Phoadtography: Vegas and Zion Trip 11/2010 Pt 3 of 3

Hunger gnawing away the insides, thirst becoming unbearable, sleep deprivation making it nearly impossible to see, fatigue making it difficult to type, but muuusst … get .. . throuuuugh last part of Phoadtography post.  Just kidding, it isn’t really that much work, but thinking a Twinkie would really hit the spot right now.  This is the third and final set of phoadtography shots from last year’s Thanksgiving vacation.  Linda and I have been requested not to plan any vacations yet due to some corporate negotiations that are in flight, but hopefully we’ll be out on the road again very soon.  For now, enjoy this final set which appear to come mostly from the Vegas area.

Since we had to rent a vehicle to get up to Zion anyway, we decided to reserve it a few days early and take in some sites near Vegas.  First on the agenda was to check out Hoover Dam and the lake that resulted from the dam construction.  After a long slow trudge through traffic, we finally arrived at the lake.  The bad news is it was unseasonably cold the week we were there (in the mid 30’s for some of the days) so we did not spend a lot of time outside.

Instead, we decided to take the scenic drive and experience it from the car.  It is definitely a nice lake, but there really isn’t much to look at on the coastlines.  Most disappointing was the utter lack of wildlife beyond a few ducks scattered about.

Although we are pretty much burned out on the Luxor having stayed there so many times, it is rare when we actually get to see the front of the casino.  I snapped this as we drove by and it turned out pretty crisp.  For those not familiar with this casino, it has a light on top that can be seen from space and their elevators are actually called inclinators because they travel up the insides of the pyramid corners.  If you want a good physics exercise, try figuring out how they keep the inclinators level so you are not tossed all over the place as you ascend up to your floor.  It is a shame they have essentially removed just about all their Egyptian themed interior decor in place of annoying modern day club-style bars and nightclubs.

Hit the jump to see the rest of this Phoadtography set!

Continue reading Phoadtography: Vegas and Zion Trip 11/2010 Pt 3 of 3

Phoadtography: Vegas and Zion Trip 11/2010 Pt 2 of 3

It’s quiz time.  What has over 70 pictures, comes in three parts and has the ability to completely clean out your browser’s cache of all that pr0n you’ve been wasting your web time on?  Okay, that was an easy one.  Yes, I’m back with the second installment of the Las Vegas and Zion Phoadtography post.  Unlike last time, none of these are wall worthy which means they generally fall into the category of things that make you go “Huh?”.  I like to get the most out of my vacations and finding those interesting pearls puts the cherry on top.  Now that the Smugmug picture links have been captured, let’s not waste anymore time and get right to this set.

Linda and I stumbled onto this sign just before entering the Zion National Park.  Having to leave the children at home to go on vacations is always tough but I am sure they enjoy the Doggy Spa at the grandparents.  Maybe next time we head out to this park we’ll see if they want to come along – although if they find out they have to work on a ranch their pampered paws will carry them right back home.

It is no secret Linda and I enjoy vacationing in Vegas.  For two people watchers, that place is like steroids for the eyes.  Even with all our trips, the first time we ever saw the Welcome to Vegas sign was a couple of years ago at Linda’s niece’s wedding.  Their party bus took us out there so they could get some pictures under it.  Well, this year was the first time we got to see the downtown Leaving Las Vegas sign.  Our lives are now officially complete.

Hit the jump to see a bunch more Phoadtography pictures!

Continue reading Phoadtography: Vegas and Zion Trip 11/2010 Pt 2 of 3

Phoadtography: Vegas and Zion Trip 11/2010 Pt 1 of 3

Guess what?… nope, guess again?  nope.. one more try?  Close, but the right answer is “it’s time for another Phoadtography post.”  Actually it is sometimes affectionately called a photo-bomb which is pretty accurate with this particular set since it requires 3 full posts to get through.  This series is brought to you via our Las Vegas and Zion trip we took over Thanksgiving last year.  That equates to two very photographic locations coupled with a road commute between them.  Translated, lots of Phoadtography opportunities.    For those of you who may be new to the blog, here are some guidelines I posted previously regarding one of my favorite means to pass the time trapped in the car.   Let’s jump right into the set!

Figured I would start with a quick sign shot.  That and I wanted to get a bad picture out of the way before getting into the good ones.  Clearly this one is not up to par in the Phoadtography quality scale.  The camera tilt is over 5 degrees and the trigger finger was a little quick on the draw.  However, at least I knew where I was on the camera card.

I’ll balance the previous shot with probably my favorite of the whole set.  This is primarily due to spotting the opportunity and patiently waiting for the perfect moment to take the shot.  It required taking into account the direction of the road and relationship to the fixed structure on top of the rock.  I have no idea what it is (maybe a weather satellite or cell tower).  With the clever alignment it really looks more like a deathray!

Hit the jump to see a lot more of the pictures!

Continue reading Phoadtography: Vegas and Zion Trip 11/2010 Pt 1 of 3

Frightened by Allegiant – Oh, and Happy Halloween

It’s October 31st, do you know what day it is?  That’s right, the last day for me to get my blog quota in for the month.  Thankfully I had a long month or just might have missed it.  As a strange coincidence, there happens to be another event going on today so in that spirit Happy Halloween everyone.  I have to make this post short today due to a big decision that is pending regarding whether I want to take the effort to carve a new pumpkin this year, but first things first.

The topic today is actually a result of a recent trip to our local Peoria Airport to purchase some tickets to escape to our favorite warm, bright, gaudy and decadent place.  Yep, we’re heading back to Vegas for our fall trip.  To be more accurate, we are heading back to Vegas and then heading up to Zion National Park from there for a few days.  If there is one part of this that annoys me more than anything is the nickel and diming we have to through these days to actually get flight tickets.  First off, Allegiant (our local direct flight to Vegas carrier) charges you an additional 30 dollar per person to book online.  Can you believe that?  When did ordering stuff on the Internet become more pricey to a company than brick and mortar operations.  You would think the reduction in ticket order staff and the improved accuracy delivered by automated processing would drive incentives to use online options as opposed to bottling up their ticket counters.  We are 15 or so minutes from the airport so last Thursday we trekked out there to get our tickets.  Per their website, they do ticket sales for one hour after the flight leaves.  They had a flight going out at 7:55 so we got there ahead of that.  There were people checking in so we hung out to give them a chance to clear.  While sitting there, Linda noticed the flight had been delayed until 10pm.  Clearly waiting around  that long was not worth the $60 of savings, but we decided to see what they would do once everyone was checked through.  About 10  minutes later, the line was cleared (this included the now common scene “your carry on is too large and needs to be checked through for a one way $35 charge”).  We walked up to the counter and asked if we could purchase tickets.  The ticket lady mentioned they usually only sell tickets after the boarding, but quickly followed up that the plane was delayed anyway so agreed to process our order.  Finally, service with the customer or may be viewing it as a fish nibbling on the hook.

Now the price jab cycle started.  I don’t recall how the clerk initiated the conversation on checked luggage, but she expected us to say we didn’t need that charge.  Linda replied we don’t have a choice which was quickly countered by “you can take carry ons”.  This will not work because our carry on items will need to cover all of the photography equipment for the national park shoots.  Chalk up another $50 each round trip.  Note, this is $20 each cheaper than if you pay to check baggage the day of.  Then there are the seat assignment charges if you want to pick your spots.  For that pleasure it is 12 or so dollars per seat per way and if you want a good seat (read as exit row) you have to pay a couple dollars more.  About this time I’m feeling like a pin cushion.  We ended up having to go with standard reservations on the way out in order to get the 2 seat side, but were able to get the exits coming back.  The clerk completed the transaction and printed out the papers for us to sign.  The ever diligent Linda noticed our seat assignments didn’t come out on the papers.  Turns out the clerk screwed that up so we went back through that process.  This time we scored.  The software glitched (let’s hope it isn’t the same system controlling the flight controls) and it didn’t charge us for one of the expensive seat reservations on the way back.  It still showed we had reserved it and it printed out on the sheets so we’ll see how this turns out on travel day.  At that point I start scanning down the list of charges, curious as to the damage that had been inflicted.  It is at that moment my mouth dropped open.  One of the charges was for 9/11 Security.  I immediately asked Linda what that was for.  She didn’t know and really wasn’t eager to start an interrogation of the clerk – especially at an airport.  Probably a little too loud I asked why I was getting charged, “I didn’t do anything bad to cause 9/11”  At that point I think my loving wife shooed me out of the terminal.  This charge bugged the crap out of me aaaaalllll the way home.  I still have not discovered the purpose for this $10 charge.  As far as I can tell, it should be charged to TSA for their complete failure in keeping my travel experience safe and non-eventful.  In fact, due to their incompetence, they should be paying me $10 for completely ruining air-travel for the masses.  These days I feel like I’m putting people out for having the audacity to fly to my destinations.  My friend Skidmarks recently sent me a few articles on how I should expect a firm hand (literally) if I request a manual scan instead of going through the full body x-ray porn scanner.  At this point, if I have to pay $10 of my own money to protect myself while traveling… they can earn the money by having to staff someone for a pat down.  I guess the good part of all of this is for 8 hours of inconvenience I get to be in Vegas!

Happy Ghouling everyone – stay safe and be sure to give rocks to anyone with the nerve to dress up like a clown.  (oh, and this makes the 6th for the month – yeah!)