A rather irregular photo blog sharing six images from the archives at www.timbirdphotography.com and other adventures.

One of the great things about self-employment in this line of work is that life is even more full of surprises than it might be otherwise. Las Vegas was one of those places I never thought I would visit, but a couple of weeks ago I was commissioned to attend a conference on something called Big Data and to write an article on the subject. Not my usual field, but I’m nothing if not versatile, so I jumped at the chance. I listened to Steely Dan’s Showbiz Kids and ZZ Top’s version of Viva Las Vegas to get myself in the mood and off I went.

Las Vegas is like concentrated USA, a money-making, money-spending machine in the middle of the desert in Nevada. I was a bit frustrated to be mostly confined to Las Vegas Boulevard, otherwise known as the Strip, lined with endless casinos, hotels like mini-Disneylands, restaurants selling unfeasibly large plates of food and Latinos in g-strings and nothing else gaily jogging over the crossways. I glimpsed the rugged mountains of the desert glowing at sunrise and sunset, backdrops for a thousand Westerns, but I couldn’t get out there. I also regret not having time to go and see Donny and Marie Osmond perform. Maybe I’ll go back one day and the chances are they’ll still be on the bill.

I probably wouldn’t hurry back to Vegas – I don’t know how to gamble for one thing, and that’s a fairly basic requisite. But it provided some entertaining shooting opportunities that distracted me from losing my wages. Here are a handful of shots from my short visit:

Neon signage at Harrah's. It's hard to work out where the casinos finish and the hotels and shopping malls begin. One thing is for sure - there is little point coming here unless you've got money to burn. Or you're just happy taking photos.

Neon signage at Harrah’s. It’s hard to work out where the casinos finish and the hotels and shopping malls begin. One thing is for sure – there is little point coming here unless you’ve got money to burn. Or you’re just happy taking photos.

The fountain show outside the Bellagio, a spectacle repeated every 15 minutes.

The fountain show outside the Bellagio, a spectacle repeated every 15 minutes.

A Fat Fairy (I gave him five bucks for this shot so he won't mind me calling him that) and his buddy, something out of Transformers, at a guess.

A Fat Fairy (I gave him five bucks for this shot so he won’t mind me calling him that) and his buddy, something out of Transformers, at a guess.

The restrained and tasteful reception area of Caesar's Palace.

The restrained and tasteful reception area of Caesar’s Palace.

The Strip consists of a string of re-created cities, from Venice complete with a Grand Canal and gondoliers to Paris with its Eiffel Tower and, pictured here, New York New York. Ridiculous.

The Strip consists of a string of re-created cities, from Venice complete with a Grand Canal and gondoliers to Paris with its Eiffel Tower and, pictured here, New York New York. Ridiculous.

The ceiling of the reception at the Bellagio Hotel/Resort/Casino features an extraordinary installation of 2,000 hand-blown glass flowers, the Fioro di Como by Dale Chihuly.

The ceiling of the reception at the Bellagio Hotel/Resort/Casino features an extraordinary installation of 2,000 hand-blown glass flowers, the Fioro di Como by Dale Chihuly.

Do take a look at previous Six Picks posts if you’ve enjoyed your visit, and keep an eye out for future posts. You’ll find more shots from Vegas on my web site – just click here.

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