I've had a lot of time during the past month to get out and shoot some personal stuff between editing projects. From backcountry snow-camping to ocean sunsets and lifestyle portrait sessions, I've had a fairly productive period of "down-time".
First off is a few shots from the carson-pass area of Lake Tahoe. With the closing of the ski-resorts across Tahoe and spring-time temperatures on the rise, it was time to get out for a quick night in the Tahoe backcountry. Carson Pass regularly receives the most amount of snow in the Tahoe region and was the most logical choice for some backcountry turns after another dry winter. Though the location choice may have been based on a lack of other options, the location is one of the 'choicest' in the region. Carson Pass provides easy access to lots of great terrain that can challenge any level skier or rider and being inside a wilderness boundary means there's no snow-mobile access; the lines are ripe for the picking for those willing to work for it.
My trip out there however, was really less about the snowboarding and more about the night alone in the backcountry. I was hoping, most of all, for a clear night to capture the milky way. After a two mile tour from the snow-park atop Carson Pass, I set up my camp above Winnemucca Lake, underneath Round-Top.
After resting for a bit I decided to go for a mellow hike for some sunset turns and photos. After just a couple minutes of touring towards the ridge (to the right of Round-Top) I heard a very familiar voice behind a tree with a small production crew. Jeremy Jones was doing an interview and I headed over to say hello. I've been watching Jeremy Jones in snowboard films for the past 15 years at least and I couldn't believe I was talking to him out here. I was probably a little star-struck because I was having trouble getting any words out of my mouth, haha. He was really cool though and just stoked to be out there. In his interview I heard him talking about how normally he would be off on some kind of surf trip this time of year, but with split-boarding he's as amped as ever to just be in the mountains instead. It's pretty amazing that a guy pushing 40 is progressing the sport as hard as he is still and is also "shredding the gnar" harder than ever. And not just that, but he's as stoked to be doing it as he ever has been -- That's pretty cool. It turns out that he was out there riding with a couple other legends, one of which being Tom Burt, and me being a knucklehead didn't even recognize them. Sorry guys.
Jeremy Jones was nice enough to take a photo with me. Thanks to the guy who took it too! You also get a good look at some of the terrain directly above the lake (frozen behind us). There are so many fun lines to choose from in there!
The sun hung up in the sky for a long time. This is the view looking west with Caples Lake in the distance. This photo also shows the reason why this area receives more snow than other places around Tahoe. High elevation and west of the sierra crest. Sunset panorama with Lake Tahoe dead-center on the horizon. Round Top is glowing in the last light on the right.
From here I had a pretty fun descent back down to the frozen Winnemucca Lake and the snow was still soft and fun to rip into. I went to bed with a bright moon overhead and a thin layer of hazy clouds that I thought would ruin my night of capturing the Milky Way. I set my alarm for 4 am anyway and hoped for the best. I woke up frequently to check on things and the moon didn't seem to move in 3 hours. It was 1:30 am and I was certain the moon wouldn't set before sunrise and the hazy clouds seemed to be more prominent as well. At 4:00 my alarm went off and I could see the stars penetrating the dark night through the mesh lining of my tent. The milky way was glowing bright and sky was perfectly clear -- a perfect surprise. Tired and cold, I forced myself out of the bag for some photos.
This is a panorama showing approximately a 180 degree view. The light on the right is from the setting moon and the light on the left is from the incoming sun. I took one panorama without me in it, but I like this one more. I had a lot of fun!
I took one more shot of my tent and the milky way with blue-hour rapidly approaching and diluting the night sky. I like the ambient light on the mountains though and it's crazy to see shadows developing long before the sun comes up. After this I dove back in my sleeping back with some very cold toes. (I was shooting for almost 2 hours with socks and flip-flops -- which seemed like a better option than wet-cold boots).
Easter weekend was approaching and I took my daughter down south to visit family for a week. On the way out of town I noticed a couple kayakers getting ready to launch in the North Upper Truckee River. The sun was peaking in and out of the clouds and it seemed to be shining a spot light on Mt. Tallac in the distance. I hung around for a minute and waited for them to get downstream and snapped this one real quick.
Oceanside SunsetThis was taken in front of Tyson St. in Oceanside. The rocks on the beach gave some nice foreground interest as the sun sets behind the pier. Share a PepsiThis is a series of photos I took of my daughter and niece sharing a pepsi at the baseball game. It was pretty classic and funny to watch. Every sip and moment of sharing was carefully calculated.
Charlee and her 'bling'. She came and laid down on my reflector and looked at me like this all on her own. I couldn't have asked her to do anything better. She's a full-on pro! Once again, Charlee delivers. It was like working with a professional model who just knows what you want as a photographer. My sister showing my daughter some love at the outdoor Easter service at Life Mission Church, in Escondido, CA. My daughter with a rare smile for the camera. She usually just makes funny faces now but I had my sister-in-law getting her attention here. My daughter playing on the playground after the Easter service at Life Mission Church.
My daughter and niece singing a song together and showing their stage skills. This is Dakota (kota), my dad's dog. He's a monster of a dog and he's battling cancer. He might not last too much longer so I thought my parents would like a photo of him. One more shot of Kota with a larger depth of field. He's got a great personality and loves everyone; also really protective of kids.
I had one more series of photos in mind I wanted to do before I returned to Tahoe. If you've been following the blog or my feed on instagram lately, you know that I've been enjoying taking photos of some of my family and friends. I targeted my dad and somehow convinced him to pose on his bike for some photos. I don't think anybody has ever taken pictures of my dad like this, which explains the laughs from some of my family members. They laugh because they've never seen him like this -- but this is what he loves more than anything else. His passion and biggest hobby is his motorcycle, going on rides, and planning long trips in search of the best roads to ride a bike. Knowing this I couldn't think of a better way to photograph him. I had a couple pictures in mind from famous photographers, one of which being Joe McNally, that I wanted to try to replicate but of course adopt to whatever setting I could find.
We left the house a couple hours before sunset and drove up and over a hill in east Oceanside called Sleeping Indian. I've grown up starring at this hill (that looks like a sleeping indian) my entire life from my childhood backyard so I thought it was kind of cool to be targeting this area that also represents a part of who he is and the home he's made in Oceanside. We ended up on the other side of Sleeping Indian and into the western part of Fallbrook to a spot with a nice view of the sunset with Camp Pendeleton in between. After the sun set the sky began to glow and I had a limited window to work with before it got too dark. My dad was sick but hung in there pretty good and thankfully his bike started up after draining the battery by keeping the lights on.
All in all I had a lot of fun with all these photos and of course learned a lot in the process. Thanks for tuning in and keep an eye out for the next blog post coming soon with words and photos from a trip to summit Mt. Shasta.
Have a great day!
Keywords: camp, family, kayaking, kids, lake tahoe, lifestyle portrait, milky way, motorcycle, oceanside, pets, pier, portraits, ride, snickers, snow, snowboarding, splitboarding, stars, sunset, tahoe, tent
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