When I think of an iconic image of Lake Tahoe, Emerald Bay is it. This glacier carved masterpiece on the southwest corner of Lake Tahoe is truly a site to behold. No matter how many times I visit the bay I am always awestruck by its sheer beauty and prowess. The sound of Eagle Falls echoes off the canyon walls cascading down to the shoreline with Fannette Island situated perfectly in the center of this natural wonder.
Admittedly, I don’t go to Emerald Bay as much as I used to. I have photographed the bay countless times, in each season and in all different types of light. It’s not that the mystique has worn off; I just feel like I have a solid portfolio of the bay and should concentrate my creative efforts elsewhere.
A few days ago a good friend and fellow photographer Brad Beck happened to be passing through Lake Tahoe and wanted me to show him around. It was his first visit to the lake and he only had one day to photograph before his departure. “Where should we shoot sunrise?” he asked. “Well, that’s easy,” I said, “if I take you anywhere but Emerald Bay you’ll probably never forgive me.”
An early wake up at 4:45am and we were at the first overlook by 5:15am photographing the bay with ambient light pouring over the horizon. After five minutes of shooting I told Brad we should head over to Eagle Falls. The large snow pack from a record winter was still melting and the falls were pumping in mid-July, which is very rare. The sunrise turned out to be spectacular. Clouds on the horizon illuminated and the light was incredible. I could tell Brad was really stoked on the situation.
We photographed until a half an hour after sunrise and then called it quits. “What did you think?” I asked. “Incredible!” he replied.
It was great to revisit Emerald Bay with a photographer witnessing it for the first time. His enthusiasm definitely rubbed off on me and the images I came away with are the proof. It just goes to show that sometimes no matter how many times you photograph something you can still create images that are fresh and rewarding. Cheers to that!