Lake Tahoe features some of the bluest, clearest water in North America. Accompanied by sandy relaxing beaches, soaring pine trees and white frosted mountain peaks, Lake Tahoe is truly a photographic marvel. Visitors to Tahoe don't often realize until they take in the view personally that this lake is huge. It's circumference is about 70 miles, and can take at least an hour to drive from South Lake to North Tahoe on winding, narrow roads.
On this trip to Lake Tahoe, I wanted and planned to do more unique and experimental exposures. Although I am always looking for new and creative ways to approach photography, I was inspired by the techniques of another landscape photographer and friend, Abe Blair. I had seen how he set up his long exposures while flying a drone overhead to essentially “light paint” the subject. And with Lake Tahoe’s crystal clear blue water and unique terrain around it, I had to try myself!
By the time I hiked down to an ideal area late at night, there was no one around. I began to set up all the equipment - tripod, drone, various LED lighting and wide lenses. The moon was rising, but low, which I hoped would add to the composition and ethereal lighting. Even in the moonlight alone, the clear water welcomed the lunar glow below, slightly illuminating the sand and submerged details. Then as the lighted drone buzzed up to its hovering height, the water glow became incredibly surreal! It was a view unlike anything I have seen and the color effect reminded me of bioluminescence. I mostly experimented with shutter speeds that wildly affected light depth, water clarity and color brightness. During my haste to find the best compositions with a 14mm lens, I occasionally found myself dancing in the cold snow water with my tripod. Along with the classic Tahoe boulders, jagged pine trees and wet sandy feet, I began capturing as many exposures as I could before the drone and light ran out of battery above.
I could tell with quick exposure reviews that I had something special inside my camera. It might have been a little cold, frustrating and equipment intensive, but It was filled with excitement. however, I was confident that I had images that absolutely showcased a magical Lake Tahoe nocturnal scene featuring translucent and levitating blue water.
Lake Tahoe, Nevada USA
Limited Editions 100
Artist Proofs 5
World's Top 10 Landscape Photographers 2019 Finalist Award