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jimhelmick January 26, 2018
Remarkable photo. Very unusual building.

Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health

Las Vegas is a city of crazy architecture, but the "warped" Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health is just about one of the wildest buildings in town. It al...
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Las Vegas is a city of crazy architecture, but the "warped" Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health is just about one of the wildest buildings in town. It almost looks like it is melting from the heat of the desert sun.
Read less





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Behind The Lens

This is the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health located in Las Vegas. In a city known for some wild and crazy architecture even this building stands out as one of the craziest! The twisted metallic building looks like it is withering and melting from the savage desert heat. It was designed by architect Frank Gehry and opened up in 2010 to a total project cost estimated around $100 million.
It was right near the end of the Blue Hour, around 7:30 pm or so. There was still some of the beautiful indigo color in the sky and if you look closely at a large enough copy of the photo you can spot a handful of the brightest stars that managed to pop through.
Well, in this case it was pure environmental lighting, meaning I did nothing to augment it. I was positioned right underneath a streetlight, which provided that warm, yellowish tint and lit up the foreground grasses and the metallic exterior nicely. Fortunately, the night that I shot this they turned on the red interior lights making a wonderful compliment to the blues and yellows across the image. I have seen other photos of this building when the interior lights were blue or green or even purple, so it was just pure luck this night to get that awesome red pop in the square windows and another primary color to the photo pallette.
I love a wide-angle lens, and used it for this shot. The body was an Olympus OMD EM-1 (Mark I) paired with the Olympus 7-14mm/F2.8 PRO lens. I bracketed three exposures around a setting of F4.0 in aperture priority. The exposures were -2, 0 and +2 stops to get a full range of shadows and brights. The focal length was 12mm, which is equivalent to 24mm on a full frame camera (the crop sensor on my Mirrorless 4/3 body is 2X). I also used a Vanguard Alta Pro tripod and Olympus cable release to keep the camera stable.
Did you see the building? LOL! The architecture just begs to have its photo taken. I had spotted a glimpse of this building from the highway, but you cannot see much so when I had a little extra time at the end of the drive back from shooting at the Grand Canyon I pulled off, drive around and found it. The building was even better than I had hoped, at least from a photo subject perspective!
Absolutely! There’s always some type of post-processing done to my images! First, I used the HDR merge function in Adobe Lightroom to create the base image. From there, it was opened up in ON1 Photo RAW 2017 for all the RAW image development and final artistic additions. I don’t recall all the specific adjustments, but there would have been some exposure tweaks, a bit of warming on the overall temperature, and of course the addition of the ON1 Dynamic Contrast filter and a light vignette, which I use on virtually every photo. Now, I also need to be totally honest and completely transparent here… There was a Supermoon that night. And in Las Vegas it was as large as in this shot. However, the way the building was positioned, the moon did not align correctly so to complete my “vision” for how I wanted this photo I pulled the image into Photoshop and added in the final astronomy touch. It’s a brush in the shape of the moon with white coloring and the opacity pulled back to appear natural in a sky that would have a little bit of haze and desert dust.
In my camera bag
Most of the time I travel with the Olympus M43 camera system. My “go-to” body is the OMD EM-1 (Mark I) mentioned earlier. I usually also have the 12-40mm/F2.8 PRO lens, the 7-14mm/F2.8 PRO lens (used for this photo) and the 12-100mm/F4 PRO lens in the backpack. That gives me an effective range from 14mm to 200mm (equivalent on a full frame body) and that covers the vast majority of the travel, landscape and cityscape subjects that I tend to photograph.
This is a large, public building in downtown Las Vegas, so it’s very easy to find. Simply set the GPS for 888 West Bonneville Avenue and you’ll get there! Now something to keep in mind is, at least according to the guard that came out and tried to chase me off, this building has a copyright attached to the design. She explained that photographers can take photos of the building so long as they are for personal use, but any commercial photographers need to obtain a permit in advance of the shoot. I was unable to find anything related to photography rules or restrictions on their web site, but keep it in mind. There are a lot of surveillance cameras around the property, so anyone who is outside taking photos of the building using a tripod and “professional-appearing camera equipment” will most likely get to enjoy a friendly chat from the security detail.

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