Photo of the Week | Secret Cove – Lake Tahoe

Every Friday I will be posting a Photo of the Week. Here I’ll be sharing the details on how I got the shot, where I was, and the backstory that went into it. I hope you find this enjoyable, and helpful in your own photography.


Camera: DJI Mavic Air
Lens: DJI FC2103 4.5mm
ISO: 100 4.5mm f/2.8 1/400s

Some times you head out with a trailhead with a shot in mind, others will just surprise you when you get where you’re going. This time, it was the ladder. Court and I, while on a trip to Lake Tahoe, had a shot in mind that she really wanted. One where she’d be out on her SUP in a crystal clear, blue cove, and I’d be shooting photos from above. We brought the SUP with us, hiked it down to Secret Cove and everything. It wasn’t until we got closer did we realize the water was way too rough. On a warm, sunny day, maybe we would have braved it. But it was ~45F outside, cloudy, and the water felt like it was one cold gust away from freezing over. Needless to say, we did not want to risk falling into the water and having to hike out.

The issues, of course, did not end there. Even though we decided against going into the water, I still wanted to fly the drone to catch a few coastline shots. I pulled out the drone, powered it up, followed by the remote controller. But when I went to turn the app on my phone, it had been offloaded by my iPhone! I couldn’t believe it! And because it is bigger than 150mb to reinstall it, the AppStore wouldn’t let me download it again. I was devastated. Not only wasn’t I going to get my shot, but I wasn’t going to get any shots!

Thankfully, Court came to the rescue. She setup a hotspot and allowed me to finish re-downloading the DJI GO 4 app onto my phone. Crisis averted.

I launched the drone, in spite of the the rain drops that I hoped wouldn’t come down any harder. And after taking a few videos of pull away shots and reveal shots, I flew it away for one more shot. I felt like I hadn’t captured the immensity and intricate beauty of the cove within its surroundings. Once I got 700ft away, and about 300ft up into the sky, the photo came into frame. I felt good about the shot, but it wasn’t until I got it onto my computer did I really appreciate it for what it was!

The aqua blue waters in the cove fade into the dark blues and purples in the deeper portions of the lake. Meanwhile, the bright evergreens by the banks also turn darker as they fade off into the distance. All while framed by the white capped peaks in the background. An awesome shot and an even better experience in Lake Tahoe!

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