Friday, October 29, 2010

My new Furry Family Member.

On October 22, I was downtown on East Fremont Street shooting a couple Polaroids from a camera I found in a thrift store that had 5 exposures left in it. I was testing out the cool, expired film on some of my favorite motel signs (Blue Angel, Par-A-Dice).
After shooting a shot of the Par-A-Dice motel, I looked down near the curb of the sidewalk and a construction cone to notice an innocent, tiny kitten just sitting there taking in the sun while a few people walked past every now and then.

Being the cat lover I am, I approached the lonely kitten and she jumped towards me as if she was waiting for someone to come along and pay attention to her. I always have a nice sized backpack with me when I go out shooting, so I took a few things out and quickly picked up the kitten and into my backpack she went. (Of course, I kept the zipper open at the top for air).

I quickly made my way to the bus stop in front of the Blue Angel Motel. Once on the bus, I began thinking of name ideas for this kitten. I picked "Fremont" if it was a boy, since I found the kitten on "Fremont" Street and if it was a girl (which the kitten is) I would name her "Angel" since the kitten was behind the Blue "Angel" Motel.

We finally got home and I got to work setting her up in the bathroom. Some fluffy blankets, cat toys, litter box, and most importantly- wet cat food & milk/water! Angel was very thin, probably had lived on the streets for at least a month. I have been keeping her well fed and gave her a good bath.

I'm really grateful that I came across this kitten while downtown- it makes me happy knowing there is one less stray cat on the streets.
My father recently passed away and I sort of feel like, in some what he guided me to this kitten while I was out and about. (I found her a week after his passing). My dad was a cat lover himself and had grown up around cats during his life just as I have. :-)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Lucky thrift store finds & I saved a Kitten!

Wild and fun day! Went downtown to my fav. thrift shop and found a Polaroid camera w/ some expired film left in it for $2..very fun, expired film! I then checked out the records as always and found 3 Blondie records for just 75 cents each! Lucky day at the thrift store I'd say.
After that, I walked down to East Fremont to test out the expired Polaroid on some motel signage. After taking a few shots, I looked down toward the curb of the sidewalk and noticed a tiny, innocent, scared kitten! Not even a month old & super thin.
I quickly took out some of the things in my big backpack and carried them in plastic bags on my arm, went up to the kitten and carried her in my backpack. (she had a lot of space and just peeked up at me and layed down.)
Couldn't get picked up to get home quicker, so I paced to the bus stop in front of Blue Angel motel. We sat in the back once the bus arrived. She was so calm throughout the long bus ride, not even meowing- just crawling around in the backpack a few times.
I got home a little while ago and have her all set up in the bathroom with a cat bed, toy, blanket, milk/water, & wet food. She's resting now and has been purring and seems to be happy she finally has food! Very adorable kitten. I just still can't believe where I found her..right behind the Blue Angel Motel/Par-A-Dice motel..dangerously close to cars and construction.

I came up with name ideas in the bus. Since she's a girl, I'll call her Angel because I found her behind the Blue "Angel" motel. If it had been a boy, I would have named him Fremont since I found the kitten on Fremont Street!
I sort of feel like my dad may have somehow sent me to that area today to ultimately rescue that kitten. My dad grew up with cats like I did. I'm just really grateful to have been in the right place at the right time and that this precious kitten is off the street tonight!

~ Nick Leonard

Friday, September 24, 2010

A "tweet update," and I was meeting Gwen Stefani!

Surfing through Las Vegas blogs on the Internet, I found out that Gwen Stefani would be in Vegas soon for the unveiling of her wax figure at Madame Tussuads Wax Museum. I quickly contacted my pal, Sally Steele of Vegas Rocks! Magazine to see if she could score us some media passes to photograph Gwen once she was in town. A week later, I received a call from Sally informing me that she was doing all she could to achieve a photo pass for this event, and that the chances of getting approved were not looking good. The day before the event, I had decided that the next morning I would still make my way down to the Wax Museum in hopes of possibly catching a glimpse of Gwen.

The morning of September 22, 2010 I caught the bus at 9:00a.m. and headed for the Strip. Before I left home, I logged on to Twitter, went to No Doubt's page and turned 'on' mobile updates so that any tweets Gwen made that morning would be sent to my phone. Since I don't have Internet on my cell phone, I thought it would be a good idea to receive text updates.
"@NoDoubt Vegas no doubters. Wanna meet me? First 5 right now to M Tussuad's VIP check in win passes to meet me! Vegas here we come..."
I was in shock at the tweet I had just read, and began pacing through tourists down the sidewalk towards Madame Tussuads! I couldn't have been more happy that the buses were all running on schedule that morning! About 7 minutes later, I was at Madame Tussuads ticket area and noticed a guy sitting at a table next to the ticket windows. There were no signs, just a clip board so I assumed that was the media check in. I got out my phone and showed him the tweet and asked if I was in the correct area. To my surprise, I was in the right spot and was the first person out of the five who would win passes to show up! He then told me just to stand by for about 10-15 minutes and then they will hand out the passes. During that time, Sally gave me a call and told me she was on her way down to Madame Tussuads to just see if there was any chance they would credential her a photo pass.

Two super No Doubt fans showed up at the media table, one gal actually had a Gwen Stefani portrait tattoo on her leg! I walked over to the table and the man handed over the meet & greet passes!!! I had thought there would only be only one VIP pass in the envelop but instead all five people that 'won' the giveaway had two meet and greet passes. Sally had arrived and I quickly told her about what I had just won. The winners were directed up to the gift shop to wait until the unveiling of Gwen's wax figure would begin. Sally met up with me again about 20 minutes later and she still was not given a credential to photograph, so I offered her the second VIP pass I had so that she could still at least see Stefani. Sally thought it was awesome how this winning happened all thanks to a simple tweet Gwen posted.

After about an hour, we (Twitter giveaway winners & radio winners) were taken into the room where there was a small stage where the unveiling would take place. Inside the dimly lit, No Doubt/Gwen Stefani filled room courtesy of a DJ, were press photographers, about 20 winners from various contests inside for the meet and greet, and a table lined with lots of candy. From sour gummy worms to lollipops, jellybeans and M&Ms- I filled a little bag with a variety of the sugary goods. Soon enough, a spokesperson for Madam Tussauds took the stage and gave her thanks to everyone behind the making of Gwen Stefani's wax figure and of course a thanks to Gwen herself! She then welcomed Gwen to the stage and with sounds of cheer from fans, Gwen emerged from curtains on the side of the room where Sally and I were standing all smiles and waving to everyone. The room was filled with sounds of camera shutters as the photographers began photographing Gwen next to her wax likeness! She posed for just the right amount of time so that every photographer got their shot.

Polaroid of Gwen Stefani's wax figure (© Nick Leonard)

Gwen then left the room and the PR people let all of us know she would be back in about ten minutes for the meet & greet. We were then arranged in a U-shaped line and were allowed to have anything we wanted signed by Gwen once she returned and made her way down the line, but that photos with her would be done on the stage by her and the wax figure. Some fans had posters they wanted signed, while others had their VIP pass or shirt ready to be signed. However, I was prepared with my Polaroid Spectra camera around my neck. I was hoping on snapping a quick portrait of her once she got to me in line, and then signing the Polaroid. Sure enough, the doors opened and in walked Gwen ready to sign away!

Two above photos were shot by Erik Kabik

I kept my fingers crossed that the Polaroid idea would work out. Finally, Gwen got to my place in line and was very friendly. I showed her my Polaroid camera and asked if it would be alright to take her photograph to sign.

About to snap a Polaroid of Gwen! (photo by Erik Kabik)

She was very cool about it and agreed to pose, noting that it was neat how I was using a Polaroid camera and that the film must be hard to come by. I told her thank you, and that it is difficult to find- that I mostly search out deals on the web when they come up. I took her photo and handed her the shot for her to sign. As she was signing, I told her I was at No Doubt's May 2009 show at Mandalay Bay and it was an amazing show. She smiled and said she was glad I made it down to the concert.
I couldn't wait for the Polaroid to finish developing. After a few minutes, I looked at the shot and began to shake a little bit... I was so thrilled with the quality and just the shot itself! Getting that Polaroid definitely meant a lot.

Polaroid portrait of Gwen Stefani (© Nick Leonard)

The line began moving as people started going up either two at a time or one at a time to get a photo shot by the Madame Tussauds photographer with Gwen and her wax figure. The cool thing about getting the photo was that after it was shot, prints were made and we each received a 5x7 copy of our picture!

Gwen Stefani & myself (shot by MT staff)

Shot by Erik Kabik

After everything wrapped up, I couldn't get over how well my luck was that day. It's just crazy to me- by deciding to set mobile updates to 'on' from No Doubt's Twitter feed, and the buses being on time I was able to meet Gwen Stefani!?!? A lucky day I will not soon forget!

~ Nick Leonard

P.S. My friend, Erik Kabik was one of the photographers at this event, so be sure to check out his photos of Gwen and her wax figure by clicking here!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Your vote?

Hi there!
My "shoe gazing" photo made it in the top 3 under the "street fashion" category in Venus Zine's first annual photo contest!
I'd love your vote on my photo! Voting is unlimited and ends on September 24 at midnight.

Thank you in advance for any help.