Leaving Las Vegas
While the unofficial rule states that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, it certainly didn’t mean that we had to stay put. Having travelled to the Nevada hot spot on more than one occasion, this was the first time I had ever ventured beyond the city limits and oh, what landscapes to behold! The arid terrain gave all of us flashbacks to the old Star Trek episodes of our youth and I immediately thanked my husband and our friend Greg for allowing me to crash their male-bonding time. Technically I had been invited early on but had thought that I might take the time to lounge poolside and/or shop. Yet at the 11th hour, realizing that life is more about experiences than another pretty dress in my closet (although I do like those too!), I announced that I would indeed join them on their car rental adventure. Thus I found myself quietly viewing the open road from the back seat, taking drive-by iPhone photos and yelling STOP whenever I needed a real photo, to which my husband good-naturedly obliged. Initially when packing for the trip, I had apprehensively decided to pass over my fancy-schmancy Canon DSLR in favour of no camera at all and then quieted my misgivings in favour of my faithful old Asahi Pentax Spotmatic. Once the decision was made (and committed to publicly on Facebook) I de-chilled a few rolls of film from my fridge stockpile and happily packed it, along with just one (55mm) lens. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed shooting film on vacation – the last time being Burning Man 2007 – and I consciously found myself being far more thoughtful about each photo; really taking the time to visualize each shot and then only taking one or two, both from different angles, instead of spraying the usual 10 – 20 and deleting half of them later. I felt that I was really living the vacation moment, enjoying the sights and sounds all the way from Vegas to Pahrump to Death Valley and back again before deliberately snapping each image, knowing that when I got that film back there would be no editing in Lightroom or Photoshop and no cropping whatsoever. Sure, I could have done that if I wanted to since it’s all scanned and delivered on disc, but there is something so pure about film that it just isn’t necessary. I found myself really re-living not only it’s simple art form again but the relief that these shots did not need to be post-processed perfection. While I’m not about to give up the ease of my digital for client shoots, I think going old school might just be my signature vacation standard from now on.