The Great (Hybrid) American Road trip – Las Vegas

Editor’s note (I’ve always wanted to type that!): As a forewarning, I should tell you that this and the next post are likely to be text heavy and photo light with most of the few photos coming from, dare I tell you, my iPhone!!! The truth though is that I took very few (if any) pictures of Central Vegas or Photoshop World on my Nikon DSLR. However, I might just pop a few random images in to keep your interest. Don’t worry though, there’ll be a follow up post to this with many ‘pro’ photos of our jaunts out in to the Vegas desert. So, with that said……

The strange thing about Vegas, no sorry, scrap that, one of the MANY strange things about Vegas is that, if you take the route in that we did (that being from the South via I-160), the first glimpse you get of the city makes it look as though you are, to all intents and purposes, ‘there’, with but a short hop remaining before you are sat poolside, pina colada in one hand and camera in the other… or at the very least, just in a cold shower! After our day in Death Valley then, this was a very welcome view.

DSC_0144 blogOur first proper glimpse at the Mandalay Bay Hotel. Yes, that big gold building in the middle… how understated!

That was, though, until we realised that, despite this mirage like apparition, we still had about an hour’s drive before arriving at our hotel and with central Vegas traffic added in to the mix, it took at least an hour and a half before we were pulling up to the hotel car park.

IMG_8051 blog.jpgArriving in Vegas seemed the perfect opportunity for a Snapchat selfie!

First impressions then were exactly as imagined…. the place is mental! It was dusk by the time we arrived, but music was blaring in the streets, young children were maniacally dancing around their parents (way past their bedtimes, I would say!) and glitter dazzled your view from every angle. It was simply a cacophony and tumult of noise, people, lights and heat that appeared never-ending.

IMG_8056 blog.jpgOutside escalators! This might not seem weird to an American but this would be an impossibility in the UK weather!

Having showered and changed for our dinner date then, it was a pleasant change to walk in to the relevant calmness, and air-conditioned-ness, of the Maggiano’s restaurant, where the pre-conference instructor’s dinner was being held. Have been led through a series of corridors, we were shown in to a large room, full of people merrily eating, drinking and chatting.

On any other day, this could have simply been a large family get together to celebrate an occasion (and in some ways, it still was), but a closer look revealed Scott Kelby sat at a table on the far side of the room. As we made the short walk across to greet him, we were suddenly hit by the realisation of exactly where were and who was around us. Here we were, a couple of unknown English photographers from London, in a room with some of the world’s most amazingly talented creatives, who we considered legends of their profession. I’m desperately resisting the urge to name drop here but if you’re reading this, then you’re likely to know most, if not all, of the Photoshop World instructors anyway and so names are probably not necessary!

Having said a quick hello to Scott and letting him get on with his food, he pointed us in the direction of our table which I was ecstatic to see included our good friends from the UK, Glyn Dewis (an amazing photographer and trainer) and Dave Clayton (an uber talented graphic designer and Adobe influencer) as well as a few other faces I recognised, such as Jordan, Scott’s son, who we’d met last year when Scott was over in London and the concert photographer extraordinaire, Alan Hess, who we’d never met but quickly realised was a very funny and friendly guy. We were also later joined by, and introduced to, Moose Peterson who is just the nicest guy in the world!

Following the meal, we made our way back to the Mandalay Bay hotel for the first proper attendee event of the convention, being the pre-show drink up where the attendees got to meet the instructors. Dave and I had a great time meeting a few people that we’d been chatting to online for a good while, including a lovely chap, and now good friend, Graham Jones. We constantly find it amazing how many relationships build up without ever having met the person and then having the feeling of meeting a long lost friend when you do get the chance to.

Having lost complete track of time (Vegas has a way of doing that to you), and not wanting to miss a second of this experience, Dave and I ended up staying in the bar chatting until around 3am before finally retiring to our rooms, ready for show registration the next morning.

So, what a day that had been. It didn’t take long for us to fall….. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz