“COVID Transition Time for Reno”: We decided to take our new, used (1999) convertible MB 230SLK out for a quick roadtrip to Reno. The weather alternated between sunshine, overcast clouds, and even some rain. It felt symbolic to me of the somewhat weird transition place we are in the pandemic right now. Even though tier levels still change on a weekly basis, California is supposed to be open with no restrictions on June 15.
Nevada moves ahead
However, Nevada has already forged ahead of us. The casinos, however, have posted signs indicating that the new state law was that anyone who was fully immunized (two weeks past their vaccine shot regimen) no longer needed to wear masks on the casino floors. Other businesses like Grassroots, our favorite used bookstore in the area, requested patrons continue to mask up as they evaluate how to move forward with the change.
We assumed the two masked gentlemen below either had not been vaccinated, or had not become “fully” immunized. It’s all on the honor system. I don’t know that public health in the U.S. has ever been in such a bizarre situation.
Exploring the casino
Although the various gambling areas never felt crowded, we were hard-pressed to find cocktail waitresses upstairs in the sushi bar area. Lines for the restaurants often required 40-minute wait. We ended up making a reservation in the Napa Bistro to avoid them.
Mostly I circulated with my 35mm, 1.8 trusty Nikkor lens. It’s a nice low-profile lens that does not draw attention and is wide enough to get in numerous elements of a scene. I found this four-footed patron catching a quick nap below his machines.
Other than a few more of the gigantic slots I’ve seen in the past few years, I didn’t notice much different in the machines themselves. However, the Atlantis appeared to have underdone some nice renovation work. The non-smoking area on the main floor was not bad, though I wish more casinos followed the lead of Red Hawk, with an entire floor dedicated to those who don’t smoke.
Shooting in the dark
As usual, when shooting in dark casinos with bright slot machines, I tend to expose for the highlights to avoid blowing them out, but then since I want some detail in the shadows, do slow down the shutter a stop or two, bracketing to decide what I like the best later. A flash for candids would surely be obnoxious, and I like the weird, over-the-top colors you often get. I leave my white balance on auto and play with it later.
The other location I love to visit in Reno is the Nevada Museum of Art. Their current exhibit on the “Victorian Radicals” was super cool and I learned a lot about the pre-Raphaelites, as they called themselves. Check out this view from the fourth floor.
Upward and onward
Finally, I took this shot because the perspective and eye-catching neon on the elevator was too cool to pass up. I also like the symbolism of the county and parts of the world “moving up.” We in the first world are particularly lucky to have had such relatively quick access to the vaccines, and things are definitely looking much better here. Onward and upward!
* * *