Life | Friends | Photo Adventures: In the city of SIN, Las Vegas, NV

My name is Al Powers, and this is a day in the life of a Las Vegas Photographer.

We have moved our blog…

Posted by alpowers on April 20, 2010

So the time has come to move our blog to our own server. Please visit us at


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My Birthday

Posted by alpowers on April 13, 2010

My Birthday, originally uploaded by

My Birthday party at TAO nightclub. If you would like to come hang out join me and my friends for the celebration, feel free to email me.

Lighting setup for the shot is right here:

Setup for Birthday

setup image

A total of 6 lights were used.
X3200 into a gridded beauty dish from above
2x Sunpak 555 into 43″ umbrellas cam right and left
ABR800 on cam
Sb900 and SB800 as kickers behind subject cam left and right
X1600 with blue gel behind subject on background

No friends were hurt in the making of this image 🙂

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Help Portrait Las Vegas was a huge success!!!

Posted by alpowers on December 13, 2009

GroupPic_Staff2_web, originally uploaded by

On 12.12.09 Some of Vegas’ photographers and MUA, and stylists, decided to give back to teh community. We all stood together and helped some homeless teens feel like celebrities, where all the attention was on them, if only for one day. These images are a small sample of what we did today. I am so glad i could be apart of this, and will continue doing this type of volunteer work atleast once every 3 months. What you feel after seeing the glow on the kids faces is simply indescribable.

This was part of the HelpPortrait movement, these were my images. I have plenty more, but this was for the press (newschannels, newspapers, etc), so i had to knock them out within 15 min. I setup a boxing kind of set, so the kids could put on some gloves and feel like a pro.

These kids are simply amazing and have great hearts. CBS even came out to give us some News coverage. check this video out! Im the guy in the black hoody 🙂

Howard Fields

TJ Neslon giving his best Barnard Hopkins impersonation

Matthew Artry sits on the skateboard i gave to him.

Megan Griffin in the rain, with some special flash magic 🙂

Geff Moran

Geff Moran

More images are here

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Another one with the 86″ PLM, this time as a keylight

Posted by alpowers on December 4, 2009

Harmony_Moniz_red_2_web, originally uploaded by

Strobist Info:
X1600 cam left at moderate power
sb900 cam right, behind model for a cross light and kicker

When we were on location, i found this really cool structure that i knew would work really well in framing Harmony. In this shot I was going for more of a catalog type shot in this one, more focusing on the jacket then anything. I setup the strobe to light a specific area under the “hallway” and directed Harmony to walk into that area, at which i popped off frames of her strutting. It took a bit to get what i wanted, but it worked out really well in my opinion, she was very easy to work with.

Setup for this shot is shown here for all you visual people. 🙂

Setup shot for the shot above

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Finally after 3 months of ownership, I used my 86″ PLM today!!

Posted by alpowers on December 2, 2009

Harmony_Moniz_web_1, originally uploaded by

I really like it!

Pose #2 with a bit more fill light

Strobist Info:
X1600 shot into 86″ PLM cam right around 60 degrees rear of model
Slight fill with sb800 in front at a really really low power.
Used existing silver wall as a reflector, cam left

I really like the look and light quality of it.

here is the setup shot.

Setup Shot for image above

Obviously i am not using it for its intended use here, but it works wonders.

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Zero G Experience

Posted by alpowers on September 22, 2009

Zero G Experience, originally uploaded by

This week was a very busy one. From Celebrity appearances, to Product shoots, then back to nightlife, and then finally Zero Gravity…

Now i bet you can only guess which of the photo gigs was my favorite. Currently I work as one of the resident Vegas photographers, for the Zero G Corporation. What is Zero G you may ask? Well Zero G Corporation provides a weightless experience to virtually anyone. They bring Space to you.

I wont get into how its done, mainly because though i understand how it works, however im not quite articulate enough in the physics to really explain to you as accurately as I would want. For more in-depth info on it, visit

Its truly a unique experience and is just the most fun you can have on Earth, if you have the means i would highly recommend anyone to try it. It is the closest feeling to being in Space than most of us will ever feel. I call it “flying around like superman.”

You instantly see full grown adults become giddy with excitement, and everyones face light up as if they were 5 years old again, and waking up to a Christmas Tree stuffed with presents from Santa. I feel truly blessed that i get to experience it, and i am able to capture these moments for our guests.

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Posted by alpowers on September 16, 2009

Fallen…, originally uploaded by

I stumbled across this nice memorial when i was at the local skatepark today. I kneeled down to see if there was a name, but there was not, and when i was sitting there saying a prayer for the person who had passed, a couple of women came to talk with me, They asked if i knew the young man who this is for. I said no, then they told me this had been a young man who had been shot in the parking lot, a year ago. The family and friends stop by atleast once a month to make sure to put more flowers down and to pay the respects for their loved one.

Though i will probably never know the friends and family of this person. My prayers go out to them, we all know how it feels to lose a loved one. Its always so sad to hear about a young person losing their life, before it even started. RIP.

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With Great lenses… comes great responsibilties…

Posted by alpowers on September 13, 2009

rokinon3, originally uploaded by

So I received a new lens a couple weeks ago. And honestly it bring photography full circle for me. The lens has no bells or whistles, its made by god knows who, and to top it all off, its Manual Focus… What i mean by full circle is, it makes me feel like i felt when first started using a 35mm camera.

My first 35mm SLR was a Minolta XD7 passed down to me by my cousin, Kien. He used it in college to make some extra bucks. And little did he realize by giving me this camera, it would do so much more for me than ever expected. It was simple, it came with one prime 50 1.4, camera body, and some long telefoto (i dont ever remember using) and a nifty auto winder. It had a certain odor to it, that can only be described as old. It was fun, but at the time, i didnt really know much about it. I remember he told me, read some books, learn the camera, blah blah blah. I was 13… I didnt care about that, i didnt like people telling me i HAD to learn things. So of course being an idiot, i just winged it. Sometimes i would get great photos, sometimes i wouldnt (ok, ok, most of the time i would get crappy photos) Nothing was ever consistent. However one thing using a fully manual camera taught me was how to see things through a looking glass. To think about what im seeing and what shapes and colors work together. But most importantly it taught me about how to use my eyes to manually focus a lens. So i digress, more on that history about me later on when you have about 10 hours of reading….

So fast forward 14 years… I have these future cameras that beep, whistle, and have these nifty windows on the back of them that show me a picture after its been taken!! Its like a polaroid! But after all this technology i still bought a Manual focus lens, with manual controls?? No Auto anything? No auto Aperture control, no Autofocus, no CPU data to the camera?? What is this Blasphemy I speak of…

Its a special diamond in the rough. Its a korean one at that. This lens is called the Rokinon 85mm 1.4 Aspherical. Its very special to me. It set me back a mere $200 shipped. And by far it has been the best bang for buck in my bag. Yes, i do have lots of very nice lenses, some i would even call magical. But none of which i got for a sub 1k price point. It has a very rugid build, great glass, and very good Image quality. The out of focus areas are buttery smooth. And well with its 1.4 max aperture, its very capable of low light capturing… Now you must be thinking to yourself, how low light can he possibly get with a Manual focusing lens? Thats the beauty of Nikon, it has this beautiful Manual focusing assist light in the bottom left of the viewfinder. It helps me get close and for critical focus, i use a method that was quite the norm back in the day… Its called Focus Bracketing. Where you take three or more frames while moving the focus ever slightly in and out, to ensure you get the correct thing in focus. Some say its cheating, i say its just smart shooting. Its not like the film days where you are wasting film, we have memory now. And lets face it memory is cheap! So shoot away friends! I dont condone spray and praying, but this type of bracketing is a useful tool.

Here is a sample shot with the 85 1.4 in low light at the Fabulous Festival at The Palms, Las Vegas, on September 5, 2009

Nikon D700, Rokinon 85 1.4. iso6400, 1.4, 1/100

Nikon D700, Rokinon 85 1.4. iso6400, 1.4, 1/100"

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Strobist Photo Adventure 8.11.09

Posted by alpowers on August 12, 2009

Setupshot, originally uploaded by turbodude.

Well i promised you guys that i would update the blog once a week, and i am to keep that promise.

This weeks goal was to try out a new location we found, and see if we would get any trouble from security. (we were there for 2 hours and not a peep from anyone, new photo playground has been found!)

The actual photo assignment was Athlete/Bboy/Skateboarder lighting. You saw the stair case from the last blog entry, i wanted to use it with some specific lighting. So i set out with a 3 light setup in mind.

Proposed setup:
Beauty dish from above
And two kickers on each side slighty behind the subject to get a nice touch of light.

When on location, things changed a bit. Our Ambient lighting was dying off quickly, so to fill in that void; i decided i wanted a strong flare or rim light in the image from above the staircase. Casting a nice light on our subject from above. In the setup shot you can see the how everything was used together. I didnt add a fill light, because i wanted some dramatic shadow. I think this type of lighting would work great for athletes. Its strong and dramatic to accentuate the persons figure.

Here is what we came up with.
Lighting Diagram

Please keep in mind, this was just a test; i myself am not an athlete by any means, but i do plan on going back with a test model to try this out. Sample images to come soon, i just got home, but wanted to update the blog when everything is fresh in my mind.

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Just goofing around.

Posted by alpowers on August 8, 2009

Emo Brent, originally uploaded by turbodude.

So tonight my buddy Brenton and I set out to find some new photo spots. We brought our cameras to document certain spots that may look great for different kinds of photoshoots. I brought with my a d700 and 14-24 2.8G, i brought a wideangle so i can capture the whole environment and then later look through the details and pick where i would want to shoot.

Lots of cool stuff in this area, a couple waterfalls, a huge stair case, lots of landscape, really this place doesnt look like Vegas at all. Lots of green and vegetation. Its the perfect location for many future shoots.

On our way out, i had an idea for a type of shot, so i asked Brent to step in to the location. It was a rough display of what i wanted. I wanted the huge stair case to frame the subject in with the sky being in the background. Pretty much imagining the perfect scenario, i popped off some frames, not really trying to get a shot, but just getting a more concrete look at what i had in my head. Held an sb800 in my left hand, zoomed to 85mm, set at -1 Flash exposure, trigger with onboard commander.

This image wasnt pretty, but helped me visualize what i wanted. But then when i got home, i started looking through the sample shots, i came across one that i found interesting. Its this particular image you see here. I like the vantage point, i like the converging lines of the stairs and the sky that lead to Brent’s head and facial expression. Since we didnt bring any gels with us the flash really caused some color issues in the frame, so i converted it to BW, then i saw that the light was really contrasty, so i ran with it. Edited with some color corrections, add some layer masks, dodged some here, and burned some here, and this is what i came up with.

Nothing really impressive, however it opens the flood gates for many ideas for this one particular area.

Ill definitely be bringing concept to product here in the near future. So keep checking back!


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