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Photography Question 
Susan K. Stephens

Shooting at Night - Las Vegas

Any suggestion for shooting pictures at night with all the lights in Las Vegas? I have a Minolta Maxxum 7. This is our first time to Vegas and I won't be able to experiment with shutter speed and f-stops and then re-shoot if it doesn't look right. I would like to get it right so I'll have some good shoots to bring home. What about film speed? Flash? Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you.

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10/21/2003 1:07:26 PM

BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/28/2002
You have a very good camera. All you need is a wide angle lens (28mm would do) or a zoom with wide angel capability, a tripod and a remote shutter release.

Here's what I would do. Set your camera to Av mode (aperture priority and use at least f8 or f11 for maximum depth-of-field) and trust your camera's Honeycomb-pattern or Center-weighted meter. I always take one more picture with +1 exposure compensation. There is one exception. If the light source is changing, you may need to adjust the exposure compensation accordingly. Let me show you with the photos I took in my first (and only) trip to LV. All the photos were taken with my manual Canon AT-1 with 28mm lens, starting at f8 with 8 seconds and bracket from there.

The first two were pretty much the same exposure except the the first one I use a flash to light up the rail in the foreground so it won't be totall dark. The third one I was anticipating the "eruption" of the volcano and the "lava" flow on the water will add at least one stop of light. So I set up before the volcano erupt with 1 stop underexposure. I waited for the volcano started to erupt and click my shutter.

Bracket and try to fill the frame with the subject (do not include a lot of black sky).

Hope this helps.

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10/22/2003 8:45:28 AM

Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/17/2003
  Mirage in Las Vegas
Mirage in Las Vegas
© Bob Cammarata
Nikon FM2 Manual E...
Hi Susan,

Andy's comments are great, and will yield many fine photos.

I was in Vegas a while back and photographed the Mirage's volcano. (see attached) If you have a slow film and multi-exposure capability on your camera....try this:

Arrive early to learn the actual time between eruptions, and to secure a good position. As darkness approaches, expose the surrounding terrain with a time exposure of several seconds...starting when the water first begins to "flow" from the mountain. Then, cock the shutter without winding the film and wait for the "big finale",..when the brightest light is erupting, and expose the film again for @ 1/2 second.(Don't move the camera or tripod between exposures,)

Hopefully, you will get all the action recorded.

Good luck.

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10/23/2003 7:29:19 PM

Megan M. Hamilton
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/5/2004
  Susan - thanks for asking this question! We're going to Vegas in July and on a whim I searched to see if there were tips. :-) Thanks all!

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4/11/2005 5:58:39 PM

Kerry L. Walker   Just a tidbit of information - Did you know that most of the lights in LV (the ones that light up the sites most of us like to shoot) are daylight balanced? They do this for the benefit of us photographers who are mostly shooting with daylight balanced film.

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4/12/2005 7:25:54 AM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
  They also try to keep track of people who've been to gamblers anonymous meetings, and the like. Send them spam about specials on trips to Vegas.
It's all about tourism.

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4/12/2005 8:44:14 AM

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