January 15, 2016

Lake Tahoe: A Winter Wonderland in California

Words + Photos : Same Graves

The last time I went to Lake Tahoe, it was early September and we swam as the sun was setting. The changing seasons had begun, yet the lake was filled with campers, jet skiers and families on vacation. Little did I know that the next time I would visit, the change of those seasons would be in full effect and the everything would be covered in white. My personal favorite.

There’s something so magical about the snow that I’ve always loved. The way the air is crisp and quiet, sometimes almost eerily so. Growing up in northwest Oregon, we never had much snow. It rained 98% of the winter and when snow did fall, it melted or turned to slush by the oncoming rain. As such, the snow is always that much more sentimental and special to me. Like walking through a snow globe.

Tahoe 1
Tahoe 2
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One of my favorite things about traveling and visiting a place over and over again is the changing of the seasons and how it causes the landscape to take on an entirely different persona. As a photographer, it’s fun to have the opportunity of capturing the same place, but in different conditions. It’s as though you’re seeing it with a new set of eyes or a very fresh perspective. Seeing Tahoe in the middle of winter was like returning to a whole new place that I had never seen before. It was amazing.

Tahoe 4A
Tahoe 4B
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Tahoe 7B

The beauty of Tahoe and the Eastern Sierras is breathtaking, regardless of the condition. It’s becoming one of my new favorite places to visit, as it’s only 3 hours outside of San Francisco, an easy drive and the perfect getaway location to spend time with friends, doing what we love to do most – explore and create.

I love being in a car full of people when driving past a beautiful scene and someone yells “STOP!” he driver immediately pulls over and, within seconds, we all pile out of the car with our phones and cameras in hand, ready to capture the beauty that lies before us. It adds a different meaning to the word ‘adventure’ because not everything has to be a 20-mile hike through the jungle or a camping trip in the mountains while braving sub-zero temperatures. Sometimes, it can be just as meaningful and adventurous to drive through the snow, searching for places to pull off on the side of the road–like playing a game of I-spy-with-my-little-eye. It’s all what you make it, and though I have a love for some of the more rigorous outings, simple moments like these are just as special.

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Tahoe 9A
Tahoe 9B

Braving the cold bite of winter becomes much more enjoyable when shared with good people and with a simple agenda of searching for beauty. It makes driving 4 hours through the snow and ice an adventure. he process of getting to the destination becomes a treasure hunt–never knowing what lies around the next corner yet always expecting something amazing. Not every experience in nature needs to be as breathtaking and awe inspiring as the tallest mountain or the best sunset. Sometimes it’s the simple things that leave us speechless, if we let them.

Tahoe 10

Photos by @thesamegraves@jordvnxsf@oscarwastaken@lisabao, and @isabellekri

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