Tag Archives: Las Vegas

Sunset on the Neon Boneyard

This shot was one of the last taken while photographing the Neon Boneyard in Las Vegas.

The sun had begun to sink its head to the horizon… the light at this time of the day is just magnificent. It’s soft and palpable… you can feel it kissing everything it touches.  Just privileged to have a camera in hand in moments like these…

Neon Boneyard Sign

Pulled this one from one of the archives of shots I took while running around the Neon Boneyard in Las Vegas. I’ve blogged about this place before… amazing place where all the old signs from the casinos and hotels go to “heaven” I guess. They are stacked about a fenced in property for photographers and movie folk to come see (at a price of course). this was a quick snap of the Las Vegas club sign. It’s seen better days no doubt.


Morning Desert Sky

Was heading through the Valley of Fire on my way to Rainbow Vista (great names, right!) and came across this cloud, that to me, looked like a suspicious UFO… was wondering if the cloud was just a ‘cover’ for outer space folk checking us out. Although, out there in the desert, not to much to check out really…

Morning Silence

One of the many benefits of having this passion for photography is you seek out places that you don’t soon forget. This shot was taken right before you enter the Valley of Fire- it’s pure desert. From the tip of your toes to that distant horizon there is nothing, nada, as in, zero.

I remember standing in the Redwood Forest and closing my eyes and feeling “life” around you, you could smell it, hear it, it was almost overwhelming that feeling of living things surrounding you… everywhere.

This place was the direct opposite. It felt lonely. It felt desolate. It felt forgotten. And yet, there was a beauty to it that drew your eye to the colorless ground, the shrubs, the distant mountains and the rising sun.


Morning Silence (c) joseph Rowland 2009

Las Vegas at Dusk

Every city has an “impressive” view… New York has the top of the Empire State Building looking downtown, San Francisco has the Golden Gate Bridge from the Marin County side and Las Vegas has the Strip from the top of THEhotel.  This was taken from the 64th floor Mix Lounge as the sun raced West.

Shot with a 24-70mm, f2.8 for 6 seconds at f16. I wanted to blur the cars on I-15 and Las Vegas Boulevard. At this duration they become red and white streaks of light and make the roads a river of light (not that Vegas really needs more light, I cringe at the Light Pollution generated by this city, especially the Luxor’s Intergalactic laser Beam… but hey it’s Vegas, and it wouldn’t be Vegas without the lights).  I actually shot for about an hour from this spot~ was neat sipping a bombay sapphire and tonic while watching this scene unfold, I sorta wished that there had been some low hanging clouds to add a bit more drama over the buildings, but I enjoyed the wash of color from the setting sun, and the myriad of colors from below.

Vegas really does make an impressive sight at night… Enjoy!

Las Vegas at Dusk (c) Joseph Rowland 2009


Another macro shot from the Neon Boneyard. The sun had begun to sink in the late day so the shadows began to grow a bit longer and more pronounced. It was intriguing to see these lights in perfect shape, disrupted by broken or missing ones scattered throughout the pattern. My photog buddy Ron is big on disruption in images 🙂 So when I saw this one, I drew inspiration from his comments and critiques of my prior postings.

Just a quick snap, and only some tonal contrast applied in post. That was it (besides adding the black border via Kubota’s action set!)… a different perspective of these larger than life signs.


Lights and Shadows (c) joseph Rowland 2009

Sunburst at Sunrise

One of my favorite moments is when the sun makes its appearance over the horizon. The beginning of a new day is heralded by those spreading rays of light- golden, and brilliant, albeit only for a few moments before it overpowers everything else and the light turns to mush.

This was taken at Rainbow Vista in the Valley of Fire, thought it would be neat to capture that sunrise from this vantage point, with the desolate desert at my feet. Opened the aperture which allows for those “bursts” and rays of light to really be pronounced, and bracketed 5 frames to process this HDR image in post using Photomatix. I think sunrise and sunsets lend themselves to HDR very nicely, as they capture those details in the shadows- you just have to work it in post to reduce the “HDR-ness” of the image, make it more natural and reflect the scene as it was.

Good morning! Enjoy!

Sunburst at Sunrise (c) Joseph Rowland 2009

MIX @ THEhotel

High atop THEhotel in Las Vegas is MIX a lounge and nightclub. It’s northern view takes your eye up and over the Strip and all the casinos and hotels concentrated and sprawled across Las Vegas Boulevard. I had an opportunity to bring the gear with me to the top and shoot from inside and out at sunset and shortly thereafter.  I’ll be posting a few shots of the Strip within the next few days, but this HDR shot was my last one I took before getting on the exterior elevator and heading back to “street level.”

5 frames bracketed at 1 EV a piece and in Post I had to correct for some distortion caused by shooting at 24mm.  To make the lights of the city really pop I added a Curves adjustment layer, pulling up the mid-tones to make the outside buildings a bit more pronounced. That was about it… I do like the reflections in the glass and the glowing light “things” by the windows.

Almost makes me wanna bust a move 🙂


Mix, THEhotel Nightclub & Lounge (c) Joseph Rowland 2009

Morning Rises in the Valley of Fire

The Valley of Fire is a cool place (with an even cooler name!). It’s about an hour North of Las Vegas and is filled with some interesting shooting locations. This is by Rainbow Vista. A great place to watch the sun rise. I’ve got it on my list of places to “redo” when I get a chance, since this was my first time to the location and I wasn’t 100% sure what the hell I was doing or where I was going. 🙂

One of the really neat things are the sand waves created by the winds blowing through the rocky corridors. The grains pile up into thin strips, thick ribbons, and little dunes around the large rock formations. This ongoing and ever changing pattern caught my eye, so I got low to the ground and tried to find a location that captured the essence of the place- the red rocks, the sand waves, the scrubby trees clinging to whatever they could find to anchor their roots.

An amazing place that I can’t wait to revisit one day.


Morning Rises in the Valley of Fire (c) Joseph Rowland 2009

Boneyard Details

I wrote the other day how different shooting the Neon Boneyard was from my usual landscape favorites. For the first few minutes I felt, well, uncomfortable that I wasn’t “seeing or feeling it.” The camera seemed foreign in my hand (which it never does) and as my eyes processed the signs, the framed compositions that usually run through my mind were absent.

A bit unnerving. To say the least… especially after paying for the time to shoot.

I switched gears from grand to small… from macro to micro and focused on the details of the signs. The bulbs, the color and textures, the vibrant script and fonts, the weathered paints and varnish wearing off. The story to be told was the memory of the these signs. To make them “noble,” even after their glory had faded and they lay now in disuse and disrepair in a desert graveyard.

So I set about switching the lens of my mind, and found small things that made me stare a minute longer, or caught my attention due to the light falling a certain way.

This is one of those images… and believe it or not it’s one of my favorites from the Boneyard shoot. I love the colors, the textures, the dent in the side of the metal swirl on the right side of the frame and the wway the sunlight makes the right side of the sign glow a little bit (as if it WANTED to be relit!).   I printed it big tonight (13×19) , and I’ll be sending it out to MPIX PRO (which I joined and will be reviewing when I receive my prints)… and I smiled as it rolled off my Epson. Just a great image that in one frame accomplished my goal of telling the story of the place I was so privileged to visit and capture.


Boneyard Swirl (c) Joseph Rowland 2009