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July Wildflower & Galaxy Field Trips Lived Up to Expectations.
Club Members tested their skills to get beautiful shots of flowers and Milky Way.

Field Trip Report

by Kate McCarthy

The SCLH Photography Club conducted its “2017 Wildflowers, Waterfalls, Sunrises, Sunsets, and Galaxy Field Trip to Lake Tahoe on July 23-26.

Pete Henshaw, Les Thomas and Bob Bailkauskas spent months of pre-trip planning including; scouting the best locations for wild flowers and Milky Way shots, training members in the use of Theodolite and PhotoPills apps, and producing a fantastic packet of maps and restaurant tips that could be used long after the trip itself.

On July 23rd we departed for our various lodgings and began the adventure.  Since we are an independent group with a variety of interests, the trip had a “where’s Waldo” quality to it.  Leading our bunch is like “herding cats”.  I have to admit I was probably the worst “Waldo” spending most of my time in the Carson Pass area.

However, when we did touch base at dinner or a site, the camaraderie spilled out in conversations about the best compositions, best settings on our cameras, and funny stories about efforts to capture the best shots.  A photographer’s instinct to move a little to the left or back can end with an accidental tumble in the lake or worse.  

I can tell one story about myself. I was bound for a galaxy site at Silver Lake, and a bit worried about being alone until I arrived to see another member setting up his tripod.  Both of us had come to the same site, relieved for the company, and making get-away plans in case a bear wandered towards a dumpster nearby. It’s tough shooting the galaxy while looking over your shoulder for bears.

Dedication is the name of the game. We waited for the sunset and watched the stars appear out one by one until the Milky Way rose above the horizon. After shooting over an hour, along comes Truman and his band to continue the adventure.

With the trip over, the wanderers gathered on August 13th, for a Show and Tell Party wonderfully hosted by Marilyn and Less Thomas.  Sniffer, their sweet Labradoodle, circulated through the guests making everyone feel at home.  After an excellent and filling potluck dinner, we gathered around to view our best results.

The treasure of the Milky Way was reflected in the awesome work of Pete Henshaw, Truman Holtzclaw, and Bob Bailkauskas who captured magnificent views from Loon Lake while they were scouting sites, plus the Carson River, Caples Lake, and Silver Lake thus earning them the “Galaxy Reveal” honor.

Greg Ferguson did a wonderful panoramic view of a sunset on Loon Lake and shared how he “stitched it together.  Charlie Shuman, another Loon Lake alumni, shared his interpretation of the beauty of that site. Pat and Susan Jewell along with Fred and Debra Raach shared some wonderful sunrise shots of Emerald Bay capturing stunning reflections in the water. Sunrise and sunsets shots were more challenging than usual due to the forest fires in the area, but members were able to present some stunning images.

Mike and Anne Johnson, Brad Sean, and Don Bowden shared their adventures in search of the best wildflowers and delight in the cascades of Fallen Leaf Lake and Eagle Falls.

Larry White came through with his super lens and keen eyesight spotting a bald eagle from across Emerald Bay as well as fetching images of flowers opening in meadows nearby.  His presentation listed the proper names of all the birds and flowers he captured.  Both Larry and Norm Shockley captured some wandering black bears in their shots, one with unique markings that puzzled the naturalists in the group.

However it was Debra Raach who was given the “Get Down and Dirty” award for her exquisite shots of flowers that were so detailed that we could see the pollen on the insects that hovered around them. Bob Dale also wowed the crowd with his treatment of Cow Parsnip, Paint Brush, and other flowers blooming in the area.

Truman Holtzclaw captured the “Our People in Action” award with his wonderful “candid camera” ability to document all the members on the trip.  Gary Sloan, with his usual humorous asides, produced the surprise of the evening with some creative shots of fireworks.  I was surprised and honored with a “Using Natural Light” recognition for a black and white treatment of the Carson River.  

During the presentation we heard appreciative remarks and “how did you do that?” questions that resulting in a scribbling of notes throughout the room during the answers. All in all, it was a wonderful evening of camaraderie with warm and welcoming members of SCLH Photography Club.


Enjoy some of the wonderful images captured by the group.

Click photos to view full-size images.

Here are some images from the pre- and post-trip parties and the trip itself.

Click photos to view full-size images.

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