Dan and Whitney's Excellent Adventure: Day 2 (Red Rocks Conservation Area)


Day 2: Las Vegas



Early morning wake up call to do a video interview.  Dan was behind the camera, and I just sat and talked to this amazing artist for a few hours.  We laughed, we cried, we talked about stories, purpose, and art.  I could have stayed there all day talking to her!  Quite inspiring.






Then we met up with one of my past interns, Kristen, and went shooting (with cameras, not guns).  Red Rock Canyon Conservation Area - it's my second time here, the first time I had driven up in the middle of the night on my own intending to camp but had to sleep in the car in a Costco parking lot because the gate was locked... it was a crazy story, but in the morning I saw the sunrise in a peaceful, peaceful park.  Only 4 of us in the entire area.  It was beautiful.  This trip, however, we got to see it for sunset!





These next two photos were taken within minutes of each other - it was only the camera settings that makes one look like day and one look like night.  Kind of fun to compare them side by side.






And for these next two, Dan was driving, and I was shooting out the window!  I'm a bit of an adrenaline junkie, so I'll take any chance for a small thrill :)  He specifically wanted a photo of the one on the left because it looked like a different world, one to write stories or films about.  I love traveling and doing photography with different people because I have the opportunity to see the world through another set of eyes, another perspective.  Some say walk in their shoes, I think I prefer the analogy of seeing the world through someone else's lens.






Oh!  I forgot.  Before Red Rock Conservation Area, we got a notification that the artist in LA wouldn't be able to do the interview.  So that left 3 days with particular destination in mind.  At the beginning of the trip, Dan's said "aside from work, my one request is to go to a beach.  We'll have plenty of options in LA, so that will be awesome."  (We decided it may not be worth it to go all the way to California for a beach and instead we'd... go to the Grand Canyon - I'VE NEVER BEEN, can you believe it?)   But like magic, a sandy beach appeared at Red Rocks.  I put my toes in to say we checked that one off the list.







Dan on the left, Kristen and Trevor on the right.  Red Rocks and the Vegas lights in the background.





Well, we stayed WAY past closing time and I kept looking over my shoulder scared a ranger would show up and chastise us.  I can be rebellious, but I'm still scared of getting caught!  We saw headlights coming around the bend and leapt into the car.  This was our "high speed car chase" for the trip.  You know, where you have to drive just fast enough to get away from the guy chasing you, but not too fast in case he's a cop and will pull you over.  Ah, the joys that sleep deprivation bring.  Take a normal evening and turn it into a dramatic story!



But after we barely escaped our attacker (yes, some sarcasm included... it turned out to be another late night visitor casually exiting the park and completely unaware of us)... just outside the gate we stopped for another hour of photos after the sun went down.  It was so rewarding to see Dan's face light up as he discovered the joys of night photography.  Tripod, long exposures, lights - and STARS!   I love teaching and watching that lightbulb go on, so it inspired a plan to set up a workshop later this summer for Las Vegas Photography at Night.  Leave a comment or shoot me an email if you'd like details when we get it all set up!  We're thinking Red Rocks, Lake Las Vegas, The Strip, and Valley of Fire.



That night included a Latin band and me learning how to Salsa and other dances that I don't know the names of.  Bachata or something?  A lovely Cuban lady introduced me to everyone and got me on the dance floor every song with a new partner.  And before the Latin band, we stopped by a jazz trio - THIS was one of the highlights of the trip.  Dan wouldn't dance, so I danced alone for a few minutes, then felt awkward and sat down.  At the end of the song, the guitar player pointed to me and said "we're going to dedicate the next song to you, because we can tell you want to dance!"  (Now, it is true that one of the masks I wear is a dancer.  I learned traditional jazz dancing back in 2006.  Lindy hop, charleston, blues, and I still dance about once a week!  But it still made me a little bit uncomfortable because I didn't know what to do!)  It only took a couple moment, as if it were rehearsed, everyone cleared the dance floor for "my" song, and I walked up, closed my eyes, and let the music move me.  Wow.  It was such a surreal and emotional experience.  I traded back and forth with the saxophone player - he'd play a phrase holding eye contact with me, then I would imitate the sound through dance in the next phrase.  It was solo dance, all improv, expressing whatever I happened to feel in that moment.  And the music was great!  Afterwards, I snapped back to reality as people came over to talk with me about the dancing and give compliments.  I'm still a little speechless and overwhelmed when I think back to it.  Such an art-filled day with the painter, interview, video, photos, then music and dance.  I love the exposure to so many creative expressions!




And of course, my self portrait for my "life as a photographer" gallery.  With the look on my face here, I feel like I should be wearing a "life is good" shirt.






See the other blog posts from this Road Trip:

Day 1: Las Vegas

Day 2: Red Rock Conservation Area

Day 3: Lake Las Vegas

Day 4: Arches National Park