Underwater Adventures in Lake Tahoe

Well, Hello!  : )

I have the lucky privilege of calling some of the most brilliantly talented pet photographers in this industry dear friends. And these wonderful friends / rockstar pet photographers, decided to start a monthly blog ring in which we could challenge ourselves and showcase some of our most recent work.

So, here’s the part where you’ve reached my section of the blog ring! WAHHH! How exciting! (or maybe you’ve started here, in which case, my former statement is invalid – but my previous exclamation of ‘WAHHH!’ still rings true.)

Things over here in Dog Breath land have been so off the charts crazypants busy with shooting and traveling, that I hadn’t had the opportunity to participate in the blog ring as of yet — but finally, this month, I’ve managed to find some time to work on my entry – and I’m super excited to share with you! Our theme this month is ‘water’, and I about jumped out of my skin with happiness when I heard that one — because I have the absolute perfect project that I’ve been working on. GAHH! : )

To start, let me tell you a little bit about my water shots.

I’ve had very special plans that have been in the making for quite some time now.

All those years ago, when I started my adventure into photography, I made a promise to the creative fire inside of me – and that promise was that I was never, ever going to settle – no matter what. It’s important to me to constantly innovate and change. To keep my head and my heart pointed firmly towards the stars – to keep working and pushing my boundaries – to constantly find my way to the precipice, that scary spot that rests quite frighteningly outside of my comfort zone.

Last year, while working abroad – teaching the Zoomies Pet Photography workshop in Australia – I had the life changing opportunity to snorkel the Great Barrier Reef in northern Queensland. From the moment I stuck my head underneath that crystal blue water – I felt something inside me shift. There was MAGIC under that water. A whole world that I had never seen before. Colors and light dancing all around me. Corals and fish and tiny little lifeforms in splashes of brilliant neon swaying in the soft current. I was so overwhelmed with that fairytale landscape that I held my hands out before me to make sure that it was all real, and I felt a tear form in the corner of my eye. At that moment, I realized that a whole world of magic and inspiration had always been beneath me – sharing this beautiful earth — and I had never known of it before. It was in that moment that I fell in love with water – and with the endless landscapes beneath the surface that sit so quietly waiting to be discovered.

It was that moment, and the days followed that I began to dream up ideas of mixing two of some of the most beautiful things that this earth has to offer – dogs and natural bodies of water. I researched and researched and researched underwater photography and underwater landscapes for endless hours. Finally, at the very beginning of this year – standing in that really scary spot that’s located boldly outside of my comfort zone – I had a custom underwater rig made for Dog Breath Photography.

Just a few weeks ago, I made a great big journey out to Lake Tahoe in Nevada to give it all my very first go. (Can you think of anywhere more magical to discover a freshwater, beneath-the-surface landscape? I couldn’t! Thats why I bought a plane ticket there and spent 5.5 hours sitting in a window seat and really having to pee but not being able to get up the guts to wake my sleeping neighbor.) : P

When we first arrived to our location in gorgeous Incline Village, Nevada, I was breathless.  I climbed down from the path and up to the rocks that kissed the water’s edge and I squealed with delight over all that beauty. It was like nothing Id ever seen before. We had 4 1/2 straight hours of shooting scheduled in and I was over the moon with excitement. Laying my eyes upon the scene, I felt like a little kid on Christmas just before the biggest gift. : )  I snapped this shot before we started, in an attempt to remember that moment forever…


When we started our day, it was a bit overcast – with dramatic clouds swirling and dancing across the sky. Miss Morgan the Bernese Mountain dog was up first and she swam happily through that crystal clear water in search of her favorite ball.


As the day went on, the clouds started to move and change, letting little glints of sunbeams in here and there, as the sun passed behind the holes between the clouds. The color of the water reminded me of a turquoise stone – glittering, and sparkling underneath all that sunshine. As the afternoon went on – the water started to pick up a bit – small waves forming and crashing here and there against the shiny rocks. I took another snap as I reveled at the color of that crystal water.


The moving water lent itself quite well to this image of gorgeous Maverick sitting happily atop this rock. I loved watching the rhythm and sway of the lake from this newfound perspective. Maverick was such a fabulously behaved little wiggler! He wanted nothing more than to fling his body off of that rock and splash down into the water. Cause, you know…Labs… 🙂 Luckily for me, as a trained service and crisis response dog – he was meticulously well-behaved and sat patiently like a rockstar while he waited for me to click the perfect shot!


And while the day did present its own set of challenges (very, VERY cold water, moving waves tossing us about here and there, and eventually, one of the major batteries that powered our rig falling off my assistant’s shoulder and splashing into the lake) .. I am so SO thrilled with the energy and aesthetic of the resulting images, and I absolutely can’t WAIT to do it again! 🙂 (minus the battery part — $400 and a whole boatload of inconvenience later, that was a little devastating. No pity though! We happily survived!)


Above, is a sneak peek at what it looked like behind-the-scenes, while I was working with gorgeous Morgan. Holy banana sandwiches thank goodness for my ultra thick wet suit!! I’m pretty sure it saved me from Lake Tahoe induced hypothermia. 😛 (forgive the poor quality of the above shot – its a still that was grabbed from a GoPro video that I was lucky enough to have shot as behind the scenes footage of the whole adventure! Many thanks to my best bud Megan for filming this for me! Oh and for being by my side while freezing your cute little bum off!)

I hope you loved hanging out with me here in Dog Breath land! (Come back now, y’hear?!) <– is that super cheesy?? 🙂

Now it’s time to click on over to discover what kind of water-themed magic the incredibly talented Holly Montgomery of Brindleberry Pet Photography has in store for us! Enjoy your trip around the ring!


10 thoughts on “Underwater Adventures in Lake Tahoe”

    1. Alysha – yes, it’s a monster! Totally crazy, almost 30 pounds! (which is right around 14 kgs) To say it was a challenge to shoot with is an UNDERSTATEMENT! haha! 😛

  1. You are pretty cool, Kaylee. Love the photographs. Love the story. Love the huge underwater rig with the red hair. Jacques Cousteau would be proud. Kent

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s