Blue Dream, Photographed this year on my birthday (February 15th, 2020)
Birthdays can be a big deal at all ages. When you’re a kid, birthdays are the absolute best! Cake, presents and maybe a party or a special outing. As an adult they lose some of the charm as it’s just another year older, or another day on the grind. However, for those that choose it’s an opportunity to put your foot down and make a plan to do something meaningful on the one day you can have your way. For my wife Leah and I, on either of our birthdays, we almost always capitalize on the opportunity to go somewhere cool to take photos. Looking through our Lightroom catalog (our software of choice) shows this to be true. Every year since I’ve been digitally logging my photos shows a nature photoshoot on February 15th, or at least a road trip within the week. If I were to have my older 35mm film logged better, I’m sure my negatives and transparencies would also show many images taken in the middle of February. When it comes down to it, given a choice of how to spend any special day, I'll always opt towards nature and photography.
Valley View B+WOpen Edition Image by Sky Emerson Location: Yosemite National Park Valley View B+W, A Photograph I took on my birthday in 2016
This February (2020) we didn’t travel far, but we made sure to get out and shoot on the 15th. We drove the 30 mins it takes to get from Truckee to the East Shore of Lake Tahoe and were rewarded with one of the most spectacular sunsets we’ve ever seen. The vibrant colors were so intense at one point the whole world, every rock, every stick, branch and pinecone, all were glowing with an inconceivable orange hue. The color moved fast (as it always does) and I only composed one solid image while the sunset was peaking. While I wish I had pulled off another image with this dramatic 360-degree lightshow, East Shore Alight, as I've named this capture, is pretty satisfying and definitely the best sunset image I’ve taken at the Lake.
East Shore Alight, Photographed on my Birthday this year in 2020
The most memorable birthday I've had as a photographer occurred in Yosemite Valley in 2016. Leah and I took our first “photo trip” to the Valley, and of course it was magical! As the sun came up at Tunnel View, Leah nailed “Yosemite Sunrise,” one of our most popular images to date. After a fun day of hanging out in the valley, that evening we were blessed to see the phenomenon known as the Yosemite Firefall. It exceeded all expectations and was truly magnificent! “Horsetail Fire,” is my best-selling image and my personal favorite.
"Horsetail Fire"Limited Edition Image by Sky Emerson (200) Location: Yosemite National Park "Horsetail Fire," my favorite and best selling image. Photographed on 2/15/2016
Leah Emerson's "Yosemite Sunrise" photographed on 2/15/2016
Visits from sea otters (multiple years), hikes through the redwoods and sunsets on the beach have also been a theme for past birthdays. As long as I can do what I want on my special day, best believe I’ll be making wishes to be somewhere rad with my camera and my wife, enjoying nature’s bounty.
Quizzical Sea OtterOpen Edition Image by Sky Emerson Location: Moss Landing, California An interested Sea Otter. Photographed on 2/15/2013
Jackson State FallsOpen Edition Image by Sky Emerson Location: Jackson State Forrest, Mendocino County, CA Chamberlain Falls, Mendocino Redwood Forest. Photographed on 2/15/2015
Sunning Sea OtterOpen Edition Image by Sky Emerson Location: Moss Landing, CA This Sea Otter seemed into being friends. Photographed on 2/15/2018
Images from the California CoastOpen Edition Images by Sky Emerson Location: Garrapata State Park, CA Images from the California CoastOpen Edition Images by Sky Emerson Location: Garrapata State Park, CA
Beautiful scenes on the California Coast, Photographed on 2/15/2018
Point Arena LighthouseOpen Edition Image by Sky Emerson Location: Point Arena, California Stornetta Lands and Lighthouse, Point Arena CA. Photographed on 2/15/2019