Hello Friends and Family,

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Las Vegas: Mandalay Bay

The day after Labor Day, I flew out to Las Vegas to attend the Photoshop World Conference sponsored by NAPP — the National Association of Photoshop Professionals. I try to attend every other year and this would normally be my off year. However, Adobe released a new version of Photoshop in the spring and I wanted to pick up some tips from the gurus on how to best utilize CS6.

As usual, PSW was held at the conference center at the Mandalay Bay and they offer pretty good rates for attendees, so I stayed here again. It is a wonderful hotel albeit everything seems rather expensive. My room was only $120 but even simple meals were $25 and up.

Fortunately, NAPP negotiated free Internet for attendees otherwise it is $15 per day. Why is it that expensive hotels charge for Internet but inexpensive chains offer it free? One of the mysteries of life, I guess.

One of the spectacular attractions of the Mandalay Bay is the Beach which includes this huge wave pool filled with some 1.6 million gallons of water. The building in the left background is the conference center — to get to the sessions we had to walk through the adjoining hallways that are in the center background. Attendees tend to stare out the windows, perhaps wishing they were in the wave pool instead of learning about the blur tool or techniques for masking.

When I took this photo, I did not notice the gold light shining on the walkway section in the right background. Thus when I was working in Photoshop, I noticed it and had to think for a moment where this came from. I finally realized that the gold windows of the hotel were reflecting onto that area. Interesting.

Naturally, the hotel has a number of lifeguards on duty. This dude just had to be photographed. I caught up with him later and showed him the photo I took and he approved — he did not know he was so photogenic.

This little guy reminded me of my little buddy, Johnny (who just turned seven, by the way) — although this kid is a bit younger. He appeared to be a bit intimidated by the waves. Maybe he will enjoy it more in a couple years.

We thought about having Johnny and Mizuki join me for the weekend — but the timing just didn't work out with schools becoming very strict about absences (he would have had to miss at least a half day of school). But I am sure that Johnny would have loved it.

The waves are only about three feet high but carry quite a punch. This young fellow had to scramble to get out of the way of the cowboy. I do not recall ever seeing anyone bodysurfing while wearing a cowboy hat — first time for everything.

When I saw this young cutie getting out of the pool I had to capture the image. She will be breaking some male hearts in a few years, that is for sure.

I love having a zoom lens that goes out to 300mm — allows you to take photos without being in people's faces. They are much more natural when you can take the picture from a distance. She did not even notice me.

I thought this was so cute — Mom and Dad with baby in the wading pool. Everything is new at that age.

For those who are not the surfer type, the hotel offers a conventional pool where one can relax, soak up some sun and enjoy a cool (albeit expensive) beverage.

Additionally, there is a lazy river where one can float on inner tubes and just while away the afternoon.

In some cases, groups of floaters would join up in a colorful convoy.

Or just a guy relaxing by himself. We made eye contact as I took his photo so I said to him, "Life is good". He replied, "Yep, another tough day at the office".

The lazy river is nice and tame — even a little one can enjoy it. Such a cute little girl but she looked like she might be ready for her nap — but Mom and Dad wanted to make sure she did not miss anything.

If you ever have the chance to stay at the Mandalay Bay, do not miss it.


Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com