Emerald bay in lake Tahoe, California.

Story behind the image:

Friends from out of state came over and wanted to go to Reno, NV. I had plans for lake Tahoe and, with the snow melting, wanted to visit some of my favorite spots like the Eagle falls by Emerald bay.

Sunday evening:

My plan is to head to the Emerald bay for a sunrise on Monday morning. Means I have to be there around 5 am. Considering it is a 1.5 hour drive from Reno, I would have to get up at 3 am – ouch!

Check the weather forecast – “mostly clear”; one site suggests 11% cloud cover and another site says 25%. Also a high wind advisory is issued for the afternoon…”I may not see any sky reflections on the water”- I thought.

Driving back from Sand Harbor – have to pick up friends from the casinos first and then try to squeeze in some sleep. Collect the friends (one is sooo wasted – too many free drinks :))… arrive at the hotel around 10pm. Go to bed? No, my body wants to have dinner. Since none of us had dinner yet, I agree. 11 pm I walk into the hotel room, set my alarm for 3 am and try to go to sleep. Half asleep I hear “bonk”, “waaaa” – my toddler son rolled off the bed! Dang!!! Wake up and put him back to sleep. “Maybe I should skip – the weather is not too promising. It was a clear sunrise the day before, and no storms are predicted” – I thought. “No, it is the last sunrise I can catch here before driving home… Just do it!”

Monday morning:

Alarm goes off and or how early it is! I want to sleep…”skip it? NO, GET UP”. Armed with a cup of coffee I make the drive to the lake and notice there are some promising clouds in the sky. Going along the western shore I notice the water is mirror smooth and feel tempted to stop and just shoot some lonely pier. “Keep going to the Eagle falls, the water flow is high right now” – I tell myself, and keep driving for another 20 minutes until I reach the falls. It is 5am and there is already another car parked by it! “Wow, someone else already beat me to it :)” was my reaction. Get out of the car and listen… “Yeap, the water is going good… BUT, what about the view of the Emerald bay first??? Because of the clouds the chances of having a nice sun star are slim, but having a great sky is more likely. Also, this is a window to get the sun rising almost right behind the bay, and not to the right side, like most of the year…” Choices, choices… OK, I will go a bit further and check it out. Clouds in the sky – check; mirror-like water on a windless morning – check (so much for my worries about the high wind advisory :)). All right, I will shoot the bay, and then head to the Eagle falls. 20 minutes before sunrise another 2 cars pull over and now there is three of us shooting.

Long story short – the sun slowly came up and illuminated the scene with all kinds of sunrise hues, changing from intense purple to red glow and exploding in deep orange following with brilliant golden yellows. The glow was all around and I was just soaking in the beauty of it. It was a pristine show all around the lake. Later, the lady that was shooting next to me said that this is very rare, especially in May, when there are no snow storms coming through. She lived in Tahoe area for 20 years, she said, and could not remember seeing such a beautiful sunrise. “Of course, no one knows how many sunrises at 5am you’d seen” – I thought, but the fact it even a 20 year Tahoe resident was amazed at the beauty we witnessed that morning.


If you read all this gibberish, you are spending too much time on your hobby :) … just kidding.

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PS - no filters used, just hand blending a few different exposures.

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