Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe Gallery added.

Emerald Bay Sunrise at Lake Tahoe.

After recently adding a few new Emerald Bay photographs to my website, I realized that this special place deserved a Scott Shots online gallery of it's own. Emerald Bay in Lake Tahoe, with Fannette Island sitting right in the middle of it, is one of the most photographed places in the world, but it's not one of the easiest places to photograph. 

I've been out for plenty of sunrise and sunset photos there that end up being duds with no color. It can often be overcast creating more silver looking lake, not as pretty as the deep blue or emerald colors that can be there. Also, the steep mountains surrounding Emerald Bay can hide the sun early in the afternoon, causing the waters to loose their emerald color. Snow can cause the road to close due to avalanche danger in the winter. In the summer, traffic, tons of tourists, and boats can make it difficult to get a good photo as well. But, when everything works out, Emerald Bay can be a magical place that deserves to be on your must visit list.

Emerald Bay Sunrise at Lake Tahoe.

If you're going to shoot an Emerald Bay sunrise, dress warm pretty much all year.  It can get pretty warm in the summer months but it can get cold quickly again in the evening. There are plenty of place to shoot from along the road and designated vista areas but there are also some great place to shoot from above Eagle Falls. Even though the best places to shoot above Eagle Falls are only a few dozen steps from the road, they can be dangerous steps. Slippery rocks, small stream crossings, and ice can demand your hiking boots. Despite the crowds that can form, this isn't Disneyland, there is nothing preventing you from falling off large cliffs if you slip too close to the edge.

Emerald Bay Sunrise photographed from above Eagle Falls.
I usually bring my fully packed big Lowepro bag with 2 camera bodies and multiple lenses but I usually just use my 24-105mm or my 17-40mm wide angle lens. If you're looking to zoom in on Fannette Island only, you'll want a more powerful telephoto lens. I find I always use my tripod at Emerald Bay except for a couple photos I shot from a small boat.

If you have any questions about photographing Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe, please ask/comment below. More information about visiting can be found at the California State Parks website. Also, please enjoy this slideshow of more Emerald Bay photographs.

-Scott Thompson

Click on any of the above images to view more information. Available as fine art prints, gift items, and as stock photography.


Unknown said...

Hi Scott! =D Very informative.. Thank you..Wanted to shoot my husband and I while vacationing in September and was wondering what other spots are great for portraits? Thank you :)

Scott Thompson said...

Hello Crystal. You'll definitely want to check out Sand Harbor for some interesting portraits. But really, it's hard to go wrong anywhere on the lake for photos. Have fun!

mRiver said...

Hi, Scott! For the sunrise, where can I park? Do I need to go through a trail to find a good spot? Thanks!

Scott Thompson said...

Hello mRiver. There are a couple big parking lots as well as some parking along the road. No trail necessary. There tons of great view anywhere you go there. A popular spot is Eagle Falls overlooking the bay. Just follow the sounds of the waterfall and you'll find it.

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