#TravelTuesday with My Public Lands
#TravelTuesday with Guest Photographer Bob Wick to Las Vegas, Nevada – Get Away from the Strip for an Amazing Trip!
If you are visiting Las Vegas and want to add some beautiful natural landscapes and amazing archaeological sites to your trip, try any or all of these public land gems which can all be reached as day trips from the strip.
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is less than 30 minutes from the strip and a world apart. The multi-hued red ramparts tower majestically thousands of feet above the valley floor. A 13-mile scenic drive offers easy access to spectacular photo points. The area also includes miles of hiking trails, rock climbing, horseback riding, mountain biking, road biking, picnic areas, nature observing and a wonderful visitor center with indoor and outdoor exhibits as well as a book store.
Photo tip: The cliffs at Red Rock face east and catch the best light in the morning hours.
Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area is just a bit further from town and can be reached within an hour. However, unlike the paved roads within Red Rock, a high clearance vehicle is needed to access this area. The centerpiece of the area is the Sloan Canyon Petroglyph Site, one of the most significant cultural resources in Southern Nevada. Archeologists have documented more than 300 rock art panels with 1,700 individual design elements within a relatively compact area. Standing among these panels is a truly moving experience.
Photo tip: Petroglyphs can be hard to photograph in bright sunlight. Use a polarizing filter to increase contrast and try to capture images on cloudy days or when the rock art panels are in the shade/shadows.
About two hours from Las Vegas in a very remote lightly populated area is the Basin and Range National Monument. It is truly an iconic American landscape. The vast, rugged landscape redefines one’s notions of distance and space and offers great landscape photography opportunities among its vast valleys surrounded by rugged mountains. The Monument preserves the legacies of 13,000 years of culture and the White River Narrows and Mount Irish Archaeological Districts which include large concentrations of prehistoric rock art. During the late 19th century, Basque and other ranchers brought sheep and cattle into the valleys and ranching remains an important part of the local culture to this day. This is a very remote area with no visitor facilities and limited cell phone coverage, so come prepared.
Photo tip: Learn to use a digital editing program. There are many on the market that will work perfectly well for most basic photo adjustments. Great photographers like Ansel Adams spent much more time in the darkroom than they did in the field. Now we have the advantage of doing the same types of adjustments digitally. Adjusting contrast, light balance and other basic fine-tuning will make your images pop – the key is to be subtle and not overdo it. I always shoot “RAW” images and do the all image adjustments myself. Most people who think adjustments are “cheating” don’t realize that if they don’t shoot RAW files, their camera is doing many adjustments automatically and they are giving up personal artistic control.