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Bonsai Milk

One of the challenges in photography is to find something that nobody else has taken a photo of. Around the Bay Area there are so many amazing photographers that it's very difficult to find a scene that they haven't already photographed! One of my favorite places in Lake Tahoe is the iconic Bonsai Rock. I first saw this place a couple years ago when David Shield uploaded a couple shots from here and I knew I had to go to the place!


One photo that Willie and I had never seen was a photo of the milky way over Bonsai Rock. We did some research and decided that we would head to Tahoe on August 16th. Unfortunately for us, others must have read our minds because almost less than week before we were scheduled to head to Tahoe a couple photographers took the exact shot we were going to take!


After a long day at work in which we were both exhausted, we left the Bay Area and I drove us to Tahoe and over to Bonsai Rock. We arrived early, hoping to light-paint the rock before the milky-way was in position. Quickly we realized that light-painting gave a fake looking view of Bonsai Rock and the tree on top. After photographing the Milky Way sitting on-top of Bonsai Rock we proceeded to take several minute long exposures taking advantage of the natural light to show Bonsai Rock in our photos. Luckily there was enough light pollution to provide a nice orange glow in the background and also light up the rock.


This is a 3-shot blend: an 8-minute exposure to show Bonsai Rock, a 15 second exposure of the Milky Way above Bonsai Rock, and a 6 minute exposure for the foreground rocks framing the bottom left of the photo


Nikon D800 w/Nikkor 24mm f/1.4G ED:

Milky Way: 24mm, f/1.6, 15 sec, ISO 3200

Bonsai Rock: 24mm, f/2, 8 minutes, ISO 640

Foreground Rocks: 24mm, f/2, 6 minutes, ISO 400


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Landcape Photography Magazine Showcased Photo in September 2012.


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Taken on August 17, 2012