Posted by: kerryl29 | September 12, 2017

California Day 9: The Eastern Sierra, Continued

I started Day 9 the same way I began Day 8:  at Mono Lake for sunrise.  This time there were some clouds in the eastern sky, and they lit up very nicely

Mono Lake at Sunrise, Mono County, California

Mono Lake at Sunrise, Mono County, California

Mono Lake at Sunrise, Mono County, California

Again, when things started deteriorate to the east, I walked down the southwest shoreline and faced the pastel peaks of the Sierra-Nevada.

Mono Lake at Dawn, Mono County, California

Mono Lake at Dawn, Mono County, California

Mono Lake at Dawn, Mono County, California

Mono Lake at Dawn, Mono County, California

When the sun came up I began the drive south on US-395 to the June Lake Loop, where I photographed both June Lake and Silver Lake in the still nice light of early morning.  I had both spots to myself.

June Lake, June Lake Loop, Inyo National Forest, Calfiornia

Silver Lake, June Lake Loop, Inyo National Forest, Calfiornia

From here I continued south on 395 toward Mammoth Lakes.  On the way, I stopped several times, when I spotted scenes that caught my attention.

Mono County Morning, California

Mono County Morning Black & White, California

I was particularly taken with an abandoned homestead on the west side of the highway, something I had first noticed the previous morning.  I finally got some light–and sky conditions–that I thought complemented the scene.  The site was surrounded by fencing, which I could have easily cleared.  Still, it was posted and even though the property was obviously abandoned, I don’t ignore posted warnings–I stay off any posted private property (or, for that matter, any private property that’s obviously private, even if it isn’t posted).  So, I remained behind the fence and snapped the image you see immediately below.

Abandoned Homestead, Mono County, California

Mono County Afternoon Black & White, Calfiornia

I arrived at Mammoth Lakes and followed the scenic loop up to the base of Twin Lakes–the first set in a series of lakes.  Unfortunately, the road above Twin Lakes was still covered by snow so I had to settle for some mid-morning shooting around the lake and then down the hiking/biking path that parallels the road back in the direction of town.

Twin Lakes Black & White, Mammoth Lakes, Inyo National Forest,, California

Twin Lakes, Mammoth Lakes, Inyo National Forest,, California

Twin Lakes Black & White, Mammoth Lakes, Inyo National Forest,, California

The walk down the road was fun.  The images that I saw were mostly on the subtle side of the “wow” continuum.

Conifer Trio, Mammoth Lakes, Inyo National Forest,, California

Snowy Mountainside Black & White, Mammoth Lakes, Inyo National Forest, Calfiornia

Conifer Trio Black & White, Mammoth Lakes, Inyo National Forest, Calfiornia

I spent several hours at Mammoth Lakes; if the entire area had been accessible I’m sure I could have spent an entire day there…or more.  This was a common thread running through my experience in the Eastern Sierra during springtime following a snowy winter.

Before I returned north I spent some time scouting out Convict Lake, an impressive area just south of Mammoth Lakes backed by a pair of tall, snow-covered peaks.  The light was too harsh to photograph at the time, but I thought I might make the drive back the following morning to shoot sunrise from this location before pulling up stakes and heading to redwood country in the far northeast part of the state.

My mid-afternoon stop was at Panum Crater, a volcanic remnant adjacent to Mono Lake.  The relatively short unpaved road to the parking area was atrocious, but I took it slow and made it there in one piece.  I wasn’t sure what to expect, in terms of photo opportunities, at the crater, but I was thrilled with what I found:  a dry, pseudo-desert-like environment, sprinkled with isolated conifers and lichen-covered rocks.  The interesting sky conditions were a big part of the positive experience.  Black and white rendering was a regular consideration.  An added benefit was having the place almost entirely to myself.

Panum Crater Black & White, Mono County, California

Panum Crater, Mono County, California

Panum Crater, Mono County, California

Panum Crater Black & White, Mono County, California

Panum Crater Black & White, Mono County, California

Panum Crater, Mono County, California

Panum Crater Black & White, Mono County, California

Lone Tree Black & White, Panum Crater, Mono County, California

Panum Crater, Mono County, California

Panum Crater, Mono County, California

Mono Lake from Panum Crater Black & White, Mono County, California

Panum Crater, Mono County, California

I returned to Lee Vining Canyon early in the evening, with my focus on the creek now that it was entirely in open shade.  I had identified a series of images I wanted to make, in even light, the day before when the sun was still penetrating that part of the canyon.

Lee Vining Creek Intimate Black & White, Lee Vining Canyon, Inyo National Forest,, California

Lee Vining Creek, Lee Vining Canyon, Inyo National Forest,, California

Lee Vining Creek, Lee Vining Canyon, Inyo National Forest,, California

Lee Vining Creek Intimate Black & White, Lee Vining Canyon, Inyo National Forest, Calfiornia

I decided to end the day back on the north end of the June Lake Loop.  I had hoped to shoot at Silver Lake but there was a breeze which meant there would be no reflections, so I settled into the canyon between Silver and June Lakes.  The light was nice and the setting was interesting and I assumed that I’d end the day here.

Dusk, June Lake Loop, Inyo National Forest,, California

Dusk, June Lake Loop, Inyo National Forest,, California

Dusk, June Lake Loop, Inyo National Forest,, California

But the pink clouds interested me and I zipped into the car and headed to the east, back in the direction of Grant Lake.  Just as I reached the Grant Lake Overlook–a spot I had checked out when scouting the June Lake Loop the previous day–I saw an impressive sunset unfolding; it had been almost entirely obscured by the ridge line in the canyon in which I had been previously situated.  I brought the car to a halt, almost immediately found a boulder and tallgrass foreground I liked–good thing because the sunset sky was at its apogee–and fine-tuned the composition.  Lucky for me, though there had been a breeze back at Silver Lake it was dead calm in this new locale.

Grant Lake Overlook at Sunset, June Lake Loop, Inyo National Forest,, California

And with that, a day of almost non-stop photography (between drives) came to an end.  It was my last full day in the Eastern Sierra.  After a sunrise shoot the following morning I was looking at a nearly 500-mile drive, including returning over Carson Pass, to the tiny town of Miranda, amidst the appropriately named Avenue of the Giants in Humboldt County’s redwood country.

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Responses

  1. Nice photos, Kerry. Small world, I have a good friend staying in June Lake the past few days. I’m sure he’s visited Lee Vining and probably T. Meadows as well. Wish I was out there too! Thanks for the post.

    • Thanks, Mike. I would think that this would be the place to be in two weeks or so. All the aspen groves in those various areas (plus Lundy Canyon) should be approaching peak. It ought to be absolutely beautiful.

  2. Incredible!!!!!

  3. That lake is on my itinerary for the next trip out west! Beautiful shots.

    • Thanks!

      Which lake are you talking about? Mono Lake or one of the lakes (June, Silver, Grant) on the June Lake Loop or (Twin) Mammoth Lakes? Mono Lake gets most of the intention (and understandably so), but if you’re in the area I’d check out the others as well.

      • Mono, I’ll look into the others though! Thanks.

  4. So very pretty…..

    • Thanks, Scott!

  5. […] Lake–about 45 minutes north of Lee Vining–at sunrise.  I scouted Convict Lake on Day 9, in harsh mid-day light; it looked like it would make a nice sunrise location, particularly if […]

  6. It’s nice to have the bookends of sunrise and sunset. Those are beautiful, and I also like the way the Lee Vining Cr photos give you something to see in focus in the foreground, then the rushing, blurred water, and again something in focus behind. You sure tool a lot of scenery in in one day!

    • Thanks! And, yes, it was a busy day.

      Glad someone noticed the foreground in the Lee Vining Creek images, particularly the one with the pine cones.

  7. Stunning Photos From an Amazing Place!

    • Thanks very much!


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