As I disembarked from the Airbus A320 into the chaotic McCarren Airport in Las Vegas, I realized my failure to pack a jacket would probably come back to haunt me. After a brief dispute with the airline that lost my bag and proceeded to damage several pieces of camera lighting equipment, I made my way outside. I was instantly greeted with a 30+mph wind that carried the 50-degree air right down my spine, provoking a full-body shiver.
I was fortunate to find haven in the shuttle bus to the rental car building but I knew that air this cool at noon would mean an even colder night. Once the sun set, temperatures plummeted to the bottom 40's. If it weren't for the random, strong wind gusts, this could have been tolerable at some level.
After a run to Walmart to buy jackets, Technical editor, Dave Young, and I made our way to the Las Vegas Dragstrip the following morning and began to look around. We made our way around the car show area, pits, and staging lanes as we quietly admired the great cars that were essentially served to us on a platter. Eventually, we stumbled across cars that simply knocked us off our feet and we had to find the owners and find out more information on the cars.
In total, I photographed five features while I was in Las Vegas. I feel that they are five radically unique cars with terrific stories behind each of them. While there were hundreds of great cars out at the event, some just carry an inspiring or entertaining story that we, the staff of Mopar Muscle Magazine, insist on sharing with the readers.
This was also my most unique trip to Sin City, starting with the erratic weather. Yes, the Valley is known for its most interesting weather, but never has it snowed while I was out there. On Saturday the city was hit with a heavy storm that scared everyone back into their cars as snow began to fall from the sky, accompanied by tremendous winds -- how strange. But, for me, it's all about the scenery in Las Vegas since I feel it's somewhat of a photographer's paradise. I had the pleasure of shooting with Jerry Heasley for the first time, and we were able to share our photos and styles with each other -- something I thoroughly enjoyed.
Secondly, I am now able to mark something off my bucket list: to perform a photoshoot in a ghost town. I did some research before flying out this year and I was determined to find new, interesting backdrops for my next series of shoots out in Nevada. This ghost town was quite the drive from Vegas, but it was worth it. It was nestled deep within a canyon that I swear was occupied by curious cave-dwellers that I could feel watching me the entire time. The location was certainly secluded and that usually makes for some of the most interesting photographs and I look forward to sharing them in the pages of Mopar Muscle. My other shoots were done next to a deep gorge highlighted by a mountainous backdrop, a large section of desert, and inside a wealthy neighborhood overlooking the city.
I would like to thank Jill and Phil Painter for once again putting on a terrific show that I've been blessed to cover for the past four years. In spite of the economic hardships we've all certainly endured, I thank those of you who continue to make the journey to Las Vegas for one of the most unique events in the country.
Do yourself a big favor and make plans for the show next year. Take some time to appreciate your surroundings, and maybe get into a little trouble. In the city of entertainment, this event has nothing but competition surrounding it and it is by far a Mopar nuts dream and makes you forget all the other distractions.
See you next year!
The swap meet was filled with parts on top of parts...
... and even a fine selection of project cars.
Yours truly was coaxed into riding this "rodded out" bike that was extremely comfortable t