Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Stormy shoreline, Lake Tahoe

Our trip to Lake Tahoe in October wasn't all bears and salmon, as we took a drive around the lake on Sunday afternoon. It was unfortunately a rainy day, but we did get periods of time without precipitation, which provided a chance to shoot some landscapes with a wonderfully dramatic sky. This shot is from the Sand Harbor area on the Nevada side of the lake during a mostly dry walk along the shore.

Lake Tahoe Shoreline

Since the sky had such wonderful color but was rather bright, I thought this would be a good chance to take some bracketed sets and try my hand at HDR for the first time. This is a combination of 3 frames, each one stop apart. I'm not sure that this was the most ideal situation for requiring a blended exposure, but compared to what I was able to do in a single frame in Lightroom it did seem to help a bit. I was able to retain more of the color in the sky, while still keeping the rocks evenly lit in the foreground. This is definitely something I need some work with, but it was a fun exercise all the same.

Wider view, Lake Tahoe

I've included a "making of" shot, courtesty of my lovely wife, since she takes such great pictures of me taking pictures. I had to laugh when I saw this one too, because I know she was chuckling at me during this shot since I had just explained how I would need to go to the furthest rock I could reach in order to get just the right composition. Of course, when I compare the results of my HDR efforts to what came out of my wife's point and shoot in auto mode, perhaps it wasn't worth the trouble!

Photographing Tahoe


  1. That's a very natural looking HDR, nice job. A lot of people tend to over do it. I love how HDR always brings out detail in cloudy skies. One of the main light bulbs in my head goes off to use HDR in those sort of situations. If u can grab a trial of NIKs photoshop hdr plugin its pretty wild. Isn't it great having the misses to photograph you? If it wasn't for them we'd never have proof we use a camera! Haha. All the best!

    P.s. doesnt't hurt when they nail the composition either. I say it rubs off :-p

  2. How are you doing your HDR? I've been using a free/volunteer-to-pay LR plug-in called Enfuse. Try it, you might like it. It has a pretty natural look.

  3. Thanks, Jarred! I agree with you that often I see HDR from others that is just unnatural, and that doesn't appeal to me at all. But I think of HDR as a tool to help expose a difficult scene for the camera sensor in a way that accurately depicts how I saw it at the time. I've read a few articles and books about how to do it naturally, and I think its a really powerful method for contrasty scenes. And lol about the composition skills rubbing off! I'm sure that's it ;-)

    Thanks, John -- that's actually what I'm using as well. I saw it on Phillip Colla's blog where he gave it a really positive review, and the price seemed right for having a chance to experiment with HDR (instead of having to drop ~$100 for a dedicated program).