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Friday Slide Show: Donner Lake Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

22 April 2016

A few days ago we were pushing ahead with the OpticFilm 135 review, scanning a few Ektachrome images of Lake Tahoe from the last century. We thought they might make a nice follow-up slide show to our Yosemite images last week.

Those were black-and-white negatives. The Tahoe images would have been color. And our very first actual slide show for our Friday Slide Show.

But we weren't happy with the color scans. We tried several white balance settings and used multiexposure and saved them as DNGs in VueScan but as we worked on them in Lightroom they got further and further away from what we wanted.

Well, what exactly did we want?

Ah, we knew, we knew. We'd spent a weekend in North Lake Tahoe in February 2007 with a Nikon D200 and an 18-200mm Nikkor. And we've never forgotten a handful of those shots.

The lake itself is a wonder. It is long and broad and high in the Sierras whose peaks tumble beautiful cloud formations over it. You can get a nice view from a number of places.

It was just a short stop. Our host asked us if we wanted to get out to take some pictures.

But even on the shores of the lake, there's a lot to enthrall you. The water itself is surprisingly clear. You can see down a lot further than you ever have anywhere else. And flecks of fool's gold mesmerize you.

The rock formations, the sandy beaches, the trees all play leading roles in the drama of that gorgeous setting.

The images we took that weekend are engraved in our mind's eye. We wondered if we'd already published them here before. So we looked over everything back to 2012 but didn't see a single one.

Still, we didn't think they would, on their own, make much of a slide show.

Then we remembered the images we took at the Vista Point west of Donner Lake on the Sunday we left the Tahoe basin.

It was just a short stop. Our host asked us if we wanted to get out to take some pictures. We wouldn't have imposed, frankly. Not our style.

But we didn't refuse, either. That also isn't our style.

We had a polarizer on the lens and the scene was magical. We lined it up to get a wide angle view of the sky with the lake sitting half-frozen below. Snap. Zoomed in a little for a tighter composition. Snap.

Then we looked south, to our right, and saw the train snow shed running along the side of a mountain covered in snow. Snap.

That had worked so well, we looked to our left, to the north and framed a nearly bare rock, hot enough from the southern exposure to have melted its snow. Snap.

The canopy of clouds had moved a bit by the time we looked back at Donner Lake. We thought a vertical would make a nice alternative crop. So we twisted the polarizer and took that shot.

We were out there two minutes, that's all. Hardly an imposition.

We processed these old NEFs in Lightroom using our Clarity preset as a starting point. And we were done.

They're just five images grabbed in two minutes but for us they've been food for the soul for years.

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