In my first-ever visit to Las Vegas, I had preconceived notions confirmed and others debunked. But my camera and I were not disappointed.
It’s possible to go to Vegas and never spend a penny in the act of gambling. Around the clock there’s a lot to gawk at: from the classy to the kitschy, the bare and brazen to the quiet and modest. You will spend money on the good, bad and the ugly for hotels, restaurants, and entertainment. But at all times, your senses will never be at a loss for stimulation of one kind or another.
In December, we stayed in Vegas to bookend our experience in Death Valley National Park. The contrasts between urban and the desolate landscapes were many, and the two areas provided me with incredible sights. I’ll share my favorites images in upcoming posts.
Our urban adventure began in the part of the city branded in the 1980s as the 18B Las Vegas Arts District. It’s an 18-block zone set aside to encourage art and creativity. The area attracted a mixture of hipster bourgeois, bohemian, bankrupt and the beggarly. It was also where we had brunch. While my group waited to be called for a table, I fed our parking meter and made a quick photo circuit.
The first notable landmark was the Downtown Container Park (700 E Fremont in 89101), a family friendly anchor for the neighborhood. It’s mini-mall filled with offbeat retail shops, eateries, galleries, an outdoor courtyard and a playground. The building structures were crafted with up-cycled shipping containers; the shops within feature offerings that are gently used, and some items are re-purposed or redesigned. At the entrance is a curious sentry: an enormous metal sculpture of a mantis probably constructed with recycled materials to follow the theme of its location.
Photographic note: Yes, a circular polarizer filter was in place on the camera lens.