by Jeff Mitchum @JeffMitchumGalleries

September 8, 2017

Behind the Lens: "Tahoe Blues"

by Jeff Mitchum

Camera: Fuji GX617
Lens: 90 MM
Aperture: F5.8
Exposure: 6 hours
Film: Fuji Velvia, ISO 100
Location: Lake Tahoe, California

What originally beckoned me to Tahoe was the notion of finding a rustic boathouse. Wandering the vast shorelines, I finally discovered the one. Talk about charm and personality: This boathouse had it all.

Making it even more perfect, the boathouse faced north with open water behind it. I started formulating my plan, pondering which creative elements I could add to the composition.

I decided to change the perspective from horizontal to vertical and to include the North Star over the boathouse. If I could shoot a six-hour exposure on a night with a full moon, the star trails would be very distinct around the North Star.

At that point, I only needed to figure out how long to paint the boathouse with a flashlight. The answer: 12 minutes. It took me six months to figure out 12 minutes, but I finally got it right.

Besides six months of failure, what went into this image? A perfect evening with no wind or clouds, shooing raccoons away from climbing on my tripod in the early-morning hours, a bear walking down the beach and the greatest views in the world. It was the best six months I could invest!