Sunday, December 24, 2017

My Top 10 Tahoe Area Photos of 2017

Looking back at my top 10 post from last year, I realized that 2017 was very similar to 2016 for Scott Shot Photography. Again, I was incredibly busy with shooting virtual tours and commercial photography. And again I was incredibly lucky to photograph many amazing Tahoe area landscape scenes. It was again very hard to narrow the choice down to 10. (To see all of my favorites over the last year, I would suggest scrolling through my facebook or instagram pages.)

Near the end of 2016 I purchased a new camera, the Canon 5DS R. I have absolutely loved using this camera for all of my photos in 2017. The 50.6 megapixel image sensor helps produce incredibly detailed and sharp large prints. I have also been using Lee lens filters this year and I'm a huge fan of being able to use a polarizer with graduated neutral density filters. An underwater housing for the Canon was also added to my tool kit and that has opened up a whole new realm of creative possibilities. It's been a fun year using all this new equipment.

So what are my top 10 Tahoe area photos? Here they are below. These images and more are available to view, purchase, and order at the Vista Gallery in Kings Beach (Lake Tahoe), at Word After Word Bookshop in Downtown Truckee, California, and at my website Thank you for looking!

My Top 10 Tahoe Area Photos of 2017
(In order they were shot. Click on the photos for a larger view and purchasing info.)

1.   Truckee is where I have lived with my wife and son for the past 15 years. I love this town. Historic Downtown Truckee is the center of activity and has provided me with many beautiful small town scenes over the years. This photo was shot from near The Cottonwood restaurant a favorite view spot of mine. 

"Downtown Truckee 26" - Photograph of a snowy historic Downtown Truckee, shot in the morning after a big snow storm.

2.   Kings Beach, Lake Tahoe is a great place to hang out at in the Summer and enjoy the warm sun and sand. But it's not usually the first place I think of when I grab my camera gear and head out. This day I did decide to shoot the icy shoreline along Kings Beach and boy was I glad I did. It's not the usual big granite boulders and aqua blue water look. However the long exposure, cool tones and warm tones, and the ice and water all came together to give a unique and interesting look to Lake Tahoe. 

"Icy Tahoe Shoreline" - Photograph of any icy frozen shoreline in Kings Beach, Lake Tahoe. Shot just after sunset.

3.   Bonsai Rock.... If you are a fan of Lake Tahoe photos or you follow any Tahoe photo social media pages, you've seen thousands of images of this rock with it's tiny trees on top. It's very difficult to get a unique look. But I think I nailed it with this combination of snow, stormy clouds, super clear water, and a sun setting on the horizon. What do you think?

"Bonsai Rock Sunset 7" - Sunset photograph of the famous Bonsai Rock, coated in snow at Lake Tahoe.

4.   Rainbow Bridge, or Old Hwy 40 Bridge, is another regular location for many photographers. I have many photos of the bridge but this was a new look I decided to try. A car driving on the road during a long exposure is what made the streaking lights. That and the big moon really make this shot come alive.

"Full Moon above Donner Lake 6" - Photograph shot just after sunset of the full moon rising above Donner Lake and Rainbow Bridge in Truckee, California.

5.   Thunderbird Lodge, on the east shore of Lake Tahoe, isn't easy to get access to but photographing it from a kayak can be very rewarding. There is a lot of subject matter along the lodge's shoreline,  this little lighthouse at the property was where I decided to stay for sunset. An underwater housing on the camera let me partially submerge the camera so the lens was right on the surface. The fiery sunset reflecting on Tahoe made this worth the paddle back to Sand Harbor in the dark.

"Thunderbird Lighthouse at Sunset 1" - Photograph of the Thunderbird Lighthouse on the east shore of Lake Tahoe.

6.    Eagle Falls and Emerald Bay. Yes, another location overshot by visiting and local photographers alike. How to get a "unique" shot here...?  I visited this location with photographer Tony Spiker and we both decided panoramic photos would be a nice look with the strong flow of stream right above the falls. It was a challenge staying out of each other's photos but fun. This is a nearly 180 degree view and you can see up the stream on the right. Multiple vertical images stitched together is how I get this look, this one can be printed huge.

"Eagle Falls at Emerald Bay 3" - Photograph taken at sunset of Eagle Falls and Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe.

7.   Donner Summit is a favorite nearby spot of mine, even if I'm just going for a hike and don't expect to shoot anything. While exploring peaks and views, I realized this spot was special as it showed a good amount of Old Hwy 40. This photo was tricky to produce. Capturing multiple long exposures with cars driving on the road took patience and multiple tries. Photoshop struggled with my normal panoramic stitching method so I had to use a specialized stitching program called PTGui to get the whole road lit up. I'm patting myself on the back for this job well done...

"Full Moon Above Donner Lake 8" - Stitched panoramic photograph of a full moon rising above Hwy 80, Donner Lake, Truckee, Old Hwy40, and Rainbow Bridge.

8.  Yes, another stitched panoramic photo. Panoramic photos get requested and purchased so many times at the Vista Gallery (where I sell my prints) that I have been trying to add more to my archive.  This Lake Tahoe east shore scene was another great addition. Shooting a wide angle lens vertically helps get an ultra wide and interesting look.

"Tahoe Boulders at Sunset 18" - Stitched panoramic photograph of boulders at Hidden Beach, Lake Tahoe. Photographed at sunset with fall colors in the foreground.

 9.   The Fall colors were great this year. I had many other Autumn shots that almost made this top 10 list but the oranges and yellows in this one really grabbed my eye's attention, so bright and vibrant. I used two flash units to light up the tree in the foreground, otherwise it would have been a silhouette. 

"Donner Lake Sunrise 17" - Sunrise photograph of a vibrant orange sunrise, a dock, and a bush with Fall colors at Donner Lake in Truckee, California.

10.  I told you I have many photos of Rainbow Bridge... It's only about a 20 minute drive from my house so sunrises aren't too difficult for me to capture here. This is a classic view of the bridge but the beautiful sunrise, fog over Donner Lake, and light snow on the ground all came together to create a unique scene that I am very happy with. 

Thank you for checking out my top ten 2017 Tahoe area photos! If you have any questions about any of them, please comment on this post below. Check back again next year, hopefully my top 10 will be even better...

-Scott Thompson

Full screen slideshow of the images (best viewed on a large monitor) -

Large limited edition prints, gift items, and image licensing of the photos are available.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Lake Tahoe Panoramic Photos

Over the past few years, I've been getting a lot more requests for panoramic format prints at the Vista Gallery and elsewhere. Well, why not... They are more work than traditional format photos but the results can be amazing. When I go out for landscape photos lately, I've been trying to get panoramic photos if the composition allows for it. They are all many exposures, some as many as 30, that are stitched together in Photoshop to create an ultra wide pano view. Some of these are over 180 degrees wide.

A new gallery has been added to my website that is dedicated to the panoramic photos I've been capturing. There is a slideshow of these images below but here is a link to the gallery on my website where you can click on individual images and see prices by clicking "add to cart".
Tahoe Area Panoramic Photo Gallery:

These panoramas tends to be different size ratios, depending on the scene. They can all be printed HUGE to just about any custom length you want. Many of them can be divided into three prints for a nice triptych look. I can print them personally on canvas or they can be ordered as metal prints or acrylic mounted prints from professional labs. For a price quote on large custom panoramic prints, please email me at Thank you!

-Scott Thompson

The Lake Tahoe area panoramic photos above are all available as large fine art prints, photo gift items, and to license and download as stock photography

New "Recent Work" Gallery Added

A new gallery of images has been added to my website I decided to add a "Recent Work" gallery that contains, you guessed it, my most recent photographs. This will update every time I add new fine art landscape photos (not all of the commercial photography work that I do).  Please check back every once in a while and see what I've been up to!

Recent Work gallery:

Recent Work slideshow:

All of the photographs above are available as large limited edition fine art prints, printed by Scott Thompson personally.

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.