Today is the first day that I have been able to wake up in my own bed for the past two weeks. Arrived yesterday at 4pm from a week long stay at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada. I was there covering our National Sales Meeting. What an experience! Not only to be able to see sin city, but to experience all the hard work and effort it takes to photograph one of these meetings. It was incredible to witness the even bigger task of organizing and putting the meeting together by all the planning coordinators, admins, and production team. They are some amazing people, and I truly hope that each person who attended the sales meeting understood how much love and passion these people have for our company.
We flew in this past Sunday, traveling for nearly 12 hours before we stepped foot into our hotel rooms. For some reason Delta routed us to a connection flight in Atlanta, taking us three hours south east out of our way just to travel west again. Aside from the screaming three year old sitting behind me (and kicking my seat) during the last four hours of our flight, traveling went well. I was a little nervous to go through security with all my camera equipment since I had never done it before, but it was a breeze. Oh and also aside from the fact that delta broke one of the wheels off of my suitcase, so I had to lug around my camera bag, laptop bag, purse, and gimping luggage. I must of looked like a hot mess!!
We stayed at Caesar’s Palace on the 15th floor of the Palace Towers. Caesar’s is a beautiful hotel/casino. Lots of ornate sculptures and artwork to see and all kinds of things to do. I had my own room complete with a king size bed, whirlpool tub, and view of the mirage and treasure island casinos. I utilized the whirlpool tub several times as my body ached from the hours upon hours on my feet! It was wonderful to have a king sized bed all to myself. I wasn’t used to having so much space! At home I’m used to sharing with two dogs and a husband and just hoping that I don’t wake up on the floor! 🙂
Sunday, after we got settled into our rooms, Angela (fellow photographer) and I decided to take a stroll on the strip to see some of the other casinos and such. It was blistering hot, about 100 degrees. I apparently forgot that Las Vegas is in the desert and packed almost all long sleeved shirts, pants, and sweaters. It worked out while working in the building, but not so much outside. We got some frozen yogurt at pinkberry and watched the fountain show at the Belagio. We also went inside the Belagio and got to see their garden conservatory at night which was all lit up. We thought it was so beautiful we needed to see it during the day as well. After the Belagio we walked a little further down the strip, people watching and snapping photos along the way. It is easy to get from place to place out on the strip because they have pedestrian walkways going over the major road intersections. I loved that, because traffic was a little crazy and I did not want to get hit by a car. This way, you could basically avoid the cars entirely. We walked for a good couple of hours until our feet began to hurt and decided to call it a night.
Starting on Monday we worked 12 hour days throughout the week including one 15 hour day. It was a lot of hard work and tested my photographic techniques and knowledge the whole way through. I felt invigorated, I loved the challenges! We worked 74 hours total the duration of the sales meeting. We updated people’s corporate portraits, photographed presenters, documented meetings, photographed awards banquets and ceremonies. The best part of it all though was the fact that I got to meet two celebrities! The first was Tony Siragusa, former NFL player and current host of the TV show Man Caves. He was a riot, very outspoken but friendly and comical. I got my photo taken with him, but the other photographer has the files so I can’t include it in here until I get back to work on Tuesday. At the end of the night Tony gave me a big hug and a kiss on the cheek and told me that he loved working with me. I’m sure he says that to all the ladies, but I still didn’t mind hearing it. 🙂
While Tony was fun to meet, my entire week was made when I got to meet Ty Burrell, one of my favorite actors of all time. He is most famous for playing Phil Dunphy the father from Modern Family. However, I loved him long before particularly for his role in Dawn of the Dead. I was actually in charge of his photo shoot with fans and had to get about 250 people’s photos taken with him in the span of about 40 mins. He was such a nice guy, very friendly with everyone, laughing the whole time and doing his best to interact with people as they posed. After everyone had been photographed he was lingering a bit long and I asked him if he wouldn’t mind signing something for me. He gave me one of the most genuine smiles and said “absolutely!” I didn’t have anything other than my name badge from the convention so I had him sign the back of it. I’d post a photo but I don’t want anyone stealing it so you’ll just have to believe me. 🙂 We talked about Dawn of the Dead, and his film Butter (which if you haven’t seen you really should, it is quite good) He was surprised that I had seen Butter, he made some comment like “Oh you and the 6 other people in the world that saw it” I laughed and told him they didn’t know what they were missing! He also splits living between Los Angeles and Salt Lake City. I mentioned how my brother had lived in Salt Lake for 8 years. He said that Salt Lake is one of his favorite places. We talked briefly about some of the scenery. Before he left I thanked him again for the autograph and told him that I was so nervous to photograph him since I was such a huge fan. I told him how I was literally shaking before he walked in the room. He smiled and grabbed me close gave me a hug and said, “Are you kidding?! I got the best end of the deal! You were great to work with, you did such a great job!” I was basically in a flutter the rest of the evening after that. Anytime something went somewhat wrong the rest of the convention I just thought about meeting Ty and all was well. 🙂 The girls all kept poking fun at me. 🙂
We worked hard for two days straight. On Wednesday we had a shorter day and some free time in the evening to go out and explore Vegas a bit more. Angela and I walked down the other direction of the strip to see more of the casinos and sights we didn’t get to see when we were out on Sunday. We also stopped and had ice cream, though we had to eat it fast because with 100 degree weather it melted before you knew it. We went back to the Belagio to see the gardens during the day. So pretty!! I also walked around Caesar’s by myself after Angela had gone back to her room to catch up on sleep. There are so many statues and beautiful things to photograph in the hotel.
All in all I had a blast in Vegas, but I am very happy to be back. Vegas is definitely a unique place and I’m so glad that I got the opportunity to go. I’ve learned a lot during my travels, and I feel even better prepared for the next sales meeting which will be in Orlando Florida next year! Hope you enjoy the photos! I tried to document as much as I could!