i didn't sign up for this

a day spent in vegas

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i spent a week in vegas at a photoshop conference. again. wish they'd go to a different west coast location, like they used to do, but i think this was at least the fifth time i'd been to the conference in vegas. for the average person, that'd be great. here's the thing: i'm shy, i don't drink, smoke or gamble. my better half was unable to join me again.

so i bumble through the week, attending classes, and spending way too much money on overpriced turkey sandwiches, or all you can eat buffets, when all i really wanted was a salad and a chocolate mousse.

anyway, the point of this page, is to show some of the images i got from the first day pre-con i signed up for. it had been advertised as a day of fun and excitement shooting airplanes and/or jets, etc. instead, when we all show up (about fifty people only), we're told that due to some big wig's retirement party at nellis, we got stuck with "plan q," substituting one type of metallic speeding craft for another, we were going to a racetrack, where they rent laps in exotic cars to those people that can afford it. we all know how i feel about these type of cars, so, because i'm sending a link to this page to the instructor, i'll refrain from my usual rant about them.

before boarding the bus to the track, he spent an hour or so, answering questions about photography, talking about how he shoots, etc. then he threw out the question on what kind of camera gear people had gotten over the summer. 

now this conference is mostly going to be full of nikon and canon people, and i expect that. i also embrace what some instructors try to teach: use the equipment that you have, and shoot the best you can with it.

of course, when i raise my hand and say, "i bought a sony a77," the instructor made the usual answer, in the vein of, "a what?" to be expected from a nikon shooter. anyway, he said he probably wouldn't be able to help me with anything, but that he would try. that's ok. i'll learn from my mistakes. he could tell me about shutter speeds and aperture settings, seeing things, etc. those are all basic things.

so, my problem became getting excited about shooting cars, since i do it all the time. true, they aren't moving, and definitely not as fast as these puppies, which could have gone a whole lot faster with more experienced drivers. 

so, these shots are definitely not my best. and i'm still learning the camera; it's an upgraded version of my a700s and the buttons are different. and i'm shooting moving things, which i haven't done since my son stopped playing baseball over a year ago now. and i'm using my better half's beer can minolta lens, which i'm not used to, but he said would be faster and sharper for what i'd been expecting to shoot.

and my disclaimer for why i shoot sony: i married a guy with a drawer of minolta lenses, which just happen to work with the sony alpha system cameras. i used a secret handshake lens until i basically broke something in it, which makes it less reliable. fortunately, sony has a new copy of it available, so i'm using that for macro shooting. i basically have absconded with his 11-18 wide angle for hdr shots, but just as well, since it doesn't work on his a99 or a850.

he would also add the more technical blather about how nikon and/or canon use sony sensors, so the shooters should just button their lips, but i can never remember all the details for that argument.

as i was saying, here are some of the shots i took, using three different lenses, farting around with shutter speeds and aperature settings, and making mistakes. i guess i got it wrong, as the wheels and backgrounds should be blurred as i track the car whizzing past, but nope, they're sharp, and look like they're not moving.

don't claim to be a technical photographer, but i like what i do. i suppose i was part of what he called the "stupid" people who don't ask questions. no, i listen to what other people ask, and i mess with the settings and make my mistakes. eventually, i'll ask for help—just ask my better half—but to begin, i'll just fuck with it until it works.

following the day at the track, we were briefly let out at the freemont street experience. it was before the sun had set, so not much neon happening in those shots. hadn't been to that part of town, in probably forever, if ever, and was not much impressed. i think i'm starting to sound pissy, so i'll just shut up and post some pictures already. there's a bunch, so if you want to see more, go to my flickr page, and you can view the whole set.

apologizing for the giant watermarks. maybe i'll take them off sometime...

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