Viva Las Vegas 2012>> Night Call

From a photographer’s standpoint, there’s lots to love about Viva Las Vegas. While a good lot of the events I shoot are held in the middle of the day in harsh sunshine (oh the tragedy of living in California!), Viva presents the opportunity to shoot cars in a variety of interesting lighting conditions.

The last time I visited the show in 2010, I discovered you could enter the showgrounds on the evening before the main event. It was a fine opportunity to capture the cars as the sun was going down with the bright lights of the Vegas Strip shining in the background.

Throw in the fact that very few people are walking around the parking lot at this time, and you have a recipe for some photography fun. Needless to say, I made sure to do another evening visit this year.

As the sun dipped below the horizon and the flood lights came on, you’d begin to pick up elements you might not notice in the middle of the day.

Satin paintjobs in particular take on an entirely different look in lower light.

Smaller details like these hood louvers also stand out in the soft light, both through the camera lens and through the naked eye.

Flaked paint jobs as well take on a unique personality in this twilight hour.

Earlier in the evening there was still a fair amount of activity in the lot, but as the light grew dimmer most poeple had retreated into the hotel for a night of Rockabilly partying.

Besides the lighting conditions, the quiet atmosphere allows one to really appreciate the cars. It’s probably the thing I look forward to most about Viva Las Vegas.

It’s actually a little eerie having all these great cars gathered with so few humans in sight. It’s like a ghost car show.

Lovely finned Mopar beauty. This is another one of the many California-based cars that made the trip over to Vegas.

This stock looking Merc meanwhile came down from Utah. I even spotted some plates from as far away as Pennsylvania.

’49-’54 Chevys are one of the quintessential custom platforms, but it’s always nice to see the earlier Bowties done up in similar style.

Love the exposed rivets here. Very military-esque.

Speaking of military, this patina reminds of me a vehicle you’d see fighting in the North Africa theater of World War Two.

Beautiful ’57 Nomad with steel wheels and poverty caps.

Stunning Merc out of Colorado. This another car that seemed to be getting a lot of attention this year.

We spotted this traditional Coupe heading up Cajon Pass on Interstate 15 a couple days earlier. Once again, I’d say at least 90% of the cars at Viva are driven there. Trailers are frowned upon in this scene.

When you think “American”, you think Chevy truck. This one looks tough in olive green with wide whites and steelies.

Or maybe you prefer this fender-skirted and bagged version?

Beautiful T-Bird slammed on wire wheels. Also digging the subtle patches of flake on the roof.

In addition to cars from many different US states, I spotted numerous cars with Canadian license plates – including this Oldsmobile that came all the way from Ontario.

The “Hogie Shine” was one of the more extreme Hot Rods at Viva this year.

Check out the trick coilover rear suspension.

High or low, traditional or extreme – all matter of Hot Rods were scattered across the lot.

With all the cars that came to Viva from distant lands, you can’t forget about the local Vegas cars. This Merc is one that calls Sin City home.

I do believe this ’60 Chevy has popped up on this site once or twice before.

Another one of those great matte colored bodies sitting under the lights.

So with that I’ll wrap up my main coverage of the Viva Las Vegas car show.

There’s more on the way though, including some desktops and a few car spotlights. Look for those soon.

-Mike Garrett