Best Vegas skyline photos: from garages, roofs and bars.
Photographing the dynamic scene that is the Las Vegas Strip, with 3 miles of garish LED and neon signs begging you to come visit mega hotel-casinos is not easy.
It's not like you can stand on Las Vegas Blvd. from the ground and capture it all. You'll only see a portion of it.
Nor can you fly your drone up and down the Strip instead. That's illegal, as you're so close to the airport.
Another option, and believe me I've tried it: going to opposite ends of town and standing in the desert won't help either. There are too many distractions, and you won't get a good view.
My solution, as I found in putting together my latest Photowalks TV episode (S2: E3) are parking garages. More specifically, their roofs.
That's the free and easy version.
You can also get a killer view by visiting certain bars.
But first, let's explore the free option, starting with my favorite.
The former Hard Rock Hotel (4455 Paradise Rd,) is a few blocks away from the Strip and provides the best panoramic view, from Mandalay Bay to the south all the way up to the Encore Hotel. Just drive up to the fourth story of the garage, look out towards the Strip and shoot away.
Be mindful that you've got an apartment complex directly below, so you'll want to hold your camera up high to compensate.
South of Caesars Palace, the Rio (3700 W Flamingo Rd,) is too far to walk to. It has a parking garage that looks out at Caesars, the Linq, Harrah's, Venetian and Mirage, but let me save you some time. Don't bother.
Railroad tracks and industrial warehouses are in the way, ruining your shot.
This (3600 S Las Vegas Blvd,) is one of the larger hotels in Vegas, with a killer water fountain show that's a must for every tourist and photographer to gawk at. But the garage itself is low down, like two or three stories off the ground.
What you'll get here: a great view of the Eiffel Tower recreation at the Paris Hotel, and a look-see of Bally's and the Linq High Roller.
The newest hotel in downtown is a throwback to another time, with loads of neon welcoming you to come visit. Circa (8 Fremont Street) calls its parking facility the "Garage Mahal" because it's brightly lit and has art installations. What it doesn't have is a garage roof that's accessible to visitors. Valet only. So nix on that.
The Paris Hotel (3655 S Las Vegas Blvd,) will let you ride up the elevator to the top and look down, but it's through a cage. If your lens can fit through their, great.
The Linq High Roller (3545 S Las Vegas Blvd) also has a great view from the attraction, but now you're shooting through dirty, reflective windows.
The Strat roof (2000 Las Vegas Blvd S) is open air, and terrific. I have nothing negative to report at all about it.
But my favorite spot in town, hands down, is the Waldorf-Astoria Sky Bar, (3752 Las Vegas Boulevard South) up on the 23rd floor. Admission is free, although you're expected to order a drink or two. With this view, why not?
Wait staff had no trouble with me setting up a tripod for a timelapse video. And I got great stills of the Strip from up there as well.
What's your favorite spot for Vegas shots? I'd love to hear from you on Twitter, where I'm @jeffersongraham
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