Sunday, December 31, 2023

My Top Ten Photos Of 2023 - Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! It's that time of year where I like to look back at the photos I've shot this past year, and choose my top ten favorites. These aren't necessarily the crowd favorites or the ones that got the most attention on social medias. These are the images that stick out to me as being special and that I'm especially proud of.

donnersnowsunrise Panorama.jpg1. "Donner Lake Sunrise 47"
I really like how smooth the snow is in this shot. It's a very popular area and capturing it with no footprints or ski/snowboard tracks is rare. The sunrise was a great one and the arcs of the bridge, shadow, and car on the road all came together to create a great look.

_Q1A1169.jpg2. "Old Hwy 40 At Night 3"
Yes, I've shot this location a few time in the past, but not with the Milky Way over Donner Lake. It was a cold evening, but totally worth it!

_Q1A7663b.jpg3. "Sunrise at Paradise Lake 5"
From a backpacking adventure to Paradise Lake, a favorite little local lake of mine. The water was perfectly smooth, the sunrise was a nice one, and the red leaves on the plants all made it a "keeper"!

4 - "Donner Lake in Autumn 27"
I shot a ton of photos of Donner Lake this fall. Well... I now live across the street from the lake! It makes it "easy" to get out there when the light is looking perfect. I really like the reflection of the yellow Cottonwood trees in this shot.

_Q1A0182.jpg5. "Donner Lake Sunset 72"
Yup, another Donner Lake shoreline shot! The sunset fired off big time, it was one of my favorite shows of the year.

_Q1A0226.jpg6. "Donner Lake in Autumn 32"
Did I mention that I shot a ton of Donner Lake photos this fall??? Fall colors, mixed with the low fog on the water, and a nice sunburst... Bam! This one was incredibly popular with the locals on other social medias.

_Q1A2388.jpg7. "Lake Tahoe 5"
Alright... This one was genuinely my favorite photo of the year. It was a fairly simple shot. But it was a case of being at the right spot, at the right time. I was fishing from a boat, enjoying this view, when I got out the camera for a quick photo. This image is the new "cover image" on my website

8 - "Icy Abstract 6"
A super cool photo... We've had some cold days this winter, but not a lot of snowy ones. This means there has been a lot of ice built up along the streams and creeks. I really like the composition of this macro shot. It would look "cool" printed up extra large and hanging on a wall.

_Q1A3218 Panorama.jpg9. "Sunset at Lake Tahoe 54"
It's hard to go wrong with a Lake Tahoe sunset photo. This recent sunset was particularly beautiful and serene. Another one that was incredibly popular with the locals on social media.

10 - "Donner Lake Sunset 74"
And #10, just made it onto the list! Shot 12-29-23. I love the rock spiral. The sunset was nice, but the spiral makes it a unique photo.

All of these images are available as large (and small) fine art prints on my website in the "Recent Work Gallery". Here's a SLIDESHOW of the images. Each image above is numbered, I'm curious, which is your favorite???

Thank you for looking. I hope you all had a great 2023. Cheers to 2024! Happy New Year!!!!!

Scott Thompson
Scott Shots Photography


Saturday, December 30, 2023

New Donner Lake Sunset Photograph

The water level at Donner Lake is fairly low right now, it always is this time of year. They drain it a bit in order to protect the docks and piers around the lake from any ice that forms. I wanted to get a new shot of the boulders that get exposed on the south side of the lake when this happens. So, yesterday afternoon, I walked out to that spot with my camera gear.

While there, I found this rock spiral that someone had built. The lake's water level was perfect for flooding the spiral, but leaving the rocks exposed. As soon as I saw the spot, I pretty much knew that it is were I would be when I set up the gear. Lucky me, we had a nice sunset, and I think I came away with another great photo!


These were both shot with a Canon 5DS R and a 16-35mm lens. This camera's ISO was 50, and the lens aperture was f22. Two graduated neutral density filters were used on the front of the lens. The settings and the filters allowed me to have a long exposure of about 6 seconds. The long exposure allowed for the ripples in the water to look more smooth, which creates a better reflection.


Yup, once again... A happy photographer!

Screenshot 2023-12-30 at 9.24.36 AM.jpg

Thank you for looking and I hope you are all having a great weekend.

Scott Thompson
Scott Shots Photography


Kings Beach, Lake Tahoe - Sunset Photo Shoot - Video


Join me for a behind the scenes look at my recent sunset photo shoot above Kings Beach, Lake Tahoe. Camera settings and techiques are discussed. The "keeper" photos are shown throughout the video.

Prints are available of the images in this video. For more information, please visit my "Recent Work Gallery"

Thank you for watching!

Scott Thompson
Scott Shots Photography


Christmas Eve Sunset Photo

The Sky Fire app was calling for a nice sunset on Christmas Eve, so I got out again to Lake Tahoe for some photography fun. Well, Merry Christmas to me, it was a great one! It was also a short one... The sunset colors only lasted a few minutes, I was feeling lucky to have captured a nice panoramic image above Kings Beach, Lake Tahoe at the peak of the colorful explosion.

This first image is a stitched panoramic image. Meaning, I shot several photos while panning the camera on the tripod. I then stitched the images together using a program called PTGui. In my opinion, PTGui almost always does a better job of stitching images together when compared to using Photoshop's panorama tool. It is 14 photos, that are combined in to one wide high resolution photo. Shot with the Canon 5DS R and a 16-35mm lens. The camera's ISO was 50, the lens aperture was f/16, and each of the 14 exposures were 10 seconds long. A tripod was used, and a 1.2 stop graduated neutral density filter was used on the front of the lens.

_Q1A3218 Panorama.jpg

This second image was also shot with the Canon 5DS R, but a 24-105 mm lens was used, and the lens was set at 88mm. It is a much closer look at the intense sunset colors, most of the colors in the clouds had faded by the time I set up this shot.The camera's ISO was 50, the lens aperture was f/16, and it was a 10 second exposure. A tripod was used, and a 1.2 graduated neutral density filter was used on the front of the lens. Yup! It was the same settings as the images for the photo above, the only difference was the lens choice.


And this selfie... well, it was shot with the Samsung S22+. Happy photographer!


Thank you for looking!

Scott Thompson
Scott Shots Photography


Icicle Photo Adventure In Truckee, California

Join me on a little hunt for icicles above Donner Lake in Truckee, California. Photography techniques are discussed and keeper images are shown. I also posted the "keeper" photos on the blockchain yesterday:

These images are available for purchasing as fine art prints here:

Thank you for watching!

Scott Thompson
Scott Shots Photography


New Icy Abstract Photos - Which One Do You Like Best?

I went on a little icicle hunt today at an unnamed creek that feeds into Donner Creek, up above Donner Lake here in Truckee, California. Success! I found some ice along the creek, it was looking beautiful, and I ended up with some keeper photos that are now up on my website.

There was about 1-2 feet of snow in the area. This is a very low amount of snow for that spot during this time of year. Last year, there was probably 10 feet of snow there mid-December and the creek would have been buried, with no visible ice. It was fairly easy to walk along the creek and get some "cool" photos of the ice.

These were all shot with the Canon 5DS R and a 24-105mm lens. They were also all shot with a lens aperture of f/22. This is a small aperture that creates a good depth of field, where the foreground is in focus, and the background is in focus. Well... actually, these were macro type shots so even at f/22, the ice that was further back was still a little out of focus. The ISO and shutter speed varied, but they were all somewhat long exposures that required the camera to be on a tripod. This helped give a bit of a smear look to the moving creek water. Frozen water mixed with water in motion is a look I like.

I do like all of these, but I couldn't decide which one I liked best. The photos are numbered, please let me know which one you like best (if you even like them at all...). Thank you!







Thank you for looking and I hope you all had a great day.

Scott Thompson
Scott Shots Photography


Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Lake Tahoe Photos From Yesterday's Fishing Adventure

Yesterday was a good day. I was invited out on my buddy Pete's boat for a day of fishing on Lake Tahoe. Just being out on the lake is good enough in my book. But add a couple of caught fish, and some "keeper" landscape photos, and it was a very successful day too!


Pete caught this huge brown trout right at the beginning of our day. It put him in a great mood! He believes it was his personal best for brown trout. I netted the fish for him and I couldn't believe how heavy it was for a brown. Yes, there are bigger fish in the lake, mackinaw get quite a bit bigger. But a brown trout this big is special. It was released so it could go breed and make more mega browns.


I was hoping to keep this second fish for dinner, but when we brought it up onto the boat, we saw that it was incredibly skinny for how long it was. It's hard to tell from this photo, but it looked weird and I didn't trust it. Perhaps it was sick? I don't know but I decided I didn't want to eat it so it was released as well.


It was a long fun day of fishing, not a whole lot of catching... but any day out on the lake is a good day.


Alright. I'll admit that I didn't personally catch any fish :( But... I did catch a bunch of incredible scenes with my camera. There were hardly any wind or waves, which gave the lake surface a mirror-like effect. The clouds were looking great, and with their reflections, they were incredible!


This one below was my personal favorite of the day. The wispy clouds, the incredible blues, the thin mountain line... I love it! It should look great as a large print on a wall.


Both images above were shot with the Canon 5DS R and a 24-105mm lens, handheld. The ISO was 200, and they were both quick exposures. No lens filters were used.


As we were pulling the boat out of the water at the end of the day, the clouds fired off with beautiful pink colors. Unfortunately, there were tons of buoys near the dock so I wasn't able to get any great horizontal wide angle photos. I shot some, but meh... the buoys ruined the shot in my opinion, so I didn't work on any of those. This vertical above was the best of those images.

Below is a photo of the boat launch and the dock. There were hardly any other boats on the water, here you can see why. Launching a boat on an icy ramp isn't easy, but Pete does it often and it was no problem for him.


It was another great fishing and photography adventure! Those kind of days are my favorites.
Thank you for looking and I hope you have all been having some great adventures too.

Scott Thompson
Scott Shots Photography


Thursday, December 7, 2023

Fresh Truckee Snow!

Yes, I'm excited about the snow this year. We are way behind schedule on the amount of it that we have received. I shouldn't complain after last year's incredible amount of snow that we got. It was a bit much last year... Last night, it started up again so I grabbed the camera and headed down to Downtown Truckee to try to get more Christmas holiday themed photos. Unfortunately, it was mix of rain and snow in Downtown and there wasn't much snow on the ground, but I ended up with this shot of a favorite little art gallery down there anyway. The Piper Gallery exhibits all paintings and sculptures, no photography, but I still love checking out the work there anyway.


Shot with the Canon 5DS R and a 24-105mm lens. ISO 3200, a lens aperture of f/4.0, and it was a handheld 1/30 second exposure. The lens image stabilization was on, and Photoshop's AI noise reduction was used as ISO 3200 produces a lot of digital noise with this camera.

When I woke up this morning, we actually had a little layer of snow around town. It was looking great! Definitely not a large snow storm, but it was nice to see that little bit of white layer on the ground. Everything looks so clean, crisp, and photogenic. So I took a short walk with the camera, across the street to Donner Lake here in Truckee, California.


These were both also shot with the Canon 5DS R and the 24-105mm lens. A much lower ISO of 200 was used. Both were 1/200 second handheld shots, and both had small lens apertures.

The top shot of the dock is a classic Donner look, I like including that sunburst for a little added visual interest. The small lens aperture of f/20 helps create the star effect to the sunburst. I liked the bottom shot of the shoreline and Donner Summit because of the somewhat repetitive patterns to the little lake waves, the shoreline, and the clouds. In my opinion, it created a visual pleasing look.


Yup, I enjoy that snow! We're supposed to get more tonight. Fingers crossed that it will actually be a decent amount but the forecast isn't looking good for that.


Thanks for looking and I hope you all have a great day!

Scott Thompson
Scott Shots Photography



Sunday, December 3, 2023

Downtown Truckee Christmas Slideshow

Please enjoy this little slideshow I put together of Downtown Truckee Christmas photos.  All of these images are available as large fine art print. Thank you for looking!

-Scott Thompson

Saturday, December 2, 2023

New Snowy Downtown Truckee Photo

After shooting some friends signing and performing at the Cottonwood Restaurant a couple days ago (post with those photos), I took a walk in Downtown Truckee for some snowy photo fun. We were finally getting a decent snowstorm. It's been a slow year for the snow, there is usually a lot more of it by this time of year.

Mix the nighttime snow with the Christmas lights, and streetlight... and you get a very photogenic scene! There was a homeless guy walking around the area, looking like he was out of his mind and acting strange, so I had to work fast. Just a few quick photos and then I left. I didn't like the way he was looking at me and my somewhat expensive camera. I'll be back for more photos when we get more snow soon. For now, I am happy with this shot!


Shot with a Canon 5DS R and a 24-105mm lens, set at 45mm. The ISO was 2000, the lens aperture was f/4.0, and it was a 1/80 of a second long exposure. Shot handheld with lens image stabilization on. Longer exposures do not work well with scenes like this. If it were a long exposure on a tripod, the snow would look like long white lines instead of little white spots. With a very long exposure, you might not event see the snow at all.

Fingers crossed that I'll be back to this scene soon. We are supposed to get more snow today, but so far it's only been rain. Bring on the colder temps!

Thank you for looking and I hope you are all having a great day.

Scott Thompson
Scott Shots Photography


Cottonwood Open Mic Night

I had a ton of fun last night, listening to and photographing local musicians at the Tahoe Truckee School of Music open mic night. It happens every Thursday evening at the popular Cottonwood Restaurant, here in Truckee, California. Many of these musicians that I photographed are instructors at the school. My son @enak actually grew up taking piano and signing lessons there. It was great to have daily performances in our house as he practiced, I miss those days...

The music was sounding great and the food at the restaurant is always top-notch! Here are a few photos of some of the musicians. All shot with a Canon 5DS R and a 24-105mm lens. All handheld photos with varying settings but all of them had very high ISOs. They also all had Photoshops AI noise reduction applied to them when editing. Yes, the photos almost look a bit cartoony and surreal when you open them up and look at them on a big computer monitor. But before the noise reduction, they were VERY noisy with and were not usable. The AI noise reduction does an incredible job at making the photos look clean and making them usable. I'm a fan of this fairly new Photoshop technology!


Thank you for looking and I hope you are all having a fun and wonderful day!

Scott Thompson
Scott Shots Photography