Dale Chihuly is Awesome… I think he’s my kinda guy!

Facebook Wall Chat on Monday, Dec 21, at 1:00 pm PST

Come join me for a fun chat on Monday! To join,
1) come become a fan of Peachpit on Facebook.
2) post a Question on that page as a comment until the end of the chat.

A few random fans will win a free copy of the book! So come on in…

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Daily Photo – Chihuly is Awesome

I’ve always admired the artist Dale Chihuly. He makes the most outrageous and colorful art in the world. I’d love to learn to blow glass. I saw a great documentary on him in high def about a show he did in Venice… they made all sorts of beautiful things and hung them over the canals. I wish I was there to photograph it! Personally, I think the best way to properly capture the light in these images is with HDR techniques. Other methods of shooting these awesome pieces always come up a bit short, at least, to me.

I shot this a few weeks ago at his new gallery in Las Vegas right in the middle of City Center, which you can see in the background. This is just one shot of many, and I have a lot more jewels from Chihuly to come!

Chihuly is awesome

Your Home At Christmas

Austin Party in a few days!

Soon to be followed by Chicago and New York, I look forward to meeting you at the Austin Launch Party! The Austin one will be extra-great because there is a combined Photowalk where you can win $500 for the best photo of the Driskill at Christmas!

Remember, you don’t have to buy a book or anything… I look forward to meeting and talking whether or not you buy one… no problemo! It’s a typical low-key Austin artsy event… comon down!

Pre-orders for special packages end in a day – time is running out!

We are taking the special HDR Book preorders here on the site until Dec 6th at midnight. If you want the autographed copy or the one with the limited edition print, that is the only way. We will have to cut off special orders after that so that I can get everything signed and re-shipped out! Now, of course, you can still pre-order from Peachpit, Amazon, Borders, and Barnes and Noble — these are all other options for you if you simply want the book.

Your Home At Christmas? It could be!

The publisher was kind enough to send me an early copy that rolled off the printing press. Everything is gearing up! I know you guys wanted me to peel open the book and show you more of the fabulous insides, but you’ll just have to wait!

An HDR Book Sighting In the Wild...

Yours truly, freezing in the desert

On Thursday morning, I woke up at 3:45 AM to go catch the sunrise in the high Nevada desert. One of my friends, Cameron Grant, picked me up at 4 AM to drive out into the wild part of Nevada, straight up a mountain, and into sub-freezing weather. We got out of the car, and I was almost instantly encased in carbonite!

While I was shooting and solidifying in 25 degree weather, Cameron was sneaky in the shadows behind me… he took this photo and then sent it to me, right before he is off to Luxor on an HDR adventure of his own. I wish him well!

Trey at Angle Peak.jpg-1

A Sea of Glass – The Chihuly Exhibit at the Bellagio in Vegas

I’ve always thought the Dale Chihuly glass sculptures are some of the coolest things in the world. I’d love to learn how to blow glass. It always looks dangerous and exotic. I remember when I got my HDTV a few years ago, one of the first shows I saw was when Chihuly was doing this exhibit in Venice. He spent some time in Murano, which is near Venice and a famous place for glass blowing. They made these amazing sculptures then hung them all over Venice. I wish I could have gone there to take photographs of the event!

In other news, I was interviewed yesterday by an extremely nice guy named Victor Cajiao who hosts a podcast called “Typical Shutterbug“. Click there and you can hear my interview. We talk a little about the upcoming book, HDR, do’s and don’t, and this sort of thing. If you enjoyed the show, leave him a comment there — I’m sure he’d appreciate it!

A Sea of Glass - The Chihuly Exhibit at the Ballagio in Vegas

The Floating Umbrellas at the Shoppes at the Palazzo, and the Mac King Show

It was a busy day in Vegas (is any day here not?). We went all over creation… thank you for all the suggestions here on the blog and in Twitter!

The first shot below is from the recent expansion from the Venetian shopping area. It’s really beautiful inside and these designers should be given some kind of award! The best I can do here is try to honor their design with good photo of the place. It’s actually quite a difficult venue to capture! I have it from a few angles. There are many other beautiful ones, including one from down below looking up. I’ll be sure to include that at some point in the future!

After this, my friend Andrew Mayne (of WeirdThings.com) recommended that we go to see the Mac King Comedy Magic Show. It was a great recommendation! I have pretty high standards (without being a snob), and this guy was just amazing. Ethan even got pulled up on stage to do all kinds of stuff… he was in heaven. After the finale, we went to meet him and I snapped this photo of Mac and Ethan. Anyway, I also recommend the show. It’s totally hilarious, family-friendly, and the magic is original and amazing.

Umbrellas at the Shoppes at the Palazzo (by Stuck in Customs)

Ethan and Mac King -sm (by Stuck in Customs)

The hallway to the bar after a bad night in Vegas

There is an amazing hallway that connects the The Hotel at Mandalay Bay with the rest of the casino. It’s long and at its end is a cool bar, which is a welcome respite no matter what kind of night you had in Vegas. Actually, I wouldn’t really know since I don’t drink… but, I do like to hang out in them, drink tomato juice, and process photos on my latptop. Yes, this is lame, I know.

I’ll be going to Vegas again in two weekends. I’ve got a list of places I want to visit with the camera… any suggestions?

The hallway to the bar after a bad night in Vegas

Arriving Home in Vegas

Vegas is filled with all these cool secret spots. I suppose this one isn’t all that secret, but I had never heard of it! This is the entrance to the Skylofts At MGM Grand Las Vegas. And this is just the elevator bank! I got a nice little private tour of some of the suites and they were quite amazing. I have those pics sitting in waiting, still unpublished. At first, I was thinking these were the kinds of places that were saved for the uber-elite whales of Vegas, but the prices aren’t that different than a nice Four Seasons.

I’ve been working on editing a new video of how I took an HDR photo in Yellowstone. I’ll give a first look to everyone that is on the Newsletter list. We’ll try to get that thing out this weekend or so! Now, I can tell you that as I edit this thing… it’s very shaky! What can I say… I just used one of those little Flip Video jobs. So, obviously, I’m trying to undersell the thing…. but maybe y’all can get some good information about how I took one of the Yellowstone shots.

Arriving Home in Vegas

The Inflammable Flammable Restaurant – The FiAMMA Trattoria and Bar

I think this restaurant is amazingly cool. Wood always gives a nice warm feeling to a place, and this place could not have possibly have had more wood inside! I’d love to meet the interior designers of these places… I bet they are real characters. This place is the FiAMMA Trattoria and Bar inside the MGM Grand Hotel in Vegas.

I’ll be back in Vegas in a few weeks and I’m looking forward to it. I’ve got a lot of unpublished photos from there and there are about to be a bunch more! It’s a shooter’s heaven there… and a nice distraction from the gaming tables!

The Inflammable Flammable Restaurant (by Stuck in Customs)

The Secret Underwater Tunnel

This was shot under the Mandalay Bay hotel in Las Vegas where they have this lavish aquarium. It’s really gorgeous and dreamy under there, as you can tell. This area has all kinds of sharks and other wild-lookin’ things that were swimming all around me.

I was fortunate enough to take a private tour of the place thanks to the nice people at the MGM/Mirage management company, who also owns the Mandalay Bay. That allowed me to take the time I needed to set up this 5-exposure HDR shot without tourists getting in the way.

One time I did find a nurse shark in the Caribbean. It was a baby. I followed it for a while until it occurred to me that it might be swimming back to its mom. That sudden realization made me turn around pretty quick.

All of this underwater stuff reminds me of watching those Discovery channel shows about strange ocean creatures. I swear I could watch those things all day. I can’t get over how some of these things have evolved to fit their environment… just amazing. My favorite creatures are cephalopods … I never get tired of those documentaries!

The Secret Underwater Passage (by Stuck in Customs)

A Bit of Hibachi

This is a cool Japanese restaurant in the MGM Grand in Vegas called Shibuya. These hibachi tables can’t really be seen from the front, but they are worth a trip inside if you ever get the chance. As far as I know, approximately 100% of the population likes to see their food cooked in front of them with death-defying knife moves.

And that onion volcano trick is always a winner. The egg shell on the hat never gets old. Flipping the last bit of fried rice at the least suspecting person is another classic.

A Bit a Hibatchi

Strange Things Grow in Vegas

How about this place?

This was shot at a really slick bar called Club Mix at the top of THE Hotel in Las Vegas. A lot of people ask how I end up getting shots when no one is around… Sometimes it is a camera trick, and sometimes I am lucky enough to get into places when no one is around. In this case, the people from MGM/Mirage, who own many of the most beautiful hotels-casinos in Vegas knew I was coming to Vegas and they gave me carte blanche to move around freely. I wore those poor people out because I didn’t get tired… I was like Homer in that episode where he went to hell and was forced to eat donuts nonstop. He kept saying “more” until the devil got frustrated.

Anyway, a big thanks to David and his crew there at MGM/Mirage. I have a ton more shots coming in the future… so, as with other threads, stay tuned!

Last, I have updated my “Things That I have Found That Inspire Me” page. That page may take a while to load… my apologies… but once it is done, I hope you see a few cool things as well.

Strange things grow in Vegas (by Stuck in Customs)

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