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The Green Glow on the Strip

Feb 22

In Rambling at 9:37am

Was just at the WPPI convention in Vegas. I had no official duties or anything, I was just there basically stalking Annie:-) Been on the road a lot with this Geographic job (in Colorado now) so I just went to the show to hang out, see some friends and drop by the Adorama booth and stare at her occasionally. The fortuitous placement of the Ado counters facing directly into the Nikon stage makes it easy to see the whole gang, so it was a fun couple of days.

I had never stayed at MGM before, and sleeping there is kind of wild, with this green glow seeping in around the curtains. I’ve done a lot of chopper work in Vegas, it made me recall this shot I made a couple years ago. That emerald color is really the brightest thing on the Strip, which as we all know is a monument to understated taste and elegance. Reason for the flight was that I was doing a story on the electrical grid of the US, and I had to come up with a pic that addressed the issue of consumption. Vegas here we come! Nat Geo didn’t use it, going with a frame I made of the NY skyline.

But I do remember working this building, kind of an illuminated, architectural version of the Hulk, sitting there on the strip. Shot with a D3, lens at 19mm, ISO 1000, 1/80th at 2.8, Aperture Priority, minus one EV.

More tk…

Patrik Lindgren says:

on February 22, 2012 at 9:58 am

I actually thought that you had used a gazillion of speedlites for this, all with a gel on them.
That´s because i know you have lit whole cityblocks before, so I have to admit that I´m actually kinda disappointed. 😉

zen_twit says:

on February 22, 2012 at 10:00 am

Vegas, f*** yeah! Love that place, photog’s paradise.

Andor says:

on February 22, 2012 at 10:21 am

To see the night lights of a city is always nice to me, but such awesome tones like this green ‘Hulk’ is indeed just fun!

William Chinn says:

on February 22, 2012 at 10:47 am

In the early days of the MGM Grand, my wife and I attended an anniversary party where the host treated us to 1 night in a regular room. The party coincided with the lunar new year where Asian high rollers were flying in to stay at the hotel to be entertained at a concert by an Asian diva. With an Asian surname checking in I was given my suite. (First hint: The suite had double doors) It also had a full living room and kitchen, double everything in the bathroom, and 3 TV’s. It was located at a corner of the MGM where a full view of the strip was present. Yes, the MGM had green lighting then too. Then it also had twin stone lions at the entrance (not good for Asians and was soon removed). Some of my best photos of the old strip were taken from that “room”. Oh yes, my host had a single door on their room, so the anniversary party was in our “room”. If you haven’t been there, Emerald Green from the Wizard of OZ is a common color theme. Since I couldn’t afford a second night I drove home to Los Angeles in my Toyota station wagon. ps. While there an Asian high roller won so big that the dealer tip was $10,000. Yes, the good ol’ days.

Joe says:

on February 22, 2012 at 10:53 am

1/80 sec in a chopper? That’s some steady hands!

Kevin says:

on February 22, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Wow very cool I like the jump in color contrast Not sure I want to be where ever it is your shooting from…. Thats a long way down haahhahahaha

William Beem says:

on February 22, 2012 at 2:37 pm


I just spent a week at the MGM. Next time you’re there, look at the control panel on wall. There’s a control for the Blackout curtain – no more green glow.

Lewis.w says:

on February 22, 2012 at 4:35 pm

Interested to learn about your numbering system of that beautiful photo.

PG says:

on February 22, 2012 at 10:21 pm

Got to the blog late tonight, but if you’re around the Denver metro area tomorrow, let me know. Be glad to shoot photos or bs if you have the time. And we’ll avoid the convention center, just in case they want to charge us for easels or something…

Joe McNally says:

on February 22, 2012 at 11:25 pm

Absolutely!! sorry to say, tho, in Grand Junction, 3am wakeup, flight through SLC and home…all the best, Joe

Joe McNally says:

on February 22, 2012 at 11:26 pm

that is, actually the original numbering system we submit to Geographic with. They give us a story number and we incorporate and follow their format on those stories…joe

Chris B says:

on February 23, 2012 at 1:27 am

I wish I would have seen you. Woulda loved to shake your hand. Wppi was pretty good this year.

Kyle Jerichow says:

on February 23, 2012 at 3:56 am

Its funny, in that photo I can see the room where Kamila and I stayed in the MGM last month. That green light was something to fall asleep with, I tell ya.

Hope all is well, and travel safe.


Michael Kormos says:

on February 23, 2012 at 11:04 am

Great shot. I’ve stayed at the MGM a few times myself. After checking-in, it’s literally a half-hour hike to get to your room. The place is THAT huge. In fact, and I swear, the casino floor, despite all the signage is a maze. I’ll bet they designed it for people to get lost in!

Cathie Archbould says:

on February 23, 2012 at 11:17 am

1/80 th of a second-HOW? Please tell me, I am always up around 1/800th when I’m shooting aerials to make sure I don’t land with blurred images!

Jimmy Dozer says:

on February 23, 2012 at 12:26 pm

Joe- I introduced myself to you as you were waiting for your ride. And I am happy that you’re as kind and humble as I had hoped. Thank you for not calling security on me and for sharing your brain with the rest of us common folk.

Zach Thomas says:

on February 23, 2012 at 9:36 pm

I have similar shots of the NYC skyline shot wide open at F2.8 with the 14-24…i’ll post em on my blog site later when I do a post titled “The empire state of mind” ….i love all your work, your humility , have all the books, began reading sketching light ..good luck!..God bless.

Donfer says:

on February 23, 2012 at 11:06 pm

Beautiful photos, thank ! Joe

Las B. says:

on March 3, 2012 at 4:55 pm

My favorite times are when it’s raining or overcast here at night, and the clouds are hanging low. The whole sky glows an ominous green and further up red from other casinos. The Luxor light looks just like a kid pointing a flashlight and is no match for the MGM green glow. The glow stretches almost to my house 20 min away.

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