sam graves

Labor Day weekend on Lake Tahoe

TravelSam Graves | @thesamgravesComment

Lake Tahoe, Nevada. On a weekend where I more or less put my camera away, there's always a those moments that I can't resist capturing. These are a few of them from what turned out to be an indescribable and unforgettable experience in a place I will not soon forget. 

Mt. Tamalpais: the REAL gem of the Bay.

TravelSam Graves | @thesamgraves3 Comments

I begin to crave it, being above the clouds and the feeling of walking in a dream. It has become an addiction and one that I'm profoundly satisfied with. This is my place. This is where I find my peace.

Overshadowed by the more widely known and mainstream tourist locations in the Bay Area like the Golden Gate Bridge, Mt. Tamalpais sits at 2400 feet and hovers above the northwestern coastline of the San Francisco Bay. With everything in sight. Hence my addiction.

One of my favorite things is having the opportunity of playing tour guide and bringing people up to Mt. Tam for the first time. As we begin to creep above the cloud line; their reaction is priceless. Every time. On this day, it was my long time Instagram buddy Dexter who had come to visit and had yet to meet in person after corresponding via social media for the past two years. Naturally, I wanted to show him my favorite place as he's from New York and doesn't get to see this kind of nature....ever. In the same moment that I was deciding the logistics of the trip, I received a text message from my good friend Alex Tavani telling me that a group of photographers were going up to Mt. Tam and that I should meet up with them. Perfect.

There are few things better than experiencing this place with a group of people who have two common interests: friendship and photography. And this is where the fun begins....

Sunrise at Crater Lake, Oregon

TravelSam Graves | @thesamgravesComment

Exhaustion was beginning to set in as I pulled up to the gas station just outside of Grants Pass, Oregon. The clock had struck 10pm and I was dreaming about getting back to my room and a bed to crash on. After having just finished photographing a wedding 20 minutes earlier and driving 9 hours from San Francisco the previous day, the last thing on my mind was another photoshoot. Until my phone rang. 

"Are you in Oregon" said my good buddy Bryan in a text. 

"Yeah, just got done shooting a wedding in Grants Pass" I responded. 

"You should meet Alex and I at Crater Lake" He said. "we'll be there in an hour". 

And in that moment, I knew that I wasn't going to bed, I wasn't going to get the rest I desired. But that what was about to happen next would likely be one of the most incredible experiences I had had to date.

And it was.