ADDENDUM as of 12/24: Apparently the fine folks at the Neon Sign Museum think this is a commercial site and have asked us to take down our photos. Our photos of the Neon Sign Boneyerd are for personal use only and are not for sale, but that was not good enough. Anyway, if you still want to go there, you can. There might be some photos on flickr.
Everyone loves a pretty neon sign. They can be difficult to photograph. We went to Las Vegas last month and photographed some neon signs on Fremont Street and visited the Neon Sign Bone Yard. We will write about Fremont Street next week. The Neon Sign Bone Yard may be the most fun a photographer can have in 60 minutes. Here is what you will see.
The Neon Sign Museum
The Neon Sign Museum just opened. It has some interactive display boards to kill a little time before your tour. They also have a fantastic history book about neon signs – SPECTACULAR: A History of Las Vegas Neon – exclusive to the museum. You can only go into the gated “bone yard” on a guided tour, so you need to plan your trip and get your reservation on-line or give them a call. Each tour has about 10 people and the tour guides are knowledgeable, but they also police the yard. For safety reasons you must stay with the group; stay on the designated path; and not touch anything.
No tripods are aloud, so you will be hand-holding. With your point a shoot, I would recommend Landscape setting to get the maximum dept of field for wide shoots and Portrait setting if you are zooming in or making some abstracts. With a DSLR, jack up your ISO as high as you are comfortable, I had mine at 2600. I then shot in Aperture priority and got good speed from f/4.0 to f/16. We did not have our flashes with us, but I think it might have been helpful. If you have a pop-up flash, you may want to try it.
These types of photos are fun to process because you can really get outrageous with the color, sharpness, and effects. Mary mostly used Topaz Adjust 5 and Trey Ratcliff’s Lightroom Presents to process these photos.
Go Wide to get entire signs
Get Small to get the details
Compose interesting angles