A Spinning Horizon

I absolutely adore sunrises and sunsets. It’s such a unique part of the day. This is the perfect display of the Sun’s power over our planet. The peace of nighttime leaves us at sunrise and is replaced with the noise of human activity. A sunset places in motion a welcoming cool breeze after a long, warm day. Of course, photographers love these moments for .~*Golden Hour*~. I do enjoy the lighting of a good Golden Hour, but the process of waiting for a sunrise or sunset to fully form and evolve (read: patience) is so cathartic and rewarding.

My collection of sunrise/sunset photos spans continents and decades. How do I begin to choose? Well, I was recently in Las Vegas for work. Vegas isn’t anywhere near a list of places I would choose to travel. However, I was fortunate to stay on the 23rd and 51st (technically, 41st) floors of the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino. I had views of the sunrise from my room on the 23rd floor, and views of the sunset from the balcony of the Big Kahuna Suite on the 51st floor. A fantastic opportunity!

It’s times like these that I love waking up before sunrise (~0600), capturing some shots of the sunrise, working all day until late at night, and editing my sunrise/sunset shots around midnight. Then repeat it all the next day.


The Rio Hotel is encased in red and blue glass. Depending on where you are in the building, the light coming through the windows will look slightly different. When the sunlight hits the windows it reflects red and blue shapes on the streets below. Our 23rd storey room had red windows; a warm light entered through the windows. I set up my cameras at the window before I went to bed. Upon my alarm waking me, I just needed to capture a few shots and push record on a time lapse. Absorbing photons through a wide-angle lens is great for landscape shots, but some of my favourite photos from my Las Vegas trip were those I captured with a Canon 70-300mm 4-5.6 III lens. Light bouncing off one building and onto another was akin to a story unfolding — and the Sun is the director.

Peeking out next to Caesars Palace. The winter sun rises over Sunrise Mountain in Las Vegas.


During the few days we were in Las Vegas, we held events in the convention center (ground floor) and the Big Kahuna Suite (41st floor). It’s a 15-minute walk — at minimum — from one to the other. The first couple of days were cloudy (great for showing movement in time lapses!), one day was cloudless, and the last day was mostly sunny until some clouds rolled in around the end of the day. A couple of times we had lunch/dinner in the Big Kahuna Suite. This allowed me to move my camera setup from inside to the balcony outside. The last day provided a perfect sunset for me. It glistened beyond the Palm Place Tower and then behind the Red Rock Canyon. Again, I used the same telephoto lens and zoomed to 300mm. The juxtaposition between the straight lines of the building and the jagged mountain makes me giddy.

Sunset over the Las Vegas mountains
A winter sunset over the Red Rock Canyon (Wilson Cliffs) and the Palm Place building.

If you enjoyed this post, I highly recommend you read the poem my fiancée wrote today: Universal Family.

Photo challenge prompt via The Daily Post: Rise/Set.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *