Td’M DAY ONE
I have been “planning” this road trip for years. At the end of every year, as the school year winds down, teachers ask each other what they are going to do over the summer break. I always reply that I’m going to try to make my “trip”. But I never succeeded for some reason. This year I didn’t really plan on going, but two weeks ago, my sister made the point that I could. I had no good reason not to go. So I am.
The first day’s trip covered the same ground and roads I have traveled hundreds of times. Ok, it’s more like five, but the point is I’ve done it before.
395 is boring until you get to Big Pine. After that, you get to drive parallel to the eastern Sierra. That’s nice. But until then, it’s boring. Yesterday, it was boring and hot. 108 was today’s high temp outside. Only after leaving Bishop did it start to cool down. By the time I got to Lee Vining, it was a pleasant 79.
I stopped in Bishop for my traditional pilgrimage to Galen Rowell’s Mountain Light Gallery. I love going there because I ALWAYS walk out inspired to improve my photography and with a plan to find better light. I also had lunch at Raymond’s Deli. This is what local food is supposed to be; good, filling, reasonably priced. To top it off, the place rocked on decor. The best part was the bathroom. You have to view my Instagram video to understand why.
I’ve made several changes to Sandy to make life easier while traveling. One of those changes was to mounts iPad onto the dashboard, so I can use it while driving. No, I’m not on Facebook or checking email. I downloaded several GPS apps that I can use for navigation, planning, and track recording. The mount works great, but I’m still playing with the apps. I’ll talk more about the other modifications later, but until then, you can view today’s trip information here.
After arriving in Lee Vining, I was going to eat at the Whoa Nellie Deli, but I was still full from lunch and skipped that. Instead, I went shooting at the south tufas. At first, I wasn’t inspired. Why? Because the place was crawling with other photographers. They were everywhere. There were the tourists with REALLY cheap tripods, there were gangs if videographers. Of course there was the iPhone crowd. And none of them cared if they walked into your shot.
But I had a plan. I was going to wait until the sun went down below the mountains, but was still illuminating the clouds on the east. It worked. Most of the photographers left as soon as the sun set and I was able to get my images.
I found my dispersed campsite, popped open the RTT, got ready for bed, and climbed up. I’m typing this on my iPhone and will post it when I get better reception.
Tomorrow, the real journey starts. And maybe some Kansas and Toto. Sorry. Seriously, I’ve traveled today’s trip before, but tomorrow I start on roads I’ve never driven or seen. And honestly, I’m not even sure what route I’m going to take. I’ll figure that out when I look at the map.
The inside of Raymond’s Deli in Bishop, CA
Mono Lake tufa’s at sunset
A screen shot of my iPhone app Motion X HD, showing the location of my campsite.
Raymond’s Deli Bathroom Video
Posted 5 months, 2 weeks ago at 12:50 pm. 2 comments
Honestly, I have not discovered a better place to be at sunrise than the south tufas at Mono Lake, CA. The light is magical. The formations are inspiring. And the location is remote, yet accessible. I am sure that there are places that are better, but I haven’t discovered them yet.
Because of the situation, it is easy to get a good shot, but difficult to get one that brings you the whole scene. This shot does that. It isn’t a true panorama in the sense that it was taken with a wide angle lens and cropped, but it is still in the panorama format and it shows the birds, both in flight and on the ground.
I took this before the sun was over the horizon, but the birds were still active. I was trying to give a sense of the movement of the birds and used a long shutter speed to blur their movement. Those wispy blurs above the tufas are the birds in flight. By using a long shutter speed and my tripod, the moving birds are blurred, but the rest of the scene is still sharp. In Lightroom, I tried to bring out the details of the tufas, but leave the dark atmosphere of the time of day present by using fill light to lighten up the tufas just a bit.
The shot was taken with my Nikon D300 and a 18-70 3.5-4.5 lens at 31mm. The camera was set at and ISO of 200 and a relatively slow shutter speed of 1/5 of a second to blur the birds, but the aperture was small (f11) in order to increase the depth of field as much as possible.
You can see more images from Mono Lake by visiting my Mono Lake gallery.
Please feel free to leave a comment and tell me what you think.
Posted 3 years, 1 month ago at 11:27 am. 1 comment
This weeks image is from a recent trip to Mono Lake I took in August. Taken at the South Tufas, I liked the gull leaving the V in the water, but also the V from the unseen gull in the front.
California Gull at Mono Lake
Please feel free to leave a comment and tell me what you think.
Posted 3 years, 2 months ago at 11:19 am. 1 comment
During my last trip to the Mono Lake area, I stayed at the Mono Vista RV park. No, I don’t own an RV, but I needed a
shower and they have good campsites and warm showers.
While there relaxing, I looked up and saw these trees. At first I didn’t think anything about them, but then I started thinking that there was a nice texture there, but I didn’t know how to capture it so that it would show the feeling I had while there.
Then I remembered that I have been working on trying to see more images in black and white. BAM! How to frame and shoot it became clear.
Here is the result.
Lee Vining Trees
Posted 3 years, 3 months ago at 8:26 am. Add a comment
A couple of months ago, I made a trip to Mono Lake, Bodie, and the eastern Sierra Nevada.
While there, I spent the afternoon and a sunrise in the South Shore Tufa area. During the afternoon shoot, I got some awesome reflections of the tufas in the still water of Mono Lake. Then, the next morning, I got the sun hitting the mountains in the background and the tufas in the foreground.
I think that Mono Lake is kind of a magical place during the golden hours of sunrise and sunset. The tufas light up and show their complex texture and great color. Not only that, but there are always interesting wildlife opportunities if you take the time to look around.
Here are four images from Mono Lake’s tufas. If you wish to see more, please visit the Nature Light Photo Galleries.
Please take some time and tell me what you think.
Posted 4 years ago at 10:45 am. Add a comment
On my trip to Bodie last month, I stopped at Mono Lake on Friday evening to shoot the tufas. While there, I turned around and saw these beautifully back-lit grasses. Working with different focus points and depths of field, I tried to capture the beauty that I saw. These are the results.
Also, while I was there, I ran into a Nikonians workshop group under the direction of Michael Mariant. I spent some time talking to him and he offered some much appreciated tips on shooting in the snow at Bodie. It was nice to see some fellow Nikonians out & about. They were nice people.
Posted 4 years, 1 month ago at 10:44 am. Add a comment
I spent a week in the Lee Vining in August of 2009. Here are some of the images from that trip. Bodie-Mono Lake
Please let me know what you think.
Posted 4 years, 1 month ago at 9:02 pm. Add a comment
It was an interesting weekend that started out well, got a LOT better, then took a disastrous, almost fatal, turn.
I took a trip up to Bodie State Historical Park last weekend to participate in their last photographer’s day of the year. Photographer’s day is held every third Saturday of the month from April to October. The cost is $50 and for that they open the park up at 6:30am instead of the usual 9:00 and close it at 6:30pm instead of the usual 4:00. Although, I have heard that they don’t really ask you to leave until you are actually done.
I was prepared for snow and bad weather after the week’s storm, but the roads were dry and, yet, there was snow on the ground to give the images more character.
I left SoCal at about 5:30pm Thursday afternoon, staying in Ridgecrest for the night. I got an early start at about eight o’clock and continued up highway 395, stopping in Galen Rowell’s Mountain Light Gallery for my traditional look at his gallery as I pass through Bishop. I am always amazed by his work and the work of the guest artists that are exhibited. I strongly recommend stopping at his gallery to every photographer passing through the Bishop area.
- Fall Color at Convict Lake
I stopped by Convict Lake in the Lee Vining/Mammoth Lakes area and took some images there. I tried out my new Lensbaby and captured the fall colors around the lake before traveling to Mono Lake and taking some pictures at the South Tufa area. After that, I checked into the Lee Vining Lake View Lodge. Ok, there is no lake view, but…
Saturday, I got up at 4:45 and was out the door by 5:30, arriving at Bodie by 6:20. Checked in, got to the parking lot, then hiked up the west side of the valley to get the sun rising over the town. After that, I went back into the town and shot pictures of different things in the morning light. By noon, I was mostly shooting macro and using the Lensbaby to while away the time until the afternoon golden hour when I hiked back up the west side of the valley to get the sun setting on the town.
- Bodie Before Sunrise
After a good dinner at Whoa Nellie Deli in the Mobil station. (It’s really good food. Honest.) I went to bed and got a good night’s sleep, waking up at seven and getting on the road at about 9:30 after a good breakfast at Nicely’s in Lee Vining. I took a side trip up into Yosemite to see the affect of the snow on Tuolumne Meadows and the high country. Above 9,000 feet there was lots of snow. Below 9,000 feet there was almost nothing. I still got some good shots of small streams and lakes with the mountains and snow in the background.
- Tenaya Lake
Finally, I started home. After four hours of driving, I had just past Ridgecrest when some idiot in a white Dodge Ram pick-up tried passing in a no-passing zone forcing me off the road, up an embankment, and into a sign post. Ironically, the sign I drove through was “PASS WITH CARE”.
The X-Terra is probably totaled and the CHP officer said that the only reason I am not dead or busted up is because of my decision to put my car into the dirt and then my skill at keeping it upright. To top it off, the bastard took off, making it a “none collision hit and run” accident. Fortunately, two local kids from Ridgecrest stayed and were witnesses for me to the CHP.
My wife picked me up after a two-and-a-half hour drive from home and we ended up spending the night back in Ridgecrest before driving home Monday morning.
The bottom line: I’m glad to be alive, well, and to have come home with some great pictures. I will be posting a few here over the next few weeks.
Posted 4 years, 2 months ago at 10:30 am. Add a comment
I spent a week in the Lee Vining in August of 2009, visiting Bodie, Devil’s Post Pile, and Mono Lake.
I really like Bodie. It has an infinite possibility for taking pictures. The juxtaposition between the old and nature is amazing. Mono Lake’s tufas are really beautiful in the early morning. The shapes of Devil’s Post Pile are fun to work with also. The first image is of Manzanar detainment camp. It’s kind of an Ansel Adams thing (except in color).
I used Lightroom for the post production work. Mostly just white balance, exposure, and a little cropping.
Here are some of the images from that trip. Click here to view images of Bodie-Mono Lake.
Posted 4 years, 3 months ago at 9:17 am. Add a comment