We love Vegas! So, if you are looking for a review you just got your spoiler right there. My fiance and I have been to Vegas twice together. The images I have here are from the second visit, but any information I will give you will be combined from both experiences.
So many people have told us that a week is far too long to stay in Vegas at one time. I think a lot of that depends on why you are there. We are not really much for gambling but we found plenty to do each time we were there. I will take an opportunity to share some of our favorite spots. There is SO MUCH to do in Vegas that doesn't include gambling.
We had such a great experience at the Golden Nugget the first time, and so, we decided to stay there again. Since we were already Landry's Select Club members there is a discount at the hotel for your stay. That is also a head's up that there are a lot of their great restaurants as well that you will have to enjoy.
We stayed in the RUSH Tower the last time we were there. The room was super comfortable. We were on the Fremont Street side which means that the party was going on late outside on the street, but that has never been an issue for us. If it would have been uncomfortable, the complimentary earplugs would have helped. I will say that if you are wanting to see onto Fremont at night you really can't do that because of all of the street side refacing, and the light show rooftop. This pretty much encloses Fremont Street from all that is around it. You will hear the party but you won't see the party.
I am going to have to say that this argument seems to show up on every Vegas discussion board on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, or anywhere else that Vegas is a topic. The truth is, it really depends on your interest. You are going to see from me a pretty large lean into the Fremont camp simply because the non-stop carnival and live entertainment are what we prefer. Since you know that, you will see a lot of this blog will be based on Fremont. I will, however, not exclude activities on The Strip that we have been a part of. The thing is, we prefer to stay and play on Fremont but we Uber or drive to The Strip on occasion for special events and side trips.
>>Check out the Vegas Collection by Dirk D Myers Photography Here <<
If the idea of a non-stop carnival of people from all walks of life getting together for a drink and a show sounds like a good time to you then Fremont Street is perfect for you! A five-block stretch of Fremont Street was closed in 1994 to create what is now known as The Fremont Street Experience and has become one of the largest parties every day and night in Las Vegas.
There is a stage on almost every block featuring great Bands, and DJs that are not only local but many internationally known artists perform on Fremont Street. The area is called "Glitter Gulch" for a reason, and it sure lives up to that name well. You will run into thousands of people nightly openly carrying a beer or cocktail obtained by one of the many bars along either side of the street.
There are some things I wouldn't miss if I were you. I found that both times I was there, these spots have an atmosphere and experience that are unlike the rest.
Banger Brewing - Dirk D Myers Photography Is Craft Beer your thing? Even if you are a bit of a beer snob Banger Brewing was one of our favorite spots on Fremont. Try the Jalapeno Heffe. It is crisp, and delicious with a bit of a hint of the pepper. I can't promise you won't get a little addicted to the taste, and you will likely crave nachos or tacos. We really were glad we found this place early on the first time we visited because they were able to give us amazing recommendations of other things to check out while in the area. They have a great Happy Hour a few times in the day as well as great community events. It's well worth your time.
One of their recommendations is a spot we are so glad we found. Believe me, if we were just walking by the spot we would have probably missed it. Carson Kitchen is a restaurant, unlike anything we have ever really experienced. You walk in off the street and are immersed into a bit of a Contemporary Urban atmosphere with dishes that you really won't find anywhere else. Unless you have food allergies you are not going to want to tweak their original flavors. They need to be experienced just the way they are created. This place is fun and quite unique. You need to do this - Trust me.
Container Park in the Heart of Las Vegas - Dirk D Myers PhotographyMantis at Container Park Another area I recommend is Container Park. In the heart of Las Vegas, at one end of the Fremont Street Experience, you will see a glowing Mantis. Step closer and witness a whole retail and dining experience that won't remind you of anything you have ever been to. This is something you can bring your kids to and there is plenty for them to do. The use of Containers around the park is something you need to witness, it's pretty amazing. Live Entertainment, Great Food, and Fun for Everyone await you when you visit the park. Check their website for specials for locals and guests new to the area.
Some other things you should check out are the Mob Museum (Yes, it's exactly what it sounds like), and Hogs and Heifers Saloon. They are both in close proximity to one another and so you could package the experiences. One will give you a great introduction to the Mob influence that helped to add to the story of Las Vegas while the other is a great place to kick back with drinks and great food. Stay alert, the barmaids will likely start harassing you (in a great way) from the moment you arrive. Both places are a great time for entirely different reasons.
Fremont Street has so much to offer, and these are some special spots we found that I felt needed to be shared.
The Las Vegas Strip is widely known for its large concentration of Resort Hotels surrounded by Restaurants and Attractions that would be hard to visit in a lifetime. Whether it is the palatial grandeur of Caesars Palace or the unique architecture of The Luxor there is something for every taste and imagination on The Strip.
For a photographer, everywhere you point your camera is a potential masterpiece. Bring lots of batteries, because you are going to burn through them.
To add to all of the amazing things there are to do on the Strip, entertainment of all kinds is showcased in so many live venues. The cool thing about Vegas is there is something for everyone to fill your eyes and senses. I will have to say that our favorite performances came from Michael Buble at the T Mobile Arena. However, we have seen some great shows including Blue Man Group, Zumanity, Ray Romano, and David Spade. Like the rest of Vegas, it seems there will be more shows than anyone has days to see them.
Las Vegas is an amazing place with something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you are a photographer or simply on vacation, you'll have plenty to keep you entertained. They call the area "Sin City" but it really is what you make of it.
Please feel free to share some of your favorite stories and favorite places from your Vegas visit in the comments wherever you see this article. I look forward to hearing from you.
Thanks for taking the time to check this out, and hopefully you have had the opportunity to check out my Vegas Photo Collection as well. If you have enjoyed this please feel free to pass it along for others to see. I would certainly appreciate it!
Until now, all of my posts have been based on destinations. I have done a lot of event gigs, and actually, that is part of the story of how I met this band the first time. Paralandra was playing a club I was doing some marketing and photography for, and they struck a chord with me. There was something about their talent that caught my attention. It made me want to find out more. They released their first full-length album last week called "Street Magic". It just seemed like the perfect time to do something new with my posts. I like to think I am more than a one-trick pony.
There are some genres of music that have stood the test of time. I love crooners and there is something about the music of Sinatra and Martin that transcends generations. Since I never had the opportunity to see them live, when I had the opportunity to see Michael Buble I jumped at the chance. He makes the music of Frank and Dean seem fresh again and his originals give us a new taste of the old style.
I see Paralandra much the same way. This band has the chops to cover Heart or Rush so well, but their original music pierces the barrier of time in a hard-driving fashion that lets you know Rock music is alive and well. In a generation of music that is really void of a ton of creativity and originality, Paralandra pounds home a beat that makes you want to shine your lights in the air craving more!
Parents make sacrifices for their kids, and many times those sacrifices are well worth it. Paul Carson chose to be a father and develop his career in a way that didn't have him on the traditional rocker's path. As time passed, he realized exactly how special that would become, because now he stands alongside his daughter, Casandra, with the band Paralandra. Rounding out this powerful display of hair and heavy metal flair is Sawyer Rikard on bass and Dakota Watson on drums.
Grinding it out and perfecting their art in local gigs worked into larger crowds further away from home. They have worked with amazing bands like Yngwie Malmsteen, Tantric, Saliva, Alter Bridge, Disturbed, and Breaking Benjamin. They have played festivals like Rocklahoma, DirtFest, Rock Fest, the NAMM Show, SXSW, and the Kiss Kruise.
I have had the opportunity to shoot photos and videos of them in the past. They are such an exciting band to work with. I will include a link to one of my favorite videos. I like this one because they were working some of their newer stuff into their sets. You can hear some songs on their new album.
A Video of Paralandra in Branson, Missouri
Their new album, "Street Magic" dropped on October 22nd, and they celebrated in strong fashion at The Riff in Springfield, Missouri. Getting things fired up, Etched in Embers and The Many Colored Death opened the evening.
Paralandra said that they loved playing The Riff for the party because they started right there, so it seemed fitting to have this special night there. They played EVERY song on their new album, and it was so cool to hear all of the amazing cuts live.
Street Magic is available wherever you stream music. You can also order a CD by clicking here! The same day they released the album they let a new video fly as well. To conclude I will leave you with the link to that video, "For the Record", for you to enjoy. If you are looking for new music, and you love original tracks, you want to fill your ears with this band!
Check out the Video from Paralandra - For The Record
Please feel free to leave comments and questions below. Do you have a favorite song? Leave a comment. I am looking forward to hearing what you think.
We had been home long enough. I haven't been on the coast in far too long, and a vacation was long overdue. I hadn't been to Myrtle Beach or any beach where the sun rose over the water. Every other beach I have put my feet on has been on the West Coast. We booked the vacation and spent the weeks prior to taking off researching what we would like to see and do while we were there. I don't know about you, but one of our favorite things is seeing what we have to look forward to. We like to call it "Vacation Foreplay".
I also got a new camera to add to my arsenal. I purchased a Nikon Z6, and I was very excited to use this opportunity to break it in. The purchase also qualified me to join Nikon's Professional Services group. Since I love Nikon's cameras, I'm glad to have that additional designation.
We were excited about how close the airport was to the beach. We also found that since there was a gas shortage up the entire east coast, finding transportation that week would be a challenge. Uber was more difficult to get and expensive to obtain compared to usual rates. Lyft was impossible to book rides through.
The only other challenge we ran into was the hotel we stayed at. The Windsurfer hotel was a great location. However, their COVID policies came with a lack of actual cleaning of the room throughout the week. They would put towels at our door, but they refused to clean each day. The cost remained the same, which we found very frustrating. While we will go back to Myrtle, we wouldn't likely ever recommend the Windsurfer to anyone or ever stay there again.
As I mentioned earlier, this was the first time I had vacationed on a beach where the sunrise happens over the water. I am a bit of a night owl so adjusting my schedule happened. I am so glad I did. It was an amazing sight to see.
See My Myrtle Beach Collection Here
The beach was beautiful! The Boardwalk on the Beach is a great way to get along the beach on foot. If you are wanting to see the essential beachfront this is an excellent way to do it.
We did find that we wanted water shoes of some kind to walk on the beach proper. The reason why is because there are a lot of shells along the beach. If you collect shells, you can join the large number of folks that go out early in the morning to hunt for shells.
Along with the amazing scenic beachfront, there are piers that you can stroll and enjoy. Two spots we totally enjoyed on their piers were Pier 14 and Wicked Tuna. Both are excellent spots to eat; you really need to check them out. Pier 14 was the first location we ate at and really enjoyed the food. I also realized that Yuengling is flowing there and throughout much of The Grand Strand. My opinion is that delicious beer from America's oldest brewery should be everywhere. Wicked Tuna is a more Fine Dining concept that serves a delicious house-crafted menu filled with amazing cocktails, tapas, and entrees. The seafood was delicious everywhere I was dining! It's so nice to be somewhere that the fish is fresh!
The Myrtle Beach Pelicans field is a must-see. Whether you are an avid baseball fan or simply enjoy the occasional game you will find this a really good time. I am a Cubs fan, so finding that they are a Minor League Cubs affiliate was a great touch. I was able to get a couple of great seats behind the dugout to set my cameras in front of me and get some great shots while watching an awesome game.
We went to Broadway on the Beach, a great mall that is located in the open near the ballpark. Until I researched it I thought it might be a theater district. It wasn't. It was a good time nonetheless. There was a great restaurant there called Melt; it was a perfect place to get hot sandwiches and a cold beer. On our only chilly day, it was just what we needed.
Another great spot to stop and eat is The Bowery. We ate lunch there one of the first days. When we found out that they had live music, we knew we would be back on one of the weekend evenings we were in town.
The Bowery is also the bar in which the Country Supergroup Alabama started. They played there for tips in the beginning stage of their band's development. I had my camera out at lunch and talked to a guy, named Mike, that I didn't know was the manager. He was super cool. When we showed up on the weekend I had a camera bag on my back. When the security guy was about to turn me away (which is completely understandable) Mike showed up and recognized me. They let me in with my bag. I got the opportunity to take some pictures of their house band "The Bounty Hunters". It was a great night, and he purchased some of my edited shots. If you want a great time, The Bowery is a place you need to visit in Myrtle Beach!
One other great spot we visited was the Myrtle Beach Aquarium. It was an amazing spot to spend a chilly afternoon. Strangely, there was that one day that was unseasonably cool, so this gave us something to do inside. There is a lot of indigenous fish and the Sting Rays and Sharks were pretty cool. The exhibits were all so beautiful and well-kept. The whole family would enjoy the visit.
The unique part of the week that we were there is it was also one of many Bike Weeks hosted by Myrtle Beach. Riders from all over came to Myrtle Beach and with that came a whole lot of cool motorcycles. In addition to their daily activities, they also did night cruises. I was able to get some great shots of some amazing machines.
There was something to do for everyone at Myrtle Beach! It has a really cool old town vibe with new aspects that adds a twist to the scene. It is also a great place for photographers because there is so much variety in the area. There are a lot of spots we didn't get to that we would like to visit the next time.
As far as the new Nikon Z6? I love it! It's going to be a nice everyday addition to work alongside the D5600 in projects. I am looking forward to playing with the 4K video capability in the near future. I haven't run into any real limitations yet. I will keep you posted.
As always, if you like something you see or have any questions please contact me. My prints are for sale via digital download as well as prints.
With Covid being an issue right now, traveling is affected. That was the case on our last trip together. Kat, my fiance, spent some time out west with her family in California. I flew out and we hit the road together to take in some nature while on the way back to Missouri. Since there was so much that wasn't open inside, we decided to work in a primarily outdoor trip on our vacation this time. We planned to work in three National Parks in 4 days. With Yosemite, Death Valley, and The Grand Canyon fairly close to each other, we figured we could do that with enough time to take in the beauty of each park We knew there would be some limitations because of the pandemic but we came with the mindset that we would enjoy what we could without being totally bummed out over the the things we couldn't. We weren't wrong, but it wasn't as restrictive as we imagined.
The other issue we encountered was the fires that were burning throughout California. There was evidence of the residue in the air, but it didn't make Yosemite any less beautiful. This was something that really concerned us. We considered canceling the trip. I am really glad we didn't. It was truly incredible.
We decided to spend a couple of days in Yosemite. We also realized that with COVID we would have to reserve a spot early and that was part of what made us think about canceling. If we booked weeks out, we didn't know how the fires or the pandemic would alter things. All I can say is that we were there at a very good time. The weather was nice and there wasn't a lot of haze in the air. It was magnificent.
We booked a room at the Yosemite Valley Lodge. Knowing how big the park is, we knew we would never see it all in one day. Even with a day and a half we really only were able to touch on the most popular spots.
There were some restrictions as far as the park was concerned. Like I said, we had to reserve a spot since reservations were limited. The park was still very busy even with those restrictions. By and large, they figured out ways to distance and made the process as comfortable as possible.
We were told the best time to be in Yosemite is around the Spring. The run off from the snow creates some amazing waterfalls. However, there was very little we missed out on going in the fall. The water may not have run as strongly, but it was still so amazing to see.
I will have to say I am totally amazed by Yosemite. The majestic mountain formations were unlike anything I have ever seen before. Looking out at Half Dome from any angle is a completely different experience. Every spot reeveals how immense the expanse around it really is. Then looking up from the base of El Capitan, I am amazed at how tall these formations really are. I have seen a lot of mountain ranges and formations, every spot has its beauty, but there is something very special about Yosemote.
I can tell you that Yosemite is a photographer's dream and how amazing this location really is, but unless you experience this for yourself, my descriptions fall short. There are people that will tell you that their wilderness is the most beautiful, but I will tell you that you can truly never appreciate how wonderful this country really is unless you go out and see it.
There are a lot of people that want to lock you down right now, but the truth is, the best thing you can do for yourself is to get outside and experience nature. There is no better time to pick up a camera, or even your phone.
Go out there and get into the amazing world that is around you.
We have so many places that we want to visit in the United States in our lifetime. Knowing that there will probably not be enough time to get to everything, something has to be quite special for us to return. Avila is one of those locations. My fiance introduced me to it and I am sure we will be back many times. It really is amazing.
This old beach town was affected by oil contamination several years back. The beach was completely dug out and replaced and the town was renovated. This created a town that looks like it is relatively new even though it has been around since the middle 1900s. While it has an existing fishing community, most of the revenue for the area comes from tourism. For a photographer, it is an amazing spot to shoot photos. One of my favorite things about West Coast beaches is the sunsets they feature.
Read About The History of Avila
When we're in Avila, we stay at The Inn on Avila Beach. They are located right on the beach and the rooms overlooking the water are fantastic! The sliding glass doors open right to the water and the sounds of waves are often the sound we go to sleep and wake up to every day. The amenities are great! They know how to take care of you. Their complimentary bikes get you around the area, and they have plenty of beach swag when you want to get out on the sand. You can also start each day with breakfast provided by Joe Mamma's Coffee on the rooftop. They also provide a happy hour that is second to none at any hotel or resort in the area. At the end of each evening, they serve delicious desserts in their downstairs community room. They truly understand hospitality.
In addition to the amazing shopping, Avila has become a prime location for sampling shops of delicious area wineries. We try to stop at Peleton and Alapay Cellars each visit. They are both perfect spots to sit back, sip a glass or two, and relax.
The shops are also awesome! There are lots of places to find souvenirs, but also most beach gear is available if you forgot your trunks or flip flops. I know, because I forgot my flips one time and I found the most comfortable pair in a shop that I still wear to this day.
The restaurants in the area are very nice as well. I like seafood, but my girl prefers land-dwelling fare. We have found so many places that we love. My girl's favorite spots is probably Brad's, in nearby Pismo. They have incredible ribs! For me, if I am looking for something casual, you have to have the Clam Chowder at Splash. If you want a beautiful spot to take in something closer to Fine Dining, I would recommend Custom House. There is something for everyone to eat in Avila, and it's wonderful!
There are so many things to do in Avila, and everything is a photo op. I am totally not kidding! There are several piers for you to walk along. Along with the pier at Avila Beach, San Luis Obispo Port and Pismo Beach are right there for you to take advantage of.
The Central Coast Aquarium is amazing and you should check it out. See and touch the creatures that are indigenous to the area. If you have looked over any of my collections you know I find myself drawn to birds. My fiance teases me about it all the time. I like to catch things in motion. That is happening all around you in Avila.
If you are looking for a beach community on the West Coast to vacation in, then I would certainly recommend Avila Beach. I know we will be back, probably a few times. Please feel free to get in touch with me if you have any questions about the area. We love talking about our favorite spots on the planet. I look forward to hearing from you. Please check out my Avila Collection as well. That group of images is likely to grow as well. There are many beautiful images to choose from, and I would appreciate your support.