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Emerald Jewels [Explored]

*** Explored #86 on 4/3/2012! ***

 

A couple weeks ago Willie asked me to reserve the weekend of March 30, 2012 for a photo-trip. About the same time, my roommate and a bunch of my friends decided to make that same weekend a Tahoe get-away/ski-trip weekend. I wanted to do both so I convinced Willie to join and we'd shoot Lake Tahoe.

 

We had been monitoring the weather all week and it seemed like every 5 hours the report changed. A large storm was rolling in but nobody could decide when exactly it would hit. We knew we wanted to shoot Bonsai Rock (which I have previously photographed) and Emerald Bay. Planning this photo trip turned into a nightmare because we weren't sure what sunrises or sunsets would be good and we couldn't figure out if the roads would even be open. The road to Emerald Bay had been closed all week due to snow / avalanche control but finally opened as we drove up to Tahoe. Friday night we drove to Bonsai Rock and had a skunked sunset (but I did manage to get a photo that I was happy with thanks to the Lee Big Stopper, coming soon).

 

Saturday morning we woke up at 5:15am (ouch), wiped the sand out of eyes and hit the road. I had done some research and found that Emerald Bay was not only really close to our cabin but also pretty easy to photograph. Just pull off on one of the turn-outs, find a spot that doesn't have trees, and shoot. We were the only ones on the road when we got to Emerald Bay and only a few cars passed us as we watched the sunrise. There were a LOT of clouds (as you can see) but we were lucky and an opening in the east allowed the sunrise to sneak through and light up the clouds. We were treated for a beautiful sunrise (finally Mama Nature played nice for us!). Thanks to a super massive wind that had blown in, Emerald Bay also had some neat wave action going on (which you can see in this photo).

 

Willie used his new Singh-Ray Reverse ND Grad and was able to get a large dynamic range with very little clipping. My HiTech Reverse ND isn't as soft and was doing some ugly things to the hill on the left so I had to settle for 2 filters and some bracketing. This shot is a 2-exposure blend, although the underexposed photo was only used in the bright section on the right of the photo, above the mountains and below the clouds. I was really tempted to adjust the white balance on this to make the sky more purple -- it looked really nice, but I decided against it because I wanted to keep the photo more realistic / looking like how my eye saw it.

 

Nikon D700 w/Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED AF-S:

24mm, f/18, 10 sec, ISO 100

B+W Polarizer + Lee Filter Holder + (0.9 + 0.3) HiTech Soft ND Grad's

 

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Taken on March 31, 2012