Something Interesting Happened on the Way to the Venetian

This is quota thing is going to put me in an early grave. With the new year coming there might have to be some slight modifications. But that is over a month away so back on the computer to finish up the last post of the month. As with the previous post, this one is courtesy of our trip to Vegas although this one isn’t about wildlife photography…. rather landscape photography.

You may not know that Linda is a Peter groupie.. EEK! backspace backspace backspace… start again. You may not know that Linda is a big fan of Peter Lik. That actually doesn’t sound a whole lot better but before your mind goes somewhere it shouldn’t, Peter Lik is a pretty famous outdoor photographer. Linda has been following his work for sometime now likely due to the association with her own interest in landscape photography. If photographers can have groupies, Linda could be the president of his fan club. She watched all his shows on the Weather Channel (long story) and an avid follower of his blog until it shriveled up and died (probably got quota’d out hehehe). Now days she is on his mailing lists and forums to keep up on the latest releases and happenings in the photography world. The fact that he considers Vegas the headquarters of the Lik enterprise was very much on Linda’s mind leading up to our trip out there – a strange fact seeing as he is the son of Czech parents and raised in Australia. She even managed to find all of his galleries out there as well as the address for his corporate offices. Clearly there was going to be treks through some snooty studios and a road trip in our future.

Since we were staying at the Palazzo we decided to head over to the Venetian gallery first. Sure enough, they had his classic works as well as some new pieces adorning the walls. I rarely openly comment on the works of professional photographers in fear of offending someone or ballooning egos, but in this case, I’ll make an exception. His work is quite stunning!  This especially holds true if you appreciate landscape photography and a proprietary printing process that makes his images pop right out of the frame. I really can’t explain what it is about his shots, but if you are not impressed when walking in his galleries you might want to have your pulse checked. True to our other experiences in gallery stores, we were quickly greeted by one of the sales associates. The next two+ hours was quite the event.

We would approach a picture, the salesman would start to say something about it and Linda would quickly proceed to explain the entire background on it – where it was shot, how it was shot, when it came out, in some instances the camera he used and what hat he was wearing at the time. The associated was damn impressed – me, more worried she was going to quit her day job, buy a jeep and start camping out at remote sites Peter was planning to shoot. During the course of the walkthrough, we also learned a tremendous amount which included insights into how some of the shots were taken (that Linda was not aware of), some advanced information on some release cycle changes and the logarithmic pricing based on percentage of the total release size. I recall from other gallery walks that the staff was continually throwing out percentage numbers and had no idea what that meant … actually my guess was some kind of bonus they were getting per sell. Not exactly true. The percentages represent what band of pricing the picture is currently selling at. Shots in the early cycle go for a lower price which jumps significantly when it gets to the 80’s 90’s and heartstopping sold out. As luck would have it, the image I really like is selling well and is now priced at 60K. Oh well, there’s always the lottery or more appropriately in Vegas – a lucky pull on the Mega bandit. Note they had Linda’s favorite picture of Peter’s on the wall as well.

And then we came to the last picture. The recently released Zebra shot. I do no remember how large this particular picture was, but it was easily 2 meters square. The neat thing about this is it is his first wildlife release and more intriguing to me.. his first shot taken with a Nikon (800 I think … Linda can verify). Not to often when a professional artist sees the light and switches sides – take that Canon lovers! From a collectors perspective, this shot has a lot going for it – two firsts in the same shot. We looked at it for awhile and commented it was interesting – maybe not the word to use in a gallery. The salesman started scurrying around and mentioned something about “going to do something for us”. We didn’t think much about it and started backtracking on a couple of pictures which included another look at Linda’s favorite shot. A few minutes later we look over and that huge zebra shot was making its way down the aisle with a pair of legs sticking out from under it. Ummm, looks like things are going to get more interesting. After quite the struggle, he gets it inside a viewing room and proceeds to change all the lighting around to show the different effects it has based on the level of light – again, another stunning feature of whatever process he created to print these babies. Linda and I bantered back and forth about how we were looking for something to hang on our fireplace but eventually came to the conclusion that the whites and blacks would blend too much with our river rock… that and the part I didn’t say – I just don’t think the shot is that great but I could just be a jaded wildlife photographer. The next 30 minutes is somewhat of a blur but our banter turned into some serious discussion which led to the idea that more color would do the trick and the next thing I know we are looking at Linda’s favorite picture in another viewing room. Lights down, lights up, stand close, stand back, sit stand and all we can say to each other is WOW. I’ll make a long story short(er), but you probably saw this coming a lot earlier.

hit the jump to read about the rest of the experience

Yep, we bought it. We .. strike that .. Linda is now officially in the Peter Lik clique. There was a lot of details to still figure out like what first time collector options we wanted, framing style, frame color etc. etc.
All in all it was a pretty enjoyable time (after the sticker shock wore off). In case you are wondering, I purposely left off out salesman’s name until now because neither of us could remember what it was at the time. Not until he handed us his card did we learn it was Jorge – I am sure he told us, but our original intent was to be in and out in 15 or so minutes. To his credit, Jorge was great. Very knowledgeable (although I think he learned some things from Linda), accommodating and is sending us a bunch of free stuff (we’re suckers for free stuff). We still made it to the other galleries, but now we could say we were an official collector which immediately starts getting you clique benefits. Like more insights into how the shots were taken and best of all an early announcement that another piece was being released at 4am the next day. Guess what.. the next day we dropped by the Mandalay Gallery, told the salesman we already owned a piece and got a private showing of the new piece not for general public consumption for a few more weeks.

The fun wasn’t over yet!  That day we were heading out on our “TV Tour” with intentions to track down all the locations of the History Channel shows based in Vegas. Once we had those in our camera tins we started our trek out to find Peter Lik’s headquarters. This proved incredibly hard due to being tucked away in a somewhat secluded spot. We kept circling the place about 4 blocks away, unable to figure out how to make it to the actual building. Never bet against Linda when she is on a mission. Sure enough, we got there and got the shot!

So there you have it. We’ve entered the “dark side”. Linda is getting one hell of a Christmas present (thinking I’ll get a PEZ dispenser or something). As Linda quickly pointed out this is kinda of my fault since I’m the one who was commenting on the need to class up our house a bit. Maybe I’ll start commenting how the place needs a little more “firepower” and see where that gets me. Time to relax a bit, my body took a beating while in Vegas – lots of walking and carrying The Beast around but the good news is I have plenty of blog fodder to last me a few months thanks to a bird refuge we were clued into by a coworker of Linda.

6 thoughts on “Something Interesting Happened on the Way to the Venetian”

  1. Congratulations on your new purchase! It looks cool. I’ll have to come see it on your wall. I bet you guys make a trip someday to the exact spot where he took that photograph, and when you do, you’ll be again wearing clothes whose colors exactly match the photograph.

    That’s an ominous building, BTW. The word “lik” or, since it’s at 90 degrees equally likely to be “kil”, some kind of one-way mirror like in police interrogation scenes, a remote control camera or laser, and some sort of metallic box on the side at a place no one can get to, all hulking in shadows next to a barbed-wire fence and a faceless cubical building in an off-map maze-like location that only super agent/groupie Linda can penetrate. You have indeed entered the Dark Side. My advice: Avoid the DarkRooms.

    I laughed at the thought of you dropping hints about how your place needs a little more “firepower”. Sure, that’ll work. Maybe you can sell it as protecting Linda’s art. …but I doubt it.

    Ron

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  2. Too funny.. for the record, we did not intentionally coordinate or clothes with the picture .. besides, I wasn’t even thinking we’d own one when we headed out the door. Now I am very concerned thanks to your perspective on the sign/location. It was indeed hard to find, had security cameras all around and while we were taking pictures in this private lot some dude came out and stared at us as he proceeded to his card. Should I be concerned that every few minutes all the lights in the building would dim and flicker for a few seconds? I might need the extra firepower to protect us from men in black suits hanging out in our woods for now on. As far as angles go, I’m still getting traction with the coyotes continually howling around our house – every time I hear them I mention that the only thing keeping them from Rizzi and Kerby is a bullet! the larger the caliber.. the better the chance those killers will keep their distance

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  3. BTW, there’s an option given to Edit a previous post after I submit it, but it never works. So I can’t polish up my texts upon reflection. In this case, I would have changed the adjective “maze-like” to “labyrinthine”, which would not only have impressed the he** out of you but would have been a nice pun in this case.

    The inability to post-edit a submission reminds me of the only French phrase I like: l’esprit de l’escalier. Ain’t that the truth.

    Ron

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  4. The zebra picture is called Wild Beauty taken with a Nikon D800E which deviates from panoramic cameras he usually shoots with which include Lindhofs and Hasselblads. It also has been reported that he normally is a Canon shooter so it was interesting that he has taken up with the new Nikon. And as for what he was wearing, I am guessing it is his usual dress of torn jeans, shirt with the sleeves torn off and a straw cowboy hat. Sorry I can’t validate that information 🙂

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  5. Wow, Linda, you really do know all about this guy! Torn jeans, shirt with sleeves torn off (really?), cowboy hat?? Brian, you should never allow Linda to meet this guy. On the other hand, you’ve set such high standards that she will no doubt be disappointed. 🙂

    Ron

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  6. torn jeans .. yes torn sleeves off .. yes cowboy hat .. yes … sold a picture for over $1 million .. yes … am I concerned about Linda meeting him … well the jury is still out on something so at the present .. NOT concerned hehehehe – besides she knows the deal – a break for greener pastures means I get one of the dogs ha – not to mention the harassment this guy would give her nonstop on “luck” shots – he’s all about hiking for miles, waiting in the wilderness for that one SINGLE shutter press … then skipping off to the darkroom to rake in the profit.

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