Long exposure; nighttime at Mt. Charleston, Nev.
Stella Artois Draughtmasters Regional Championship, Las Vegas
Last week we made a trip out to Las Vegas for a shoot with Stella Artois, who were holding a regional Draughtmasters Championship at the Wasted Space nightclub in the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. The promotional competition, to see which bartender can complete the most perfect pour, has regional championships around the country followed by a national championship later in the year in Boston. My trip happened to coincide with Erinn’s days off, so she came along and met up with a friend while I got to work. Following my shoot I joined her at the slots, where I downloaded my cards to my laptop while having a few goes at the lever. This, of course, caught the attention of a security guard, who stopped by to see if I might somehow be hacking into the slot machines, which I assured him I was not. After an hour or so I managed to finish up and break even before heading back to the room to transmit a few files for them to release to the press the next day. Having been to Vegas a few times now in the past year, I have to say that the Hard Rock Hotel was my favorite place to stay. The rooms were nice, the pool was amazing and it didn’t have nearly the levels of gaudiness and overabundance of places like Caesars Palace. Plus, it’s off the strip. We had a good mix of work and fun that evening, but the next day decided on a change of scenery and headed 45 minutes west to Mt. Charleston. I hadn’t done any research on the place, but had heard that it was a nearby place where you could get out of the heat a bit. This was imperative, as daytime temps were a tire melting 105 degrees in the desert. Dry heat, schmy heat. It was a great surprise as we ascended the mountain up beyond 8,000 feet, that it was an entirely different climate up there. As we drove up we were greeted by drizzling rain and temperatures dipping down into the 60s. I’d somewhat expected a rockier, desert environment, but it turned out to be densely wooded with towering Ponderosa pines, which, when we hopped out of the car, found to create the most incredibly fresh smell.
Now, when camping it’s best to come prepared with such things as a tent and perhaps some food. We had only partial supplies of both. As we were setting up the tent, excited that we practically had the place to ourselves and that the ground looked to be a nice, soft bed of mulch, Erinn asked if I had packed the poles. Um, they’re not in the same bag as the tent? Apparently not. Had it not been threatening to rain some more, we would have considered sleeping beneath the stars, but since it was we were considering throwing in the towel and heading back down the mountain to find a hotel. We hopped in the car to go tell the campground hosts that we weren’t sure if we were staying due to our unfortunate situation and were surprised to find that they were a very nice old couple who offered to lend us their spare tent! Camping crisis averted. We paid them for the stay and went back to set up the tent before heading out for an evening hike to the Mary Jane Falls. The food situation was that we had figured we’d go check out the campground and then go out for groceries. Normally, we come with all of this in tow, but since we were at the hotel the night before, we left out any perishables. However, we hadn’t realized the size of the mountain and by the time we set up the tent we would have had to choose between driving down to get groceries and actually going out and enjoying the mountain. We had with us only a partial loaf of bread, an avocado and a baggie of trail mix, but we decided this was sufficient and opted for the hike.
That night as we were heading for bed the skies finally cleared for a few minutes and the woods were lit up like the day by a nearly full moon, so I stayed up a little longer to take some shots. The affect is exaggerated here by a long exposure, but it was pretty impressive in person as well. After 15 minutes or so the clouds came in and dampened the light, providing me with a excuse to call it a night.
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