I thought tonight we’d go back to Las Vegas for another shot from the strip.  This time it’s the Monte Carlo Hotel and Casino.

We were walking down the strip and came to the front of the Monte Carlo and they had this great fountain at the front and everything was beautifully lit.  However there were loads of people working past or coming down the stairs of the hotel.  So I decided to do something “sneaky”.

I set the camera up on a tripod and just stood there for 5 minutes taking LOADs of pictures.  I’d wait until the stairs on the right were empty and take a shot, then wait until the sidewalk to my left was clear and take a shot.  Eventually I captured enough pictures where I had overall bits of the entire image with nobody in it.

Then when I got home I started selecting different “bits” from different images and blended them all in together to create one image that has no people.

This is actually pretty easy to do in Photoshop so while it sounds complex it’s really not.  Having a tripod made it even easier as I didn’t have to line up the images.

I picked this composition so you see the Monte Carlo name at the top of the hotel tower on the right which makes sure you know what you are looking at.  I tried shooting a little further to the right but too many posters were in shot (I still have some here in the bottom left) and it didn’t help the picture.

Anyway the end result is pretty cool.  I love the fountain (that’s what caught my eye in the beginning) and the statues in each recess around the front of the hotel all lit up look great too.

Carter and Red helped Master Chief build a little glass house tonight.  I think they are running out of ideas for their daily picture – I know I am!

While in Seattle, walking round pier 57, we came across a group of Native Americans in a pow wow beating drums and singing in a circle.  There was a large group of Native Americans there all having a large BBQ.  The guys in the circle were all dressed in “western” dress (by that I mean normal pants or jeans with shirts and coats etc.), and didn’t look that impressive.  That said they had drawn a crowd.

Walking away from the gathering was one guy in full on costume.  He looked amazing, loads of feathers with a bone chest plate.  His face was painted white and that clashed amazingly with the red feathers and scarves.  He was moving pretty slow (he had a lot of gear on and it didn’t look that comfortable), so we walked up to him and started a conversation.  He told us he was from out of state (I think he said Kansas) and was here for a large pow wow.

We asked if he minded us taking his picture and he went into a long explanation on how as long as we ask at the pow wow and the members say yes it’s OK, but they may be praying and if they say no we shouldn’t shoot them as it could be really disrespectful.  Everything he said was very fair but we wanted to shoot him, not the guys in jeans and t-shirts.  I think he was tired as we asked him again if we could photography him and he kind-a sighed and said OK.  So I grabbed a couple of quick shots, thanked him and he walked off.

He really looked amazing, and his facial expression is fantastic – he looks totally annoyed with me, there may even be a little anger in there!  If he had smiled I wouldn’t have liked this so much.  Believe it or not this was shot outside early afternoon and the white behind him is the sky!.  The reason why it’s so blown out behind him is that his face was in heavy shadow (it wasn’t that sunny and the feathers in his headdress were casting a pretty big shadow).  So I metered on his face only (spot metered) and got the shot below.

I LOVE this picture, the fact that his costume and headdress and face came out so well, and the background is totally blown out, really made the image.

Carter and Master Chief saw the image above and got inspired.  Below is their homage to the Native American.

I thought I’d post another image from my Seattle photo walk yesterday.  Today’s image is the “Seattle Great Wheel” that’s located down on the waterfront on Pier 57.  This Ferris wheel has only been open since the end of June and while I really want to go on it, I thought I’d wait until the lines dropped down.  However when I was there yesterday there were no real line at all!  I was surprised by this as I really thought it would be more popular and busy as the weather was dry!

This is called the Great Wheel because it’s the largest Ferris wheel on the West Coast.  It stands 175 feet and it costs $13 to take a ride.  There is one fully glass VIP gondola and that’s $50 a go – I want to ride in that one.  When you pay to get on, you get to go round three times (which I think it pretty good).  In total there are 42 climate controlled gondola’s and each one can hold 8 people and when on the ride you extend out 40 feet over Elliott Bay.

This does look really cool but it’s much smaller than the London Eye (the London Ferris wheel) that’s 443 feet high and is the tallest wheel in Europe and the most popular tourist attraction in the United Kingdom.  That said I’m glad we have our own wheel and look forward to taking a ride.

Anyway, back to the image, I got the chance to take quite a few pictures and you can pretty much stand right under the wheel to get some cool compositions.  While the sun was trying to peak through, the sky was still pretty cloudy and I thought the image below came out well.  Even though I shot in color (always do), the image was pretty monochromatic, there was a slight “blue” tint in the clouds and this spilled onto the the silver and white wheel.  As this didn’t really aid the image, I chose to make it black and white and I think this made a more powerful image.

Real men play an instrument – at least that’s what the Halo guys think so tonight they started their trumpet practice! Scared the crap out of the dog I can tell you.

Today was a really good day, I’m totally exhausted now of course but wait till you hear what I did.

This morning I got up at 8am (it was raining, so I guess summer is now over) and I headed out to pick up Chris Pearson (my photo buddy).  We hit the road and headed to Seattle (still raining – and the 520 bridge was closed for the weekend so we had to go the long way across the I90).

We arrived in Seattle at 9am and went to Pike Place Market to go on a Photography Walking Tour.  The tour lasted around 3 hours and we had a blast.  I’ve lived here 10 years but still learnt some new stuff about the city.  Our guide took us through the Market, past the “Gum Wall” (more on that in another posting), down Post Alley to the Art Museum, then down to the water front, and finally along the water then back up to the market.  It was fabulous and I too over 500 pictures.  (I bracketed a lot so really it was around 200 images).

Chris and I grabbed some lunch in Seattle and then headed home.  I then loaded the car with LOADS of camera gear and went off to shoot my first High School Senior photo shoot (more on that in the future too).  2 Hours later I was all done and headed home totally knackered!

Got in at 6:30pm – What a day!

I should say here that while the weather started off wet, once the walking tour started everything dried up and even the sun came out.  So it was a complete success.  I have loads of cool images to post, but Abi selected tonight’s shot.  We checked out the entrance of the city Art Museum while on the tour and they had these amazing cars hanging from the ceiling with neon (or LED, not sure) lights coming out of the cars.  It was very “arty” and looked fantastic!  I took loads of shots and selected this one as my favorite to post.  I think there were five cars in total, here I’m catching two of them.  The problem was, the lights kept blinking on and off and timing it right to get the picture below took a long time.  In the end I just held the shutter down to get the lights right and the result was great.

Really good day, love using Shutter Tours (here is their website, check them out: http://www.shuttertours.com/), and got some great shots.

The guys are getting stressed out waiting for the new Halo game to come out.  So they decided to try some Yoga to relax.

Tonight I thought I’d post another hotel from Las Vegas.  This time it’s Paris.  Now I should remind everyone before I write this that I am British (yes I’m American too, but I was born and brought up in England).  So it shouldn’t be a big surprise to anyone who’s reading this that I’m not a big fan of France.  Yes I love their wine and cheese and am quite jealous of their lovely weather, but that’s about it.

I’ve visited France many times and can honestly say it’s not my favorite place.  To some extent most French people (from my experience) are not huge fans of the Brits, so the “love to hate” relationship is mutual.  I won’t bore you with all the history details (that doesn’t go back as far as you’d think) but it is what it is.

So what better place for an English guy to enjoy the Eiffel Tower and French Cuisine that Las Vegas!  I mean it’s perfect.  Enjoy some great restaurants and still feel good about myself in the morning.

This picture was taken one night from outside the Bellagio, which is across the road from Paris.  The hotel looked amazing with the Eiffel Tower and big balloon and the gold lights on the hotel.  There was a lot of traffic so I had to shoot above the cars but I don’t think it hurt the image.  So while I’m not going back to Paris France, I might well stay here.

Carter paired his Windows Phone with a Jawbone Bluetooth speaker and then got down to some cool tunes!