Tag Archives: commentary

Keep Tahoe Beautiful

A summer sunrise sheds light to awaken a beautiful lupine field at Lake Tahoe

The day’s first sun rays awaken a beautiful lupine field, during a summer sunrise at Lake Tahoe.

Recently I experienced one of the most beautiful scenes I have witnessed, while photographing wildflowers at Lake Tahoe. However, even with the excitement of capturing new images, I could not ignore the sadness I felt during my visit here.

Not that long ago, this particular view could not be experienced. The recent record-low snow pack has resulted in a dramatic drop in Lake Tahoe’s water level. Due to this fact, both locals and visitors could now experience the immense beauty of an area once completely under water.

Standing in the middle of all this, taking in the breathtaking show, my goal was to photograph the beauty. However, my biggest hope is that the coming winter produces a large enough snow pack to return Lake Tahoe to a healthier level.

Landscape Photography Twilight LE Technique

One great benefit of having some interest in the sky during sunrise or sunset is the opportunity to photograph a scene at different times, and be able to come away with more than one acceptable image.

On this particular morning, there was very nice cloud cover above Lake Tahoe. Hoping to make the best of the situation, I set up to photograph not only at sunrise, but also just before and after sunrise. I also used different filter techniques to photograph each moment, so I could capture multiple effects. For this image I used a 10-stop ND filter, to show the effect of streaking pre-sunrise clouds above Emerald Bay. When shooting in the direction of the sun, I like to use a long exposure to obtain this streaking cloud effect just before sunrise and also after sunset, through twilight.

Carefully check the first couple of exposures in the camera’s viewfinder. If you notice blown-out highlights in the sky you will have to adjust the in-camera exposure. Another option is to attach a neutral density grad filter to your Big Stopper filter. This will eliminate blown-out highlights,

Seljalandsfoss Siren Sunset

The result of location planning, and a little cooperation from Mother Nature.

New Gear vs. New Travel

A while ago I found myself having to make an important decision. I had a choice; both options being great; however which one should I choose?

My new website had now generated enough sales in order for me to upgrade to a new camera. With great anticipation, I logged onto the B&H Photo website, and began the process of buying a new Nikon D800 camera body. However, just as I was about to confirm my purchase, a thought ran across my mind. Instead of new gear; why not consider travel to a place I had never been to.

After some thought, I feel that my decision really was a simple choice. While I would love to shoot with a new Nikon D800 camera, I realized that it was not a priority for me to own all the best gear; however it was a much bigger goal for me to visit as many beautiful locations as possible. It may sound cliche, but when it comes to camera gear and landscape photography; no matter how much gear you have, beautiful images can only be captured while visiting beautiful places.

Traveling, especially far away places still requires plenty of research and preparation. Even then, bad or unexpected weather can lead to disappointment. One thing I learned from my recent trip was no matter how difficult, try not to have the highest of expectations. My biggest recommendation is if you are not traveling with an organized group, do as much research on your travel destination as possible. During my preplanning I selected the  exact locations I wanted to visit, time of visit, length of stay and knew my options for overnight accommodation while at each location.

Even though some bad weather resulted in my trip being far from perfect, I have absolutely no regrets. I feel that photographing new vistas has increased my knowledge of my trade, by making me more aware of light and composition than ever before. I also have a renewed desire to be a better photographer, and a passion to embark on new travel again in the near future.

My decision to travel to Iceland resulted in an unforgettable adventure!