The Artist – Elizabeth Carmel

“I saw this country as if I had not seen it before—like I was being led slowly, carefully, along a great and beautiful path. To have this sensation of stop time observation is not easy. This work simply stopped me in my tracks. I am grateful.”

Robert Redford’s Comments on the Photography of Elizabeth Carmel
From His Foreword to Elizabeth’s Brilliant Waters Book

Elizabeth Carmel is a professional fine art photographer specializing in unique, expressive landscapes and “waterscapes”. She is the co-owner of the Carmel Galleries in Truckee and Calistoga, California. Elizabeth’s fine art prints combine dramatic photography, vivid colors, and artistic touches to create new, captivating visions of the natural world. Using ultra-high resolution 100 megapixel digital photography, she is able to capture the subtle details of the natural world and transfer them to large prints with stunning clarity and color. She does her own printing on fine art paper or canvas with long-life pigmented inks. Her awardecburano winning images are in numerous galleries and private collections throughout the United States. Her prints have been displayed at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C., at the California Museum of Photography and the Nevada Museum of Art. Elizabeth published a book of her photography titled “Brilliant Waters, Portraits of Lake Tahoe, Yosemite and the High Sierra” with a foreword by Robert Redford. Elizabeth has recently released a new book titled “The Changing Range of Light, Portraits of the Sierra Nevada,” which pairs her photographs with important information about the effects of climate change on the Sierra Nevada mountains.

Elizabeth’s work has been featured in many publications, including People Magazine, Professional Photographer, Hasselblad Forum, Outdoor Photographer, Sierra Magazine, Sierra Heritage, and Tahoe Quarterly. She is a regular columnist for Outdoor Photographer Magazine. She was also one of 12 photographers in the world selected as a Hasselblad Master Photographer in 2006. Her book “Brilliant Waters” was selected as the best Gift Book of 2006 by the San Francisco Chronicle Book Review. More information is available at

Elizabeth Carmel lives in Truckee and Calistoga, California with her husband Olof Carmel, who is also an accomplished photographer, and their 14 year old daughter. Olof and Elizabeth own and operate two Carmel Galleries located in the historic downtowns of both Truckee and Calistoga in Northern California. More information on their galleries is available at


I believe that experiencing the Earth’s beauty has the power to help nourish and unify us, both on a personal and global level. Through my photography I strive to translate these positive experiences into fine art prints. My goal is to contribute uplifting imagery to the world in a time when we are bombarded with so many negative and sensationalistic images. I hope my photographs help nurture a sense of hope and affection for the natural world. I believe that great fine art photographs are a gateway to a larger perspective about ourselves and the universe we inhabit.

Sometimes when on a photo shoot I feel pulled to a specific location to take a portrait of a place, and know that the resulting image is the product of serendipitous events that will likely never be repeated. Some of my images are more my own constructs, where I seek the realization of a specific vision in my final print. I strive to create images that link us to feelings and perceptions we may not access regularly in our daily lives. I believe that great fine art photographs are a gateway through habitual thinking to a larger perspective.


Commissions & Collections:

Elizabeth Carmel was commissioned to do major installations of her work at the Donner State Park Museum in Truckee and at the Ritz Carlton Hotel at Lake Tahoe, California. Her work appears in numerous public and private collections throughout the world, including placement in the collection of one of the world’s leading art collectors. In 2013 HGTV acquired a collection of Elizabeth Carmel’s fine art photography for display in the HGTV Dream Home in Truckee. Please see Installation Examples for photos of her work on display.

In 2006 Elizabeth completed a very successful nationwide speaking tour sponsored by Hasselblad and Calumet.

Two of Elizabeth’s photographs were selected for the 2015 Exhibit at the Nevada Museum of Art: Lake Tahoe / A Visual History.


Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science, U.C. Berkeley, 1987


  • July 2013 – Windland Smith International Photography Award Winner.
  • 2006 Vincent Versace Award for Excellence in Photography.
  • 2006 International Photography Awards: Honorable Mention for “Brilliant Waters, Portraits of Lake Tahoe, Yosemite, and the High Sierra.”
  • 2006 American Society of Media Photographers Award for “Brilliant Waters, Portraits of Lake Tahoe, Yosemite, and the High Sierra.”
  • Nature’s Best Photography Awards , Elizabeth Carmel’s photograph titled “Sunset, Bonsai Rock” was chosen as a Highly Honored Winner in the Landscapes category of the 2005 Nature’s Best Photography Awards competition. Only 130 photographs were chosen from more than 14,000 images submitted this year.
  • Hasselblad Masters Award, In recognition of her uniquely beautiful imagery and technical expertise, Elizabeth is one of 12 photographers worldwide honored with the Hasselblad Master Photographer award for 2006.
  • Photoshop Guru Award, Digital Photography category – March 2004 – Top 3 finalist for this award from the National Association of Photoshop Professionals.
  • Macworld Digital Art Contest , 2 time winner in 2002 and 2003.

Selected Juried Exhibitions:

  • July 2015 – Elizabeth Carmel’s work will be featured in a major exhibit surveying the art of the Lake Tahoe region at the Nevada Museum of Art.
  • July 2013 – Windland Smith International Photography Awards – Elizabeth Carmel’s Image “Subterranean Garden” won the Plant Life Category and is on display at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington DC.
  • October 2008 – Exhibit at the California Museum of Photography: Elizabeth Carmel’s work was included in a major show looking at the history of the Leica and Hasselblad and the images made with these cameras. Her work was shown among other great Hasselblad images including Bert Stern’s Marilyn Monroe, NASA space images, Joe Deal, Mary Ellen Mark, Arnold Newman, and Ansel Adams.
  • Yosemite Renaissance XXIII, Yosemite National Park Museum, February 2008 through May 2008 (includes traveling exhibit.) Received an Honorable Mention for print “Tuolumne River in Summer.”
  • Gathering Calm – Solo Show at Wall Space in Seattle Washington, December 2006
  • May – June 2006 Environmental Photography Invitational: The Art Wolfe Gallery
  • The Other Roadside Attraction Fourth Annual Fine Art Exhibit, Benham Gallery, Seattle and Mt. Vernon WA. April 2-29, 2005. Curated by Marita Holdaway of the Benham Gallery.
  • Nevada Museum of Art Triennial Exhibition, July 16, 2005 to October 2, 2005. Elizabeth Carmel’s print titled ” Sunset, Bonsai Rock” was selected for display at this museum show.
  • Yosemite Invitational Art Show – Ansel Adams Gallery, Yosemite, Ca. May 2004.
  • A Synthesis of Photography and Imagination – Solo show at the River Gallery in Reno,Nevada, July 2004.
  • Yosemite Renaissance XVII, Yosemite National Park, February 2002 through March 2003 (includes traveling exhibit). Won “People’s Choice best of Show”.
  • Photography 2002 – International Juried Fine Art Photography Exhibit, Stage Gallery,New York, March 2002.
  • Sierra Artists’ Recent Works, North Tahoe Art Center, Tahoe City, Ca., January 2003.
  • Yosemite Renaissance XVIII, Yosemite National Park, February 2003 through March 2004 (includes traveling exhibit.)
  • Fall Colors – Solo Show at Vrooman Gallery, Truckee, Ca. October 2003.
  • Splendor of the Sierra Art Show – won best of Show for Mixed Media, August 2003.
  • Seybold Digital Art Gallery, Moscone Center, San Francisco, September 2001 and 2002.
  • Interpreting Landscapes, Fulton Street Gallery, Troy, New York, February 2002.


Elizabeth Carmel’s Work has been featured in the following publications.

– Outdoor Photographer
– Sierra Magazine
– Studio Photography and Design
– Hasselblad Forum
– San Francisco Chronicle
– Calumet Focus
– Sunset Magazine
– Shutterbug
– Pro Digital Imaging
– People Magazine
– Shutterbug

Personal Information

Born: 1964

Degree: Bachelor of Science from UC Berkeley, 1987

In 2013 Elizabeth Carmel was appointed as California Assembly Speaker’s Representative to the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency,  bi-state agency responsible for the long term preservation and restoration of Lake Tahoe.