Casino Chaos

Last set … until I go again, next year.

Las Vegas, the little of it I saw, was just chaotic and depressing – hollow people chain smoking and hitting the play button, over and over. Visually, there was more that I didn’t see until I was gone, I think. The advantage of going somewhere for the first time is you see a lot and, if you’re committed to your visual mission, it’s all fresh and available.

My own disadvantage was wandering downtown with two new friends. Thankfully, they were extremely patient with my random pauses and diversions and never left me behind, though they probably would have seen more if they had. Next year I’ll either wander alone or prep them better. Maybe offer up a night-life-lights shooting lesson or something.

So on to the last two …

Canon PowerShot G10, 15.7 mm, ISO 200, 1/25, f/3.5

Even the Denny’s is fancy there …

Canon PowerShot G10, 6.8 mm, ISO 200, 1/13, f/2.8

Somewhere in those two frames is the photo I want to make next year. I got mentally close to it but didn’t make the image this time. It’s about light and opulence and grandeur and monstrosity and irony. I got some of the light, a little opulence, some grandeur and a touch of monstrosity, but I never got the irony. I need to find the irony.

I guess I’ll insert a little tech talk here … I had only one camera with me (okay, two if you include the cell phone camera) – a Canon PowerShot G10. It’s a great camera and I’ve been very happy shooting with it. It’s light, compact, durable and flexible. It gives me the controls I need to get the images I usually want.

The small sensor allows for very short focal lengths which allows for very low shutter speeds. But that small sensor is an issue for me – with those ultra-short focal lengths, everything has too much depth of field for me and there’s no significant lens compression. (You’ll note almost all of these were kept below an ISO of 200 – above that, the color saturation falls off as the noise goes up. It’s better than most of the other cameras in its class, but it’s no full framer, that’s for sure.)

So here’s my hope for next year … given why I’m going to Las Vegas (a convention), and the limited time I’ll have to get out, I don’t think I’ll haul all the big Canon cannons around. What I’m hoping to acquire is an Olympus E-P2, with the Panasonic 20 mm f/1.7 lens. (Why not the Oly 17 mm f/2.8 lens? I think I’d like the wider field of view – 17 mm vs. 20 mm – but the extra stop and a half – f/1.7 vs. f/2.8 – is what I’m really after.) To that I’d love to have a long, fast lens – maybe an old Olympus 90 mm f/2.0 Macro with an adapter (but that’s pretty pricey) or their 85 mm f/2.0. If I were to pocket a third lens, it’d probably be a Voigtlander – maybe the 50 mm f/1.5 or the 40 mm f/1.4, both would be great for low light portraits.

Every photographer searches for their right combination of equipment, the gear that disappears in their hand. I had those tools a few times (my Leica M4-P with a 35 mm Summicron saw the world the way I saw it), I’m not there right now.

So, see that grass? It’s greener …

One Comment

  1. I know that Denny’s. It’ s across the street from the Mirage. That’s where my Grand Slam breakfast cost me $15. 6 for breakfast, $4 for Coffee, $4 for OJ and $1 for tax… Glad I could expense it. Now I stay at Hampton Inn just for the free breakfast.

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