The Fountains of Bellagio, Las Vegas

One of the must-do things in Las Vegas is watching the Fountains of Bellagio in a show of water, music and light.

Because it’s so crowded down there (and I’m sooo not used to crowds anymore) I decided to go with my tripod and only one lens.

Whenever I go with one lens I almost always choose my 24-105L because it’s so versatile. In the case of the fountain it would have been nice to have my wide angle, but these are the sacrifices we make!

As the water danced across the pool in intricate designs and patterns I was photographing at as wide an angle as I could: 24mm. I wasn’t staying in one of the fancy hotels with a view of the fountain either, so I had to make due with the street level view.

I tried to get as far back as I could, without stepping onto the street behind me, so I could include some other features like the street lamp and silhouettes of the onlookers.

Please click any of the images to view larger versions.

Fountains of Bellagio, Las Vegas, by Anne McKinnell

In my first attempt at photographing the fountain the show went by very fast! I realized I was missing half of the potential shots because after I take an image it is displayed on the LCD screen for 2 seconds before I can take the next shot.

Before the next show started, I turned that feature off which allowed me to take continuous shots throughout the show.

Fountains of Bellagio, Las Vegas, by Anne McKinnell

Once I got that right I moved to a new location on the other side of the fountain where I could get the Eiffel Tower from the Paris Hotel in the background.

Fountains of Bellagio, Las Vegas, by Anne McKinnell

It’s a bit tricky to get the exposure right because it changes based on the amount of water visible at any given moment.

If a ton of water suddenly shoots up into the sky, the lights on the water will be extremely bright and totally blow out all the highlights in your image.

What I did was set my camera to ISO400 and f/16 and then if there was only a little bit of water I would do a 2 second exposure. If there was a lot of water, I would quickly change it to a 1 second exposure.

I just kept taking images throughout the show without attempting to time what was happening with the water.

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13 Responses to “The Fountains of Bellagio, Las Vegas”

  1. LensScaper says:

    A difficult scenario to shoot but that last image is ‘the one’. It’s the little things: the tilted heads, the light on the man’s neck and the visibility of his spectacles and the height of the fountain just matching the Eiffel tower. Well captured, Anne
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  2. Arun says:

    Wonderful captures, thanks for sharing – in particular your settings at the end.

    Regards
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  3. Edith Levy says:

    You did a great job capturing the beauty of the fountains. It’s a beautiful show to watch.
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  4. V K Valpadi says:

    the beauty of the fountains arrested by you in your camera is a great as well as wonderful art.You can say that you are still a student of photography but those who see your photographs they will say you,’miracle photographer’. no chance to create a comment on your photos because pictures says a lot of words which we cant say or imagine. thank you for sharing your works with all others,I am greatful for you,
    with love and regards,
    V K valpadi
    mudubidire
    Karnataka-Inadia

    • Wow, thank you so much for that very generous comment VK! I don’t think I’ve been called a “miracle photographer” before!! I am still a student of photography and hope I always will be. That’s one of the things I like most about photography — there is always more to learn.

  5. Albert says:

    Wonderful picture! Thanks for sharing!
    I learn a lot. I also tried to take photos of the Fountains of Bellagio, but didn’t get satisfactory pictures.
    I tried to take the whole fountains instead part of them, which makes them very small.
    I tried to use fast exposure to freeze the water, which makes them not so dramatic.
    Next time will try you ways.
    Thank Anne!

  6. When I have been there I didn’t even take regular photos. Just filmed the show ;). Also I realize that many people don’t about this attraction, but there is another free to watch show in Wynn Las Vegas, called the Lake of Dreams. I did not know about the show there, until I booked a stay at Wynn, and saw the show from my window.It called The Lake of Dreams and it’s another water show, but instead of fountains, like in the Bellagio they are doing affects on the water, like changing their color or firing objects from the water.
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    • Thank you very much for your visit and comments! And for letting me know about the free show at the Wynn. I’ll check that out next time I’m in Vegas. It sounds like it might be harder to photograph, but I’m up for a challenge!

  7. Laura Lopes says:

    I think the last image is the one! The water is soft and I like the way the lines are all vertical, creating a great composition with the tower.

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