There is no doubt that Las Vegas is probably one of the most fascinating, spectacular, hyper, and quizzical cities in the world.
“Las Vegas” actually means “The Meadows” or “Fertile Plains” in Spanish. The Meadows, today, is the largest city by population in the State of Nevada, and the 28th largest city in the United States. I had the chance to visit the Fertile Plains in 2009 and 2017. When one explores Las Vegas outside of its famous Strip and the downtown neighborhood (which are not the same place, by the way), one can easily understand how Vegas got its name.
The photo above displays a view of approximately half of the Las Vegas Strip skyline (2.5mi / 4km left to right) upon entering the Vegas Valley from Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam from the east. After driving over several hills and dunes during your approach, you behold the skyline of massive, behemoth hotels and colossal casinos (some of which are among the largest in the world), protruding upwards from the sheer flatness of the sandy meadows flanked by the rugged outlines of the Spring Mountains in the background.
The temperature was a whopping 122°F / 50°C outside when this photo was captured back in 2017. You can almost see the beams of the sun’s blistering heat pummeling the city from the skies. The buildings below appeared to be broiling from my vantage, wavering into view like a mirage materializing into sight. It’s mystifying to witness, to say the least.
The cityscape above features the skyline of the Las Vegas Strip on the evening of Independence Day in 2009, about an hour before the city’s fireworks program began. I remember being entranced by the dazzling illumination of the city leading to the skyline of the gargantuan hotels and resorts. I found Vegas to be rather charming, beautiful, and bemusing simultaneously — such a large city built in the dry and arid desert, where there’s actually plenty of regular life and daily routine for its residents alongside the endless entertainment, glitz, glamour, and campiness for which Vegas is renowned worldwide.
The image immediately above was captured completely in error. While attempting to focus on the neon cowboy sign in downtown Las Vegas, I mistakenly pressed the shutter button. Alas, serendipity was on my side as a double-decker tourist bus passed by during that precise moment (a one-second exposure), et voilà. This image is one of my ultimate favorite images from Vegas. The timing was as unbelievable as it was impromptu.
I’ll leave you with a couple more of my favorite images from The Meadows below.
At the every end or this article, there’s also an old promo video of Las Vegas that I created in 2009. It’s called “Sin & The City”, and it gets campier and campier with age. I have convinced myself to share the video with you since we’re on the topic of this particular city that embellishes its own campiness. It features the very appropriate song, “Good at Being Bad” by Chester White. If you listen to the song, you’ll likely agree it describes the stereotypical persona of Las Vegas almost perfectly.