Getting out of town doesn’t mean leaving your Lomo behind, especially when the destination is Reno, the so-called “Biggest Little City in the World”! Two San Francisco Lomographers and their friends recently headed to Reno, Nevada, for big wins, big eats, and big fun. We took our Lomo loves along with us, not thinking twice about capturing our highlights on film. Join us on our Lomoventure!
When my friends and I leave town, we aren’t fooling around. Plans coalesce for months before our adventures: hotels are booked, carpools are formed, outfits are chosen, film is stocked, and cameras are readied. Such was the preparation for our big adventure from San Francisco, California, to Reno, Nevada, to celebrate my twenty-ninth birthday.
Why Reno, you ask? Why not? Reno, known lovingly as “The Biggest Little City in the World” is seen by some as the little sister of Las Vegas: a place where gambling is legal, buffets are abundant, and things can get a little weird… just as we like it. I hadn’t been there since I was a little kid, forgoing casinos for the tranquility of nearby Lake Tahoe; now that I’m older and have to be more mature, I find myself compelled to chaos. Was chaos in Reno? Oh, but of course. If you’re one of those people who demands “pictures, or it didn’t happen,” then look on!
We started the journey from San Francisco with a LomoKino, LC-Wide, and Pentax K1000 in tow, feeling ready to shoot whatever caught our fancy. It was obvious when we hit snow near Lake Tahoe that the LomoKino had to play witness to a chilly snowball fight on the side of the road.
We arrived at the John Ascuaga’s Nugget in Sparks, Nevada – just outside of Reno – in the evening, joining forces with three other caravans who had already arrived. If you think all the fun of Reno exists in the casinos, bars, and on the streets, you’re wrong: as they say, “Ain’t no party like a hotel party.”
Eventually, however, you might want to leave your room for the glories of the wild outdoors. In this case, that meant karaoke at El Cortez Lounge in Reno.
After our long night out, the next morning found us wandering the sunshine streets of downtown Reno, hitting up the Silver Legacy Buffet, seeing strange touristic sights, and scouring Junkee, one of the best thrift stores we’ve ever been to.
We went back to the hotel where most of us napped, ate dinner, and got free drinks while playing craps in our hotel casino. I can’t say that any of us were gambling winners that night, but we surely won at life: walking the streets and feeling like we’d travelled through time; dominating the stage and the dance floor at Cal Neva karaoke; and being hosted until the wee hours at St. James Infirmary, playing rock and roll jams on one of the best juke boxes we’ve ever encountered and a sneaking into their temperamental black and white photobooth. I could not have asked for a more magical way to ring in my twenty-ninth year of life.
All in all, it was one of the best trips we’ve ever been on. Like all good experiences, it has stayed with us… even haunting us while traipsing through the lush, serene Japanese Tea Gardens in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.