous and satisfying photographic outing!
Extra bonus photo of Shibuya, the excellent sushi restaurant where Tim took me to dinner. I love the food and the decor. It feels like you’re dining in your own private tree house!
*In my defense, neither could Tim or our assistant, Dustin, who can make *anything* work. Nor did housekeeping have a clue — they had the hotel engineer come by later in the day and write out instructions.
** From time to time, I remember what this stands for. Not just now, though. But it means superimposing three differently-exposed shots to take advantage of the good exposure in each.
*** OK OK, Nifty Forty-Nine.
**** I don’t think the Nifty Forty-Nine counts as a macro lens, strictly speaking.