Las Vegas at Night from 550 Feet Above

I've written before about how effective an elevated perspective can be. By finding a raised vantage point to shoot from, you immediately give yourself a unique point of view. Naturally, when I heard about the "High Roller", I jumped on the chance to ride it. I grabbed my Canon 6D and 17-40mm wide angle lens, paid the $35 admission fee and hopped in my pod. 

It's essentially a giant ferris wheel with transparent windows to view the city. Each observation pod holds about 40 people. Luckily, I didn't get assigned to the bar car which was packed tightly with people and their drinks.

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We started the slow steady ascent, and the clear cool night offered visibility all the way to the edge of the horizon. There was still a ways to go, but things were looking promising.

My settings were ISO 6400, f4, and 1/40th of a second. This was a little slower than I ordinarily would recommend without a tripod, but I did my best to brace the camera against the plexiglass and was very careful to hold it steady. 

My favorite image came about 15 minutes into the ride as we reached our maximum height of 550 feet. It was amazing to see Las Vegas from this bird's eye view. 

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We then started the slow descent to ground level...

Here, the impressive Bellagio fountain display is visible in the distance. 

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Back on the ground, I made one last image of the towering structure as it appears from the street. It was definitely a unique experience and one I'd recommend to anyone looking for a fun photo opportunity.