Moai on Easter Island

Moai on Easter Island

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Mono Lake--Take 2

After another early morning I was able to get a few shots that I like.  I think I may have lucked out on my first random stop at Mono Lake though.

These Yellow-headed Blackbirds have orange heads because much of their diet is made up of the Brine Shrimp in the lake.

The classic tufas of Mono Lake.

This might be my favorite shot of the morning.  

And we're off.
Take 3 of Mono Lake (at night) will come shortly.  Along with a other shots of the Eastern Sierra.

I'm working on a website to sell some photos.  I need to figure out a way to pay for some of this photography equipment.  I am going to try to advertise it toward images for marketing, but I also want to have a division of it for more fine art photos-ones that can be framed to put on your wall, etc.  I'm open for suggestions for company names and any other related photo sales ideas.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Frozen in Time and Locked Behind Doors

I've been to a few ghost towns around the country.  I even lived in one for a few years.  Years I spent running around old buildings searching for the old Chinese tunnels that were rumored to run beneath the town.  I never found them.  I did find a couple of new worlds though.  I'm speaking of Bannack State Park in the extreme southwest corner of Montana. 

I took my first photography class there at 12 years old.  That one-evening course gave me an amazing foundation to click the shutter button thousands of times since and see what happens to come out.

one of the 50+ saloons that used to be in Bodie

 I also wandered the deserted streets and sagebrush covered trails of Bannack and imagined what it looked like 150 years ago.  What life was like...anything the like movies portrayed it? My 12 year old mind came up with many different ideas.

In the modern time at Bannack I took thousand of photos and explored every inch of every building.  I found where the frogs and snakes lived.  I watched the deer and coyotes.  There was a family of foxes up by the mill one season.  I rode my bike up there almost every day and sat along side the road and watched them watch me.  I saw a fox in a field near June Lake, CA today and that memory flooded back.


All except for a few buildings in Bannack were completely open to the public. I had resources to get into the ones that were closed off so I had everything for myself.  

None of these photos are from Bannack.  Every image you see here is from Bodie State Park in the arid foothills of the Sierra Nevada.  I had never heard of Bodie until a few weeks ago.  Apparently every tourist in the area knows about it because the place is packed with people.

 Bodie is very different from Bannack.  In Bodie all the buildings are closed to the public.  The town was pretty much deserted in the early 1940s.  Everyone literally dropped everything and left--as you can see in some of these photos.  All the doors are nailed or welded shut.  Bannack wasn't as closed off when everyone left.  Most of the items in the town have since disappeared.    

This leads to a very different visitor experience.  During my visit to Bodie I felt very disconnected to the town.  It started with having to wait at a national park-style entrance station and then there was a law enforcement officer in the parking lot just waiting for someone to "do something wrong." 

While walking through the town I had a great feeling of disconnect with everything.  The closest I could get to the past was staring through a wavy windowpane.  

While walking through Bannack you can feel like you're a part of the history because you're making it.  You're a part of it because you can be inside the buildings; imagining the people and the furnishings and the day to day life.  The town is yours because you only have the framework--the rest of it is all in your mind.  What you imagine is as real as anything that ever really happened there.

Bodie is like looking at a 3D TV screen.  Everything is there--nothing to imagine except for the people that once lived in that space.  I felt so closed off from everything. Only observing and not experiencing.

The photos of the insides of the buildings were all taken through the windows.  I drove up to Bodie after an early morning visit to Mono Lake.  I decided to post this first because I had a little more writing on this and have yet to go through the hundreds of photos from that sunrise at Mono Lake.  It'll be coming soon!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Mono Lake: A Work in Progress

I was driving out to Boundary Peak a few days ago as the sun was just starting to come up.  The sign for the Mono Lake South Tufa whizzed by on the side of the road.  I was in a hurry to get to the trailhead to beat the thunderstorms that I knew were coming that afternoon.  I also figured I had missed all the good morning light on the lake.  For some reason I decided to stop anyway...I also really had to go to the bathroom.

Mono Lake
Turns out the light was amazing.  I didn't get there a second too late.  Right now Mono Lake is a work in progress--for my photography and for the lake itself.

Seagull over Mono Lake
In 1941 Los Angeles began to divert water from the Owens River in Mono Basin to hydrate the ever growing metropolis.  The Owens River is one of the runoff sources that feeds Mono Lake. The lake has no outlet and is fighting the balance between evaporation in the desert environment and runoff from snowfall in the High Sierra.

Mono Lake
By the time LA stopped diverting water in 1994 the lake had lost a third of its water.  Right now the lake is 34 feet lower than it was in 1941; but is now slowing rising.  The goal is 9 feet higher that is is right now.  This will make these Tufas (a calcium carbonate formation from [formerly] underwater springs) disappear underwater.

Mono Lake
So while they are still visible it is time to get out and try to get some more photos of them.  Just need to get up early enough to do it.  Part of the work in progress.

Boundary Peak, highest point in Nevada

White Mountain from Boundary Peak

Mt Dana from Boundary Peak

Monday, August 13, 2012

Marmot Photo Shoot and More Mountain Views

These are only some of the adventures that are coming out of my first "office job." I can hardly call it an office job because it is really only answering a few e-mails a day (which I can do from my iphone at the summit of most peaks in the area) and maybe a phone call or two.  It is giving me a chance to get out and explore an area that I have always wanted to check out.  June Lake is a great jumping off point for so much cool stuff.  There will start to be a myriad of different views of things of different places and views of one mountain from the mountain I just climbed the other day and vise versa.  Look for views tomorrow from Boundary Peak and then Cathedral Peak soon to come.

Marmot with Cathedral Peak in the background

Curious Marmot.  Lost interest when I wouldn't give him food.

Boundary Peak (highest point in Nevada) from the Summit of Mt Dana.  Note this photo for the next blog post.

Line of cars at the Yosemite Entrance Station

Tuolumne Meadows

Mono Lake from the summit of Dana

Yosemite Backcountry

The Indian Fire from June Lake


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Insects Rule The World

On this last trip through Yosemite I became pretty interested in photographing some of the smaller things around me. With a lot of patience and some luck I was able to come up with these photos:

Happy as long as those mosquitos stay on the water

Friday, August 10, 2012

Yosemite Backcountry

Most people go to national parks and stay on the roads and viewpoints.  Few ever venture more than a few hundred meters from the pavement.

Here is just a little of what they miss: