Las Vegas offers a photographer a truly unique combination of architecture and lights. The strip has been photographed so much, and while it’s still an amazing place to capture interesting images, going beyond the neon lights of the strip can offer you some spectacular opportunities.
Where To Photograph Outside of the City
From the desert to the mountains, the Las Vegas valley offers a paradise for the photographer willing to venture out. The strip still gets top billing and it’s what everyone thinks of when photographing Las Vegas but there is so much more to capture.
Red Rock Canyon
One of my absolute favorite locales in the area is Red Rock Canyon. Just take route 159 about twenty miles west of the city and you are there. Go early in the morning for some insanely beautiful sunrises.
The light contrasts with the red sandstone and gray limestone in such a beautiful manner. Then you have all the natural rock formations creating interesting lines and cliffs for impressive perspectives.
If you have a long lens be sure to bring it with you as there are bighorn sheep in the area that make for amazing subjects.
While still a fairly popular location, Hoover Dam is not the destination of choice for most who hit the Las Vegas area. And many photographers miss out on this great opportunity. But don’t be one of them.
Go about thirty-five miles south of the city (Hwy 93 to Route 172) and you will be greeted with one of the best roadside photo ops you can get in the valley. From the road the look down to the base is over 726 feet!
Valley of Fire State Park
This is one of my favorite little known places to go. As the largest and oldest state park in Nevada, it’s popular with local and out of state adventurers but surprisingly few photographers take advantage of this gem.
The park is a decent drive from the city, about fifty-five miles, but it’s well worth the effort. You will be rewarded with great views of sandstone rock formations and petrified woods.
The views are seemingly endless and there are over three thousand year old petroglyphs. There are even campsites so if you’re the outdoorsy type, a multi day excursion is definitely the way to go.
Spring Mountains National Recreation Area
Only a half hour drive from the Las Vegas strip is the amazing Spring Mountain National park, also known as Mt. Charleston park. This stunning wilderness offers a high point of 11,918 feet and 316,000 acres of amazing photography opportunities.
You can get deep in the park as there are over fifty miles of hiking trails to help you find the perfect photo. Be sure to bring a fully stocked camera bag. There are also some amazing overlooks that you can get to with your car. Spring Mountain offers so much that the only way to appreciate it’s beauty is by seeing it for yourself. Plan a couple days if possible and you won’t be disappointed.
By all means take some time on the strip and get those shots but don’t miss out on the other great photography spots of the valley. There is so much to offer for the intrepid photographer willing to leave the neon lights of Vegas for the rustic beauty of the dessert. Pack right and make sure your gear is good to go and enjoy these wonderful spot.