Why Carson Valley is a Photo-worthy Destination

scenic valley snow

Through the Eyes of Local Photographers

Carson Valley is a pocket of northern Nevada where nature, landscapes and wild characters harmonize throughout the region’s four communities of Genoa, Gardnerville, Minden and Topaz Lake.

topaz lake

Topaz Lake Shoreline, photo by Zach Hooper.

The beauty of the mountains, high desert landscape, ranch lands and wild residents is unmistakable. Needless to say, the endless visual storytelling opportunities provides variety for photographers who call this area home – dubbed #WhyCV, meaning why they love Carson Valley. Each happily reveal insider tips, locations and subjects for the ultimate social distancing

Genoa NV

Photo by Hellen Newman

The monthly #WhyCV Photographer Spotlight Series highlights each photographer’s unique Carson Valley photo experience. For example, nature lover and photographer Cheryl Broumley introduces us to some famous Carson Valley’s residents – wild horses. Wildlife preservationist and photographer John T. Humphrey demonstrates the beauty of Carson Valley’s open space and shares a consideration for the wellbeing of the region’s ecosystem. Family man and hiking enthusiast John Flaherty has been featured on local news hundreds of times simply by capturing the beauty that surrounds his Topaz Lake home and the magic of simply getting outside.

Borrowing from the professionals themselves, visitors are encouraged to seek out the region’s most photo-worthy sites, locations and subjects:


Dangberg Home Ranch

Dangberg Home Ranch, photo by John T. Humphrey.

To capture historical anecdotes, full of texture and century-old stories, visitors can explore the Carson Valley community of Genoa, Nevada’s first permanent settlement and home to the Genoa Bar, Nevada’s oldest thirst parlor. Architectural photographers will appreciate the scenes at the JT Basque Bar & Dining Room in Gardnerville. The historic building and delicious food have deep roots in the region’s rich Basque history. Still life photographers will marvel at the photo opportunities at the Dangberg Home Ranch Historical Park where a fascinating collection of artifacts and historical ranching scenes can be shot as well as the haven it provides for raptors and owls.


moonrise topaz lake nv john flaherty

Moonrise over Topaz, photo by John Flaherty.

Landscape photographers will appreciate the scenes along the Carson River at River Fork Ranch, an 800-acre preserve owned and operated by the Nature Conservancy. With the Carson Range of the Sierra Nevada rising to the west and its banks flanked by key wetland, meadow and riparian habitats, the Carson River displays landscape splendor year round. Known as the desert gem, Topaz Lake is a picture window to eastern Sierra Nevada landforms, equally beautiful with each changing season.

Photographers in pursuit of solitude will find the Pine Nut Mountains captivating with it’s rock formations, diverse geology and desert geography in a remote setting.


Carson Valley, NV

Photo by Dwayne Hicks, DwaynesWorld.com.

Perhaps the most rewarding subjects in Carson Valley are the flora and fauna that call northern Nevada home. The region has an abundance of raptors, migratory birds, reptiles, mountain lions, lynx, rare wild flowers, unique vegetation, wild mustangs and bears. Local photographers delight in getting acquainted with their wild subjects and learning to honor their habitat and open space.

Each winter in the months of December, January and February, wildlife photographers find plentiful bald and golden eagles and other raptors to capture. The birds of prey descend on the Valley’s cattle ranches in pursuit of the high protein nutrients provided by the afterbirth during calving season. Exclusive access to the ranches and photography workshops are available during the Eagles & Agriculture event, held annually in January. In the spring, hikers with cameras in hand find the wildflower blooms quite visible from the valley’s expansive trail networks. Throughout the year, horse lovers view mustang bands as they graze, play and roam at the Fish Springs Habitat and Pine Nut Mountain Range outside Gardnerville. Extra care, distance, respect and safety is encouraged when entering the range or photographing any wildlife.

2019 Eagles and Ag Photo Contest Winner – Kim Steed.

For a complete gallery of the Photographer Spotlight Series, visit online. More amazing photos can be found on Instagram and this website. As beautiful as each photographer’s shots are, nothing is better than capturing one’s own moment in time.

troy right fall river

Fall along the Carson River, near Woodfords. Photo by Troy Wright.