With summer officially here in Lake Tahoe, it’s the perfect time to get outside, go exploring and take some photos along the way. Here are a few of my favorite spots on the South Shore to explore and take “classic” Tahoe photographs.
Nevada Beach is a great spot to enjoy one of Lake Tahoe’s famous summer sunsets. Located on the East Shore 10 minutes from the Heavenly Gondola, Nevada beach is one of the best spots to watch the sunset. The beach provides vistas of the tall mountain peaks of the West Shore, and the sun sets each evening just behind South Lake’s most iconic peak: Mt Tallac. For photography, this is an awesome location to shoot directly into the sun and capture those magical sunbursts and reflections on the lake. For some unique foreground elements, look for the stunning old snag tree on the southwest side of the beach.
Lakeview Commons is centrally located in the heart of South Lake at El Dorado Beach. This beach is host to the popular Live at Lakeview Summer Music Series. Lakeview Commons is a great spot to photograph sunsets and has a different perspective than Nevada Beach. Remember, we get amazing alpenglow here and the sunsets can last a long time after the sun has set. I like to use the docks as foreground and shoot silhouettes of people walking along the beach.
Emerald Bay is one of the most iconic and photographed locations in Lake Tahoe. The bay is rich in history and offers activities for everyone from the historical Vikingsholm Estate, countless hiking trails and boat camping. This is a must-see location when in Lake Tahoe, and I recommend experiencing Emerald Bay from above and at water level on a boat. In the spring and early summer, Emerald Bay becomes even more magical with the help of lower Eagle Falls. The falls are a great place to shoot long exposure shots of the waterfall and the Bay. Early morning sunrise is the quintessential shot. Always remember that the sun sets behind Emerald Bay, so there’s no official “sunset” shot here. It’s best to get it in the morning and mid-day before bay gets too dark to shoot in the evening.
After hanging out at Emerald Bay and Eagle Falls, head across the street to the Eagle Lake trailhead. Eagle Lake is a great short hike and also a beautiful place to photograph. The hike is beginner/intermediate and two miles round trip. On the hike up to the lake, you will pass upper Eagle Falls and have amazing vistas of Emerald Bay and Lake Tahoe. Further along, you’ll reach Eagle Lake. This is a beautiful alpine lake set between rocky peaks and has crystal clear water. For photographs, this is a great spot to play with mountain reflections, water and color. There’s also some really nice moss on the rocks which makes for some great detail shots.
What are your favorite Lake Tahoe photo spots?
Remember, you don’t need an expensive camera to get a great shot. The best camera, is the one you have with you!
-Chris Stamey, Heavenly videographer