My wife and I visited Lake Tahoe in May, 2008 on a vacation that included other beautiful locations such as San Francisco, Muir Woods National Monument, and Yosemite National Park. As you can see in the above image, Lake Tahoe is stunning, and yes it really is that blue! During our visit, we spent the day driving all the way around the lake and this view is one of my favorites. The timing of our visit was such that I could only photograph during the mid-day hours, which is not be best time, but I made the most of the opportunity anyway. This location would be great at sunset, so I will definitely have to go back! In this particular image, I used the foreground rocks to add depth to the image allowing the viewer to start with these rocks, see the rocks under the water and then travel out across the lake to the Carson mountains in the distance. I used a polarizing filter to reduce the reflections on the water to reveal the rocks underneath. The filter also darkened the sky which added a little more contrast.
It is commonly believed that Lake Tahoe is of volcanic origin, but the lake was actually formed by faulting – fractures in the earth’s crust allowing blocks of land to rise and sink. Over several million years two principal steep faults evolved, the eastern margin created the Carson Range while the Sierra Nevada mountains rose on the western side. Fed by snow, rain, and draining creeks and rivers, Lake Tahoe formed near the southern and lowest part of the basin.
Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in North America, 22 miles long and 12 miles wide with 72 miles of shoreline. Two-thirds of the lake is in the state of California and one-third is in the state of Nevada. It is the third deepest lake in North America, and the tenth deepest in the world. Its greatest measured depth is 1,645 feet and averages 1,000 feet. In North America, Crater Lake in Oregon at 1,930 feet, and the Great Slave Lake in Canada at 2,101 feet are deeper. The water temperature at the surface varies from about 40° F in winter to 70° F in summer, and below 700 feet it is a constant 39° F. The lake is so clear because 40% of the precipitation falling into the Lake Tahoe basin lands directly on the lake. The remaining precipitation drains through the decomposed granite soils found in marshes and meadows, creating a good filtering system.
You can see more of my Lake Tahoe images in my gallery here. If you have any questions about this website or my photography, please click here to email me.