Sunday, October 22, 2023

Milky Way and Sunrise Photos at Paradise Lake

I've had time to work on a few more photos from last weekend's backpacking adventure to Paradise Lake. This is my favorite little lake in the Tahoe area backcountry. It's an incredibly beautiful location, but it was looking extra photogenic out there and I ended up with many "keeper" photos. I hope to work on more of them today...

The hike to the spot where I shot the Milky Way was not easy in the dark, even with the headlamp. But when I made it to the location, I knew I had chosen wisely. Walking over there instead of sleeping was worth it!


These first two shots were with the Canon 5DS R and a 16-35mm lens. For both of them, the ISO was 1600, the lens aperture was f/2.8, and the exposures were 20 seconds long. A tripod and shutter release cable were used. No lens filters or flash.


After that successful shoot, I went back to bed and woke up early to capture the sunrise. It's about a 5 mile hike out to the lake and my backpack was 40 pounds, so I wanted to make sure I took lots of photos as it's not the easiest location to get to.

Shot with the Canon 5DS R, the 16-35mm lens, a tripod, a shutter release cable, and a graduated neutral density filter was used in order to balance out the sky exposure with the foreground exposure. The ISO was 100, the lens aperture was f/22, and it was a 25 second long exposure.

Can you see the tent in the shot? It wasn't mine, but I like that is shows a bit of perspective. There are quite a few areas around the lake that work for setting up tents so if you go out there, you will most likely be able to find a camp spot, even on a busy weekend.


One more from the same sunrise, but obviously from a different spot. There are so many great angles to shoot this lake from, it's hard to go wrong. The water was almost perfectly still which made for some great reflection shots.

Also shot with the Canon 5DS R and the 16-35mm lens. When I go backpacking with camera gear, I usually only bring one body and one lens in order to cut down on the backpack weight. A tripod and shutter release cable were used, as well as a graduated neutral density filter. The ISO was 100, the lens aperture was f/22, and it was a 2.5 second long exposure. The exposure time was much quicker than the photo above because the sun was getting closer to rising above the horizon, so it was getting much brighter out.

I hope you enjoyed these photos. I actually have many more Paradise Lake photos to work on... It was a great weekend for photography!

Scott Thompson
Scott Shots Photography