Monday, December 30, 2013

My Best Tahoe Photos of 2013

It's that time of year again. A time to look back at my adventures and photos of 2013 and pick my best. Here are my top ten photos of 2013, in no particular order. 

A big thank you to photographer Jim Goldstein, who asks photographers every year to submit their top photos of the year. His request has inspired me to post my top ten for the last few years (2012,  2011, 2010) When he lists everybody's best shots in his blog post, I'll update and post a link here: ____ (Update - Best Photos of 2013 by JMG-Galleries Blog Readers link)

Just another incredible moment at Lake Tahoe. I loved the soft pastel purple light, the boulders, and the moon in this one. Also, I got to shoot it with my good friend Tony Spiker of Spiker Photography. You can check out a 30"x40" print of this one at Tony's Vista Gallery in Kings Beach.
"Full Moon Over Lake Tahoe 12" -These boulders, full moon, and alpenglow sunset were photographed at Crystal Point in Crystal Bay, Lake Tahoe.

I've shot this old shack many times. And on occasion, when the first snow falls and the aspen still have their yellow leaves, I drive up to the spot and shoot it before the snow melts. The visit this year provided for some great photos. 
"Shack in the Aspens 4" - Photograph of yellow leaved aspens and an old shack near the summit of Hwy 267 in Tahoe. Shot in the fall while it was snowing.

An incredible sunset that seemed to last forever. Lots of fun to shoot this one.
"Blackwood Canyon Sunset 1" - Photograph taken in Tahoe's Blackwood Canyon of a pine tree and mountain silhouette with a beautiful fiery orange and yellow sunset background.

The golden pebbles and blue Tahoe waters and sky went so nicely together in this shot. This one looks great in print. 
"Pebbles at Whale Beach 3" - These pebbles were photographed along the shore of Whale Beach on the East shore of Lake Tahoe. Whale Rock can be seen in the distance.

A personal favorite. A print of this is pinned on my wall above my computer monitor. I often catch myself looking at it, daydreaming of sitting in the stick shelter's shade on a hot day with a cold drink in my hand...
"Stick Shelter at Lake Tahoe" - This little shelter made of driftwood and sticks was photographed at Whale Beach on the East shore of Lake Tahoe.

Lake Tahoe's blue, aqua, emerald, and green waters are incredible. Secret Cove is a great place to capture the colors. Oh, and a 30"x40" print of this one is currently available at Art Obsessions in Downtown Truckee. I think it looks pretty nice. 
"Secret Cove, Lake Tahoe" - Photograph of a sailboat at Secret Cove on the East shore of Lake Tahoe.

It's hard to go wrong with Lake Tahoe aerial photography. This abstract shot shows the progressions of colors as the water gets deeper. Pretty cool. 
"Lake Tahoe Aerial 5" - Aerial photograph of Lake Tahoe shot from a helicopter with the door removed.

Anther Lake Tahoe abstract aerial. The Upper Truckee Marsh and blue waters made for a really fun and unique Tahoe photo. 
"Upper Truckee Marsh and Tahoe 1" - This abstract like photo of the Upper Truckee Marsh, shoreline, and Lake Tahoe was photographed from a helicopter.

I had been wanting this shot for years and finally got it. Tony Spiker and I hiked up a steep mountain across from Squaw Valley Ski Resort to get this and the hike was worth it (he got a great shot as well). 
"Squaw Valley Torchlight Parade 1" - Long exposure photograph of the torchlight parade at Squaw Valley Ski Resort. Multiple skiers hold torches at they ski down the mountain.

Thanks to apps like Golden Pic and Google Sky Maps, I was able to "predict" this moon rising in the perfect location over Downtown Truckee at sunset. Truckee is always beautiful but this time of year can be magical with all of the Christmas lights (and sometimes snow). 
"Moon Over Truckee 1" - Photograph of a moon rising over Truckee at sunset. An alpenglow sunset and Christmas lights compliment the moon.
There you have it, my top ten photos of 2013. Please click on individual photos for larger views and purchasing information. Available as large fine art prints, photo gift items, and as stock photography. 

Cheers to a great 2014!

-Scott Thompson

Sunday, November 3, 2013

New Winter Themed Photography Exhibit

Scott Shots Photography has a new winter themed photography exhibit on display at the Pavilion at Truckee's Old Greenwood. Old Greenwood is a private golf resort community, so unfortunately, unless you are a homeowner there or a member of their Tahoe Mountain Club, you probably won't get to see this exhibit in person. No problem, I took a couple photos of my photos for you.

There are 12 winter themed photos on display, either framed or on canvas, all are available for purchasing. And as always, I have many more photos/prints available at Art Obsessions in Downtown Truckee and at the Vista Gallery in Kings Beach.

While we're on the theme of winter, I went ahead and put together a slideshow of a "few" images that were tagged with either the keyword winter or snow. Many more winter themed images can be found by using my website's search tool. Thanks for looking and I hope you have a great winter season!

-Scott Thompson

For the best slideshow viewing experience, click on the full screen icon. For more info about the image or purchasing info, click on an individual image. Large fine art prints, photo gift items, and digital downloads are available. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Fall Colors in the Tahoe Area, 2013

"Shack in the Aspens 4"

The fall colors in the Tahoe area can be amazing. Some years are better than others, this year has been a good one. Although some early snow and freezing night time temperatures caused some of the aspen to go brown before turning yellow, there has been plenty of aspen and cottonwood trees that did color up and offer some spectacular photo opportunities. 

The slideshow below contains photos that were shot this fall (2013). For the best viewing experience, click the full screen icon on the slideshow. Images are available as large fine art prints, stock photography, and as photo gift items. 

The fall season is still not over, I may add more photos to this slideshow soon... Thanks for looking!

-Scott Thompson

Friday, July 26, 2013

Great Place to Photograph Lake Tahoe

Occasionally I get phone calls or emails from people asking me where they should photograph Lake Tahoe. They are usually only up here for a few days while on vacation and don't have a lot of time to explore. I tend to recommend the "must see" and easy locations like Emerald Bay or Sand Harbor. But there are also some great areas around the lake if you are willing to go on short hikes. 

Lake Tahoe's East shore has many short hike areas that are great for photography, one of my favorites is the Chimney Beach, Secret Cove, Whale Beach area. This is about a mile of shoreline that has tons of granite boulders, beautiful pine tree covered points, and aqua blue waters.  

If you only have a little bit of time to photograph the area, I would recommend getting there in the early morning but not too early. The area is popular for hanging out on the beaches, people start showing up in the morning (disclaimer: Secret Cove and Whale Beach are clothing optional). But... if you get there too early, the sun is behind a big mountain and everything is in the shade. The aqua, emerald colors in the water really only show up well when the sun is shining on the water.  Here is a link to a google map showing Chimney Beach and it's parking area:

Must have camera gear for the area would be a wide angle lens and a polarizing filter. The wide angle views are stunning and the polarizer will help you cut through the glare on the surface of the lake and capture Tahoe's famous blue, aqua, emerald, and green waters. 

Below is a slideshow of images I've captured from the area. Prints, photo gift items, and digital downloads are available. Here is a link to these images on my website where they can be viewed larger and purchased: Tahoe Photos Gallery.  If you have any additional questions about the area, please don't hesitate to ask in the comments section below. 

-Scott Thompson

Friday, March 22, 2013

New Photo Exhibit Location - Saylor's Restaurant

Sean Saylor of Saylor's Restaurant and Bar.

A couple of weeks ago, I drove down to Marin to pick up my "Beauty at the Bottom" photo exhibit from Rick's Wine Cellar. But a night out on the town in San Francisco with some friends led to meeting new friends and finding a new location for exhibiting a few of the "Beauty at the Bottom" photos. 

Sean Saylor of Saylor's Restaurant and Bar invited me to exhibit/sell a few canvas prints in his famous restaurant. So of course I took him up on it and now a Casa Noble tequila photo, a Partida photo, and a Ultimo Agave photo are hanging at his place. All are available to purchase there. 

While dropping off the prints and enjoying an incredible portobello mushroom enchilada for lunch, Sean asked if I had ever photographed a Cabo Wabo tequila bottle. You see, Saylor's is a regular hangout spot of rocker Sammy Hagar, who started Cabo Wabo tequila. The restaurant even has a Cabo Wabo room with tons of Sammy Hagar pictures and memorabilia in it. I had not photographed a Cabo Wabo bottle so Sean went and grabbed a special one, a giant three litre blue bottle that isn't made any more. I happily borrowed the bottle and I recently shot this cool photo of it:

"Beauty at the Bottom: Tequila 20"

The bottle was empty when I borrowed it so I bought a regular size Cabo Wabo bottle and filled up the blue bottle a bit for the photo. This meant I also had a second smaller Cabo Wabo bottle to shoot, here's what I got from that one:

"Beauty at the Bottom: Tequila Sunrise 10"

Here is a photo of the setup for the blue bottle photo:

The next time you are in Marin, California or more specifically Sausalito, be sure to stop by Saylor's, have a great meal, enjoy their incredible tequila selection, and have a look at some of my art. Thank you, Salud!

Saylor's can be found at 2009 Bridgeway in Sausalito, CA

The bottle photos above are available as large fine art prints and as photo gift items. Click the photo for a larger view and purchasing options.  The full "Beauty at the Bottom" series can be found here: "Beauty at the Bottom" photo gallery.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

How To Prepare Your Home for a Real Estate Virtual Tour

Professional photography with a virtual tour can be a great way to achieve online "curb appeal" for your home.  Whether you are selling or renting, chances are your potential buyer or renter will be viewing the property on the web before they ever step foot inside. 

I've been shooting high end virtual tours for a few years now and I can definitely create online curb appeal for a property. But, with the help of the homeowner or Realtor, I can do even better. If the homeowner or Realtor prepares the home properly, I can make sure online viewers see their future living space at it's best.  

Below is a list of actions that homeowners can take to properly prepare for a virtual tour photo shoot  in order the get the most out of my services.

Most Important
  • Make sure ALL light bulbs are working in and outside of the home. This is my biggest problem that is very hard to deal with. When I shoot a home, I turn on every single light switch and fixture. I carefully balance interior light with the light from my flash to get a well lit room with "glowing" light bulbs. When one light bulb is out in a room, people can see it in the photos. If it was me viewing the photos, I'd wonder what else is wrong with the house, even though the problem might be easily corrected with a $2 bulb. And if a bulb is out on the exterior of a home, it makes "glowing" dusk shots a whole lot less cool looking. If you are having electrical problems with a light here in Tahoe, I recommend Mountain Sun Electric to help fix it.
  • Make sure all the glass and mirrors in the home are spotless. When there is dust, dirt, or water residue on glass, it shows up in the photos and photoshop isn't going to help. It can create a hazy glare on glass that looks bad and makes it difficult to see the view out the window. If you can't wash the glass yourself, please hire someone to do so like High Sierra Window Washers. Also, I usually open all blinds so please make sure they are in good working order. If you have a broken one that is going to explode on me when I try to open it, please warn me ahead of time.
  • Remove all clutter from counter tops, desks, dressers, and tables. Items I often see out that shouldn't be are pencils, notepads, soaps, sponges, personal mail, paper towel rolls, TV remotes, glasses, and "junk" bowls. Really, anything that can be put away out of sight, should be put away out of site. Nice coffee table books and magazines are fine as long as there aren't big stacks of them.
  • Entryways and foyers should be cleaned as well. Extra shoes, snow boots, jackets, hats, sports equipment, and snow removal tools are common items that end up in photos.
  • Bad smells aren't a problem for photography, but the overflowing trash, dishes, and kitty litter boxes that cause them are. Please clean these items so they are out of sight.
  • Make sure bathrooms are spotless.  Due to the smaller size of the room, dirt and spots show up more in the photos. Mildew and mold, spots on the mirrors and shiny faucets, soaps, shampoos, toothbrushes, hairdryers, q-tips, get rid of them all. Also, please make sure towels are in good condition, clean, and nicely folded or hanging from the racks. If you're in Tahoe and you don't have time to clean, please consider hiring Alpenglow Cleaning to help you out.
  • Make sure beds are nicely made. I'll occasionally fluff a decorative pillow or straighten the edge of a blanket, but I don't have the time to make the beds. Also, If you just throw the bedspread over bunched up sheets, the lumps will show up in the photos. Clothes should also be out of site as well as reading glasses, used tissues, and personal items. Make sure kid's rooms are spotless as well, I've had to skip over many kid's rooms in the past because the mess takes away from the home's appeal instead of adding to it.
  • Walkways and driveways should be swept spotless and clear of snow in the winter. Pine needles are a big problem here in Tahoe. I can photoshop a few of them out but if your driveway is covered, there is nothing I can do and your home is going to look like it hasn't been maintained, even if they just fell the night before. I would also recommend raking the pine needles off of all grassy areas.  And if you can't see the walkway or driveway due to snow, the home is going to look very difficult to access, even if it's only an inch deep. 
  • Remove all vehicles from the property and out of the garage. Especially RVs, boats, and "project" cars.  If it's there and you're not home to move it, I'm going to shoot the home regardless. Yes, I will try not to include them in the shot but that often means I won't be able to shoot a full wide angle shot showing the full structure. And if it's parked right in front of the home or garage, it's going to be in the shot.
  • Remove all yard tools and toys from the yard. Deck and patio furniture is great but shovels, wheelbarrows, hoses, snow blowers, and big colorful plastic toys aren't.
Very Important
  • Stage empty homes. Empty homes lack life and can feel less inviting in photos. You don't need to go all out, but a few items like tables, couches, and art can really help lose the "abandoned home" feel. I recommend DiNallo Designs if you need help, Elisa DiNallo is Tahoe based but will travel. Also, broken, ugly, or excess furniture should be removed from the home.
  • Do not put out seasonal items like Christmas trees or pumpkins. If someone views your listing in July but they see a Christmas tree in a photo, they are going to know the home has been on the market a while.
  • Make sure the home's paint job is looking good inside and out. This is another issue that photoshop can't really do much for. Sure I can fix a little spot on a wall but faded or peeling paint and exterior stains show up in the photos. I recommend Easterbrook Painting here in Tahoe for interior and exterior help. 
  • Make sure nice garages are spotless. I often skip shooting the inside of garages due to clutter but some garages are finished off with nice cabinetry and floor coatings. These are definitely selling points and if the garage looks good, I will shoot it. If you want to make your garage look great here in Tahoe, I recommend Evolution Garage Cabinets, they can also do floor coating that cover up oil stains or concrete damage.
  • Remove all evidence of pets.  Hide water and food bowls, crates, dog houses, litter boxes, and leashes. And of course, clean up after the dog in the yard.
  • Please turn off sprinkler systems if you know I'm scheduled to shoot your home that day. Not only do I not like getting surprise showers, sprinklers can leave wet spots and puddles on walkways and driveways that will show up in photos.
  • If you have a nice fireplace and want it lit for the photo, the homeowner or realtor Must be there for the photo shoot. I can handle gas fireplaces that have a simple switch on the wall but I won't open panels and press buttons while turning knobs. And I definitely won't light a wood fire unless someone is there to watch it. 
  • Nude fine art photos on walls should be removed. I've seen many of them and I'm not offended by them, but some people are more easily offended than others. Also, if you don't want your family photos in your online virtual tour, remove them from the walls.
Other Advice
  • Let me or your Realtor know the time of day that the sunlight is on the front of the house. I can get a decent exterior photo in any light but some light is better than others. Morning shoots or afternoon shoots are also usually best. 
  • Don't be afraid to request a reschedule if it is raining or snowing. Actually, I'll probably be contacting you or your Realtor if weather is poor as I want to get the best photos possible for you. I do not charge for rescheduled or cancelled shoots. 

I hope you find this information useful. If you have any questions about the above, please comment below or contact me. Thank you.

-Scott Thompson

For more information on Scott Thompson's Real Estate Virtual Tour Services in the Tahoe area, please Click Here