Thursday, December 22, 2016

My Top 10 Tahoe Area Photos of 2016

It's time for my favorite blog post of the year! Every year I look back through my archive and pick out what I feel were my top 10 photographs of the year.

Oh what a year it has been! I added many new images to my archive. I was incredibly busy with commercial and Real Estate photography. I had a great summer selling prints at the Vista Gallery. And I recently bought a new camera. Thank you to everyone who has hired me, bought prints, and  shared and liked my photos on social media. You have helped make this a great year for me.

Here are my top 10, in order that they were shot:

1.  I finally caught a double rainbow!  The weather was perfect for rainbows this day, I kept seeing a single rainbow and I got many photos of it. But while shooting Downtown Truckee, suddenly a double rainbow appeared and gave me this incredible scene:

"Double Rainbow Above Downtown Truckee" - Photograph of an intense double rainbow above a snowy historic Downtown Truckee, California.

2.   It's always a tough choice when it comes to picking a spot to shoot a sunset on Donner Summit. There are tons of photo opportunities up there. This day, I decided to shoot this old stump instead of shooting under Rainbow Bridge. Boy am I glad I did!

"Donner Lake Sunrise 13" - Photograph of a vibrant sunrise above Donner Lake and Rainbow Bridge with a old dead stump in the foreground.
"Donner Lake Sunrise 13" - Photograph of a vibrant sunrise above Donner Lake and Rainbow Bridge with a old dead stump in the foreground.

3.  and  4.   Two of my favorites were shot at the same location, a couple days apart. The Camas at Sagehen Meadows is always a fun spot to shoot in the spring if the wildflowers bloom big. This year I got out for some night/sunrise fun with a couple photographer friends. Then, when it started snowing a couple days later, I got out again for one of my all time favorite images. When I look at the snowy, soft, abstract scene, I feel at peace.

"Sagehen Meadow at Night 1" - Photograph of the Camas wildflowers at Sagehen Meadows, near Truckee, California at night.

"Snowy Sagehen Meadows 2" - This field of Camas wildflowers was photographed during a snow storm at Sagehen Meadows, near Truckee, California.

5.  Photography is my fav, but fishing is another way I love to spend my time. Just about every year I participate in the Jake's on the Lake  charity fishing derby. This year there was a little smoke in the air. Mix that with a sunrise on Lake Tahoe and you get this:

6.  OK, now this was a fun one to shoot. I knew I was getting something special. Lake Tahoe's water level rose and flooded some of the lupine along the shoreline. The lupine are always a favorite for Tahoe photographers but this is a look you don't see often.

7.  Who doesn't love fireworks?! This was shot from near the fire lookout above Kings Beach, Lake Tahoe. The Vista Gallery, where I sell my prints out of, can be seen in this shot.

"Kings Beach Fireworks 1" - Photograph of the 4th of July fireworks show above Kings Beach, Lake Tahoe.

8.  Where's Waldo? Or, Tony Spiker anyway... This was an incredible sunset that I captured by taking many photos and stitching them together in Photoshop in order to create a panoramic format that can be printed LARGE. Bonus, my friend Tony is in the photo, getting his own shot. You might have to click on the image and view it on my website in order to find him...

9.  Aspens and Lake Tahoe! I was introduced to this location this year, I have a feeling I'll be back. It was a great year for the aspen fall colors and when you have a background like that, you can't go wrong.

10.  New toys! Well really it's a tool for work but it still feels like a new toy. I recently purchased a Canon 5D SR. It's one of Canon's 50.6 megapixel cameras and I'm loving it.  I haven't had time to get too many landscape images with it yet but here's one, a long exposure during windy/wavy conditions. I really look forward to getting many new images with this camera in 2017. 

Cheers to 2016! May 2017 be even better!

-Scott Thompson

The images above are available as large fine art prints or as stock photography. Please click on an image to view it on my website and for purchasing options. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Camas at Sagehen Meadows near Truckee/Tahoe

"Sagehen Meadows at Night 1"

Many years ago, shortly after I had moved to Truckee, my family went for a hike with some friends to Sagehen Meadows. The hike there was nice but the meadow was incredible. It was filled with purple camas wildflowers surrounded by green pine trees. I knew I would have to go back some time with my camera.

In 2005 I went back with my Canon EOS3 film camera and captured the image below. It was an incredible year for the camas. I was very happy with the image I got but when I eventually made the switch to digital photography, I really wanted to capture the sea of purple again.

"Camas at Sagehen Meadow"

I have gone back to this meadow just about every spring since and unfortunately, it has never been quite as incredible. Some recent years, there has barely been any purple at all. But that changed this year! Sagehen Meadows was once again exploding with color! And this time I had my Canon 5D MarkII to capture the images in a resolution that could be printed big enough to do the scene justice. Below are a couple photos I captured recently (as well at the image at the top of this blog post).

"Sagehen Meadows Sunrise 3" - These Camas wildflowers were photographed at sunrise in Sagehen Meadows, near Truckee, California.

"Snowy Sagehen Meadows 2" - This field of Camas wildflowers was photographed during a snow storm at Sagehen Meadows, near Truckee, California.

Sagehen Meadows is next to Saghen Creek, on the west side of Stampede Reservoir, just outside of Truckee, California. Many people have asked me recently were the meadow is so I'll spill the beans. Here is a link to information on the hiking trail to the meadow:  I will also tell you that there is a way to 4x4 on a dirt road to the location, but there are many forks in the road and it would be hard to explain without showing, sorry.

The camas have already peaked this year but you can still see some purple out there. We recieved a couple inches of snow in the meadow a few days ago and unfortunately, that did some damage to the flower petals so it's not quite as photogenic as it was. But even when the camas aren't blooming, it's still a great place for a hike so get on out there!

Here is a slideshow of images I've shot over the years. All of the images are available as large limited edition prints, printed by me personally. Thanks for looking!

-Scott Thompson

Sagehen Meadows - Images by Scott Thompson

Sunday, March 27, 2016

The Amazing Fly Geyser - Photography Slideshow

Bucket-list item, check! I never thought I'd actually be lucky enough to shoot this incredible sight but last week, I did! The famous man made Fly Geyser. It's tough to shoot because it sits on protected private property in Nevada near the town of Gerlach. But I was incredibly lucky that a good friend was able to get us access. Tony Spiker of Spiker Photography got the green light when he approached the property owners with a fundraising project. I'll post a link to his project when he has everything ready to go. 

Fly Geyser was amazing to shoot. I can't believe how many different looks it can have in less than a 24 hour period. The tufa part of the geyser is made up of different minerals and the vibrant colors are due to the thermophilic algae on it. The colors shine through on daylight, sunset, sunrise, and night shots. A little extra light on the geyser from flashlights and/or camera flashes can really bring out the color in difficult lighting conditions. The spraying water and steam are constant which made for some great long exposures.  It was so much fun to shoot!

More information about the geyser can be found on it's Wikipedia page: 

Please enjoy this Fly Geyser slideshow below. A full screen slideshow can be viewed by CLICKING HERE.  These images are available to purchase as large fine art prints, printed by me personally, through my website and through Tahoe area art galleries. 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

My 10 Best Tahoe Photos of 2015

It's that time of year again. Time for one of my favorite blog posts. Where I look back at all the photos I took during the year and pick my 10 favorite. I shot many cool photos this year but these stood out as my best Tahoe area photos. Please enjoy, and Happy New Year!

This one looks amazing as a 40"x60" canvas print. You can check the big canvas out at the Vista Gallery in Kings Beach.  I knew when I was shooting it that was a special sunset.

"Sunset at Lake Tahoe 32" - Photograph of a pink sunset over Heavenly Ski Resort and Lake Tahoe, shot from Tahoe City. Shot 2015-02-02

A classic angle at Rainbow Bridge. I usually shoot at this spot a few times a year. And I finally got a fog covered Donner Lake with an amazing sunrise. You can check out this as a 40"x60" canvas at Art Obsessions art gallery in Downtown Truckee
"Sunrise at Rainbow Bridge 1" - This colorful sunrise was photographed at Rainbow Bridge, above a fog covered Donner Lake and Truckee, California. Shot 2015-02-19

The iconic "Bonsai Rock" at lake Tahoe is shot by many photographers. I have shot it many times myself. But on this visit I found some wildflowers blooming. It made for a great foreground and a different look to Bonsai Rock.
"Wildflowers at Bonsai Rock 1" - These wildflowers were photographed along the East shore of Lake Tahoe at Bonsai Rock. Shot 2015-04-30

Sometimes the colors of Lake Tahoe's water is unreal. But it is real. The blues, greens, and aquas are something you need to check out it person to believe.
"Boulders at Lake Tahoe 43" - Photograph of boulders along the East shore of a very blue Lake Tahoe, just north of Sand Harbor. Shot 2015-04-30

Well, this might be my favorite for the year.  The lupine blooms were amazing all around Lake Tahoe. The last time I saw it bloom this big was in 2004. I shot many photos of the lupine but this one at night with the Milky Way was awesome.
"Tahoe Lupine at Night 2" - Photograph taken just before sunrise of Lupine wildflowers, the night's sky, the Milky Way, and Lake Tahoe. Shot 2015-06-17

I love shooting Donner Lake from Donner Summit. There's such a variety of foreground subjects and the lake always makes a beautiful addition to any photo.  Add a stunning sunset and you get this.
"Wildflowers Above Donner Lake 1" - These wildflowers were photographed at sunset above Donner Lake in Truckee, California. Shot 2015-07-01

This was a fun one to shoot while hanging out with my friend Tony Spiker of The Milky Way, Lake Tahoe, and some trees on the side of a granite cliff. It all made for a pretty cool shot. 
"Milky Way Over Lake Tahoe 1" - Photograph of the Milky Way and other stars over Lake Tahoe at night. Shot 2015-09-07

Another spot I go to on a regular basis. Sometimes to walk my dog, sometimes for photography fun. It's a spot that only takes a couple minutes to get to after I drop my son off at school in the morning. Some mornings are better than others, I thought this was one of those better mornings. 
"Donner Lake Morning 9" - Donner Lake and Donner Summit photographed from the East end of the lake, also know as "dog beach". Shot 2015-09-17

It was cold on this morning. The early season snow blanketed the Martis Valley, the trees, and the mountains. I found this one lone tree that made for a simple yet cool composition. I like looking as this photo as I find it calming. 
"Snowy Martis Valley 4" - Photograph of a lone tree in a snow covered Martis Valley in Truckee, California. Shot 2015-11-05

This photo went "viral" and was shared on Facebook over 1,000 times. It was my most shared and liked image of all time! Like I said in it's post, Truckee is one of those towns that is magical during the holidays. Downtown gets a little extra light from all the Christmas lights. And we had snow this year, a great relief for everyone! Here's a link to the post that went viral:  Facebook Post Link While your there, please give my page a like!
"Downtown Truckee 22" - Photograph of historic Downtown Truckee, California, shot at dusk. Shot 2015-12-12

I would say that it was a good year for Scott Shots Photography. I added a ton of new photos to my archive and business was up. Thank you to everyone who enjoys, likes and shares my photos! And thank you to everyone who has bought prints, licensed images, or hired me for photo shoots! I'm a lucky man to be able to make a living with a camera. 

Cheers to 2015! May 2016 be even better!

For a larger view of these photos and for purchasing information, please click on the images. These images are available to order from or from local fine art galleries as large fine art prints, printed by Scott Thompson personally. Images are also available as photo gift items or as stock photography.