Leave no trace

On Tuesday, October 19, I took a day off to go to Lake Tahoe with my husband. I packed light, just my camera, a 24-70 mm lens, and my circular polarizer from Lee. I use a square filter system (the movie on this link shows how it works), and I had the polarizer attached to the filter holder. 

The day was beautiful. Our first stop was at the Taylor Creek in South Lake Tahoe, where I had been many times. There was some snow on the ground, and beautiful yellows provided by the aspen trees and willow bushes. Tourists who had never seen snow before were having snowball fights and making tiny snow men. We walked slowly and I took some snapshots. When we stopped at the creek for a photo, and after I aimed at a seemingly dull scene I could well live without, my Lee filter holder fell in the creek, dragging my circular polarizer along with it. My husband and I contemplated about 350 U$ worth of equipment slowly submerging underneath a thin layer of ice. Without any hope to access that part of the creek, we left the Lee filter for the bears.

The photo above expresses how I felt walking back to the car! I should have substituted my square filter holder a long time ago. Landscape photographers had been aware of the problem with the holder for a while: sometimes when you angle the camera, the old holder detaches from the adaptor and the whole thing falls off. The new holder fixes the problem. I knew that I could lose my old model holder anytime, but I made the choice to do nothing about it.

The rest of the day was very nice and went well. I had the opportunity to collect some different leaves for my project “Folhas Secas”. The water level of the lake, creeks and waterfalls was very low. The photo below shows the Truckee River almost dry where it meets Lake Tahoe (below), leaving the rocky shore of the lake exposed. I got a little creative with it and processed it in Topaz Black and White, using one of their presets from the Platinum collection, added film grain and a vignette.  This is a fun, free to use program that works well with Photoshop. 

Where the Truckee River meets Lake Tahoe

15 thoughts on “Leave no trace

  1. Steve Schwartzman says:

    So the universe prompted you to upgrade your filter system. At least it wan’t your camera body and lens that went for a swim. The first photo is indeed symbolic of your spirits after the loss of the equipment.

    One great thing about California is that without having to travel a whole lot you have access to many different geographic regions and mini-climates.


    1. Alessandra Chaves says:

      Yes, lots of different biomes in Northern California within two hours of driving. Very beautiful. But it’s drying out. On this progression we will not be able to live here in the near future.

      Your observation that it’s at least not the lens and filter that fell off, thanks for that. It could have been worse. Upgrading the filter was needed.


  2. Steve Gingold says:

    Well, I would not say that this image was worth losing an expensive bit of equipment but it is a very nice image, albeit somewhat sorrowful; and testament to your desire to make images despite the disappointment. But…you do now have an undeniable and unavoidable reason to purchase some new goods for your kit. You are among the thousands of folks, including me, who lose or destroy something annually. I once lost the lens cap for my 70-200 and then found it two years later. 🙂

    I have a collection of Lee and Singh Ray rectangular filters and the only ones I use in the holder are the Little and Big Stoppers for long exposures or if I use more than one at a time. There are polarizers always mounted on each lens unless using the holder. For GNDs I hand hold them over the screw in polarizer.


    1. Alessandra Chaves says:

      Well, the image I tried to capture when I lost the polarizer, I never took. The one above I took after. It is interesting that you found your lens cap one year after losing it 😉 at least you did find it! I usually don’t find lens caps, except for an occasional one left in a jacket in the end of winter… and found one year later when I need the jacket again.

      What I understand about polarizer is that when used in conjunction with other filters, I needs to be the one in the very front. But I could well be wrong.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Steve Gingold says:

        There are different opinions on where the polarizer should go. Lee apparently believes in the back as that is where the slot is for theirs…at least on the version I have. I am not contemplating a move up to their new systems as mine still works just fine and I doubt the new filters are that much superior to the older. Maybe there is something about the mirrorless cameras that require the newer build on the filters but I am not planning on upgrading the camera either.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. shoreacres says:

    I feel better now about my decision to carry extra lens caps in the glove box of my car! I really like the photo of the dessicated leaves. It reminded me of a similar stem and leaves I photographed after Hurricane Harvey: bedraggled and totally mud-covered, but still hanging on.


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