ImageSpotlight: Lake Tahoe, Nevada

Recently, my family and I took a vacation to Lake Tahoe, Nevada. It is one beautiful lake and a wonderful place to visit. It is also a fun place to photograph. While this was first and foremost a family vacation, I did manage to find some time to get out and photograph the beautiful landscape. On occasion, that meant dragging my family along some trail in search of the right shot. Being the troopers that they are, they went along without ever complaining. On this particular image, the trail was somewhat treacherous so I went at it alone.

Photographing in the mountains is a very challenging endeavor as there is such a contrast between shadow and light. Over the lake, one side or the other will have a dark haze, depending on whether you photograph in the morning or late afternoon light. That haze causes a loss of detail across the mountain range and the water appears dark. However, what is most striking about Lake Tahoe is the clarity and deep rich blue/aqua colors. To get images showcasing these characteristics, one has to shoot in the late morning (10:00-11:00) or early afternoon (2:00-3:00). This presents its own challenges as the light is often harsher but it is in this light that one can capture the vibrant colors and clarity of the lake. It took me several attempts of trial and error to figure this out but fortunately I did.

Using a circular polarizer is helpful to cut down on any reflections across the water’s surface. In this image, I used a circular polarizer, and 2-stop neutral density filter to cut down the brightness of the day. I also used a 3-stop graduated neutral density filter to balance the sky and rocks below. On my last day of shooting, I was able to capture the image below. In the weeks ahead, I will share a gallery of images from this trip. Until next time, enjoy the great outdoors. — Kevin

Lake Tahoe: Canon 1Ds MkII | 24-70/2.8 @ 43mm | ISO 50 | f22 | circular polarizer | 2-stop ND + 3-stop graduated ND filter.

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