When you drive into City Center there is a long round about that allows you to stop at any of four different buildings. At the end of it there is a place where you can take a leisurely stroll or wait for your ride.

This is it.
This photograph was made at night. The water feature has a very natural and flowing sense to it almost like the wave action along a beach. All of the plant and tree life is very gentle and almost contemporary in its selection.
This might be one of the quietest places in all of Las Vegas, let alone the Strip, where City Center is built.

The assignment was Las Vegas architecture. But, what the hell does that mean? Most of the biggest buildings are casinos and hotels that are a little cartoonish to my mind. Even the best and newest are so over done that they seem to be trading on bad taste.

But, then I went to City Center. Oh my. Modern. Elegant. Very Asian feeling in the most cutting edge sense of the phrase. There are two condo complexes, one hotel — The Mandarin Oriental — and shopping mall that blew me away. Malls don’t blow me away. Oh, and all of this is understated. No garish neon. No clanging and blaring of noisy casinos.
Oh. Now I see. That’s the assignment.

Las Vegas. Venetian Hotel. A Chinese tour guide leads his charges up the ramp over a canal of Venice in the extremely hot late afternoon sun. How hot? 118 degrees. That’s hot. I’ve photographed this location in the past. I’ve left it monochromatic, as I originally saw it, and I’ve also brought out the hidden color through the use of a plug-in. This is the colorful version. I really don’t know which version that I like best.

This image is from a slightly older collection of pictures that I made in Thailand. This young woman is shopping in what amounts to a wet market in the old Chinese section of Bangkok, called Yarowat. It is home to one of the oldest Chinese trading and distribution centers in the country. Although it is tucked in a corner of Bangkok, it is easily accessible by car, foot and river taxi.

I‘ve been doing a lot of reading about photography lately. One would think that after 35 years or so, I’d be done with reading about it. But, no. The more that I learn, the less that I know.

I read a blog with an interview by photographer and fellow curmudgeon, Stanley Green. He was talking about photographers today who are long on technique, but who are very short on heart and soul. It strikes me that he is right. With all the technological tricks that we can do today using Photoshop, Photomatix, 9,000,000 plug-ins and every other kind of software, we seem to be seeing pictures everywhere that are devoid of feeling and even content. But, they are real long on cool “zoomie-boomies” as my old buddy Robert Young Pelton used to call them.
All these effects are cool. And, they should be used… sometime to enhance the feeling of the scene. Maybe. But, when the technology overwhelms or becomes the content, that’s another issue.

Hot, fresh, just out of the cooking oil — spring rolls. Served on the banks of a river, almost like street food. In The United States, we get nervous when we see street food or even a lunch truck. In the rest of the world, not so much. In Thailand, the food is cooked in front of you. On the mainland, in China, the outdoor vendors are regulated and restricted to certain districts. The same thing happens in Singapore and Hong Kong. The only caveat is just make sure everything you eat is cooked, peel-able like a banana or bottled like water.

If you don’t, you may not be very happy.

Lascar Row or Cat Alley is an alley that connects Sheung Wan to Central. It is lined with antique shops, craft stands and all manner of artistic “things.” Some is junk. Some is art. Much are just knock offs.

Lascar Row was, at one time, a place where Indian sailors lived when they were not at sea. It was also a red light district. It is also home to the very first coffee shop in Hong Kong. It was tucked away in an upstairs gallery.
I think it is much more interesting at night. It feels a little mysterious, maybe like it did 100 years ago. And, the added benefit of shopping there at night is that there are very few tourists.