Be quick with your tripod!
When it comes to shooting in Las Vegas, my favorite spot has got to be The Venetian. I love how authentically they have recreated the grandeur of Italy. When you come in the main valet registration area you step into this grand Italian hallway, rather than the typical casino view with slots, bells and cocktail waitresses. The occasional tour guides explains the authenticity of the imported Italian marble and original ceiling paintings. They even imported Venetian gondoliers. In fact, next time you are in Vegas, be sure you take time to walk through the canal shops and ride in a gondola to be serenaded in grand style. There is even a replica of St. Mark’s square with sidewalk cafes and street artists. It is just like I remember it at age 11, minus the pigeons and fountain. Best of all the stories is how this property was designed to replicate an Italian castle. The owner built it for his wife, who loves the original city of water. He certainly succeeded bringing a little bit of Italy to the Nevada desert. Hats off to the Venetian!
This is the grand hall, which you see from the registration desk. I was lucky enough to set up my tripod long enough to get some bracketed exposures without too many people walking through the scene. The security guards will tell you to put away your tripod, so set it up quick and get the shot before they see you on their hidden cameras. In post-production, I used Photomatix to process the bracketed exposures and tonemap the composite image. Next I brought the image in Photoshop where I cloned out the exit sign and some text in a background poster, and finally I sharpened things a bit and used the perspective tool to straighten things up.