20 Lakes Basin: Rockwork (4 photos)

I guess this is actually the “real” post with images from our 20 Lakes Basin hike. The landscapes… yes, they’re all right. I love the mountains, hiking, the water, so yes, those are absolutely photos that are meaningful to me.

The four photos below however get me far more excited. This is the stuff that makes me say “wow, look at this!” as I hike, and where I spend time and multiple attempts to work the scene, trying to get everything right. Set up the tripod, adjust the camera and lens settings for tripod usage*, work the scene, check the results, lather, rinse, repeat. I do this until I think I’ve exhausted the possibilities. I never know what I truly have until I’m at home and can look at the photos on a big screen (I don’t know how some photographers can cull/edit/process on the road from a 13″ laptop screen – I just couldn’t do that).

The glacier-carved/shaped metamorphic rock? Just look at this stuff, and what it represents. Imagine the glacial forces that did this, the sheer power, ice carrying lose rocks scarping over the rock in slow motion – the time it took for this to happen! It’s natural history in an awesome and very visible way.

Or take all the colors in the close-up of the waterlines on the rock (and all the lines and shapes). And the details of North Peak with the old snow? I just love that stuff. It’s why I hiked North Dome in Yosemite, on the other side of the valley and Half Dome: to make close-ups of Half Dome’s rock face. Other people hike Half Dome because it’s the bucket list item. I hike North Dome because I want to get views of that wall of granite (and also because it’s easier;-).

I know that I can’t really make photos in “my kind of mood” on these bright sunny days, so I look at the details. This is my photographic vision, and these photos are far more meaningful to me than the “documentary style” landscape photos. I know that the landscape photos are more attractive to the majority of viewers, and that few people will care about my weird rock close-ups and abstracts – but the point of making photos is not to please others, but to show the world through your own eyes.

Quite naturally, photographic vision changes over time. Perhaps it keeps on changing forever. At the core, I’m still looking to transport the things I see and enjoy and care about in my photos, as I hike and walk and explore, and find and re-visit places that are dear to me. The initial impulse to bring a camera, and raise it to make a photo of course, has remained the same – it’s the “how” that is changing, evolving, and getting refined, over time.

*) the trinity of settings to change between hand-held and tripod usage: VR (or OS, IS, SR, whatever it’s called on your camera/body), auto-ISO, exposure delay mode (or mirror-up, again, depending on your camera)

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3 Responses

    1. Thanks Mark. You can see in the GPS log in the other post that it is not actually such a long hike. Walking on the talus and scree is a bit annoying though, and there are multiple sections of it.

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