Camera man

Martin Gollery

Martin Gollery has been taking photos around Lake Tahoe since moving to Incline Village 21 years ago.

Martin Gollery has been taking photos around Lake Tahoe since moving to Incline Village 21 years ago.


To see Martin Gollery’s work, search @laketahoephoto and @laketahoeportraits on Instagram.

Instagram users will generally tell you they use the app to follow at least a few photographers—the kind of professionals who post photos they’ve taken with Nikons, Canons and the like. Professionals make up only a small portion of the apps’ users—but following the hashtag for any city or region (think #renonevada or #laketahoe) can be a good way to seek them out. In the case of Lake Tahoe, Incline Village photographer Martin Gollery attracts a large following with photos covering a wide breadth of subject matter.

Gollery has a certificate in commercial photography from U.C. Berkeley and produces some work in that vein, but he also captures Tahoe landscapes and wildlife as a nature photographer and takes striking outdoor portraits, using light and shadow and even water to cleverly disguise and reveal his subjects in a way that speaks to boudoir photography.

“I have done actual boudoir photos with actual lingerie type stuff,” he said. “And I’ve also shot for a local bathing suit company. It’s Battle Born Beekinis.”

Tahoe weather is often not ideal for this type of photography, but Gollery said he finds his subjects are often willing to suffer some discomfort to achieve the end result.

“The main thing is that it’s harder to do them, but it’s usually more rewarding,” he said. “You can do a shoot at Sand Harbor with nobody else in the pictures.”

He also likes the striking juxtaposition seasonal change can create in photos, with subjects at lake level framed by distant, snow-capped mountains. These were the conditions for his Battle Born Beekini shoot, which happened in early spring.

“This is an example—you know, not bikini weather, right? I mean, look at this,” he said, pointing to snow on the mountains in one photo’s background. “But the lighting is just unbelievable. There was this natural light coming from the side. I had it filled with a flash here, and I might have a little something over here, too.”

As winter sets in, Gollery will do fewer outdoor portrait sessions. Though he remains open to them, he has other things to fill the bulk of his time.

“I just published a number of pictures in Tahoe Quarterly about the caves in the Gold Country—so Mono Caverns, Black Chasm Caverns, and then up by Mount Lassen, there’s one called Subway Cave,” he said.

Gollery is also a chemist and bioinformaticist and does photography and marketing for biotechnology firms. He and his family also sing with the Toccata Tahoe Symphony Orchestra and Chorus—and he’ll shoot photos for the group as well as at other concerts and benefit events and holiday parties. Outdoor portrait sessions are something he’ll book as often as people are game for them.

“I have a really thick Icelandic sheepskin that you can put around you, and it looks like Game of Thrones,” he said. “If you have a really long jacket … you can have a bikini underneath it. Particularly on a day like this, you could take snowy pictures in a bikini—and it’s really awesome, really fun.”

It’s also harder to do in some ways.

“A lot of the gates for trail heads are closed now,” he said. “So you have to know where to go and where to park and how to park and stuff like that—but that’s why you hire me."