After our 20 Lakes Basin hike (landscape photos, rock photos, Shuwen’s photos) we decided to be lazy the following day, and drove down to Bishop from Mammoth Lakes, to see how the fall colors were coming along in Bishop Canyon (Highway 168 West).
The three main sections of the area are North, Middle and South Fork Bishop Creek. We started at the North fork and North Lake, which is increasingly popular among photographers. The single most popular spot is at the mouth of the lake, where the creek exits (one almost expects to find pre-drilled tripod leg holes there by now), looking at the western side of the lake shore.
The best time to make photos at this spot is probably very early morning, when the rising sun begins to illuminate the mountains above. Another good time is in the afternoon, when the sun backlights the trees on the lake’s western shore. We were there way past sunrise, around 9.30 in the morning, and by that time it was better to actually make photos of this spot, from the western side of the lake, to get the fall colored trees over there in backlight:
North Lake was getting increasingly busy with anglers and other visitors, and we felt that we had exhausted the photographic potential during that time of the day, so we drove back down to the main road at Middle Fork Bishop Creek, and spent some time there (and at Lake Sabrina as well, where Highway 168 West ends).
Time flew as we enjoyed the numerous little anonymous spots and scenes to be found there. We went to have lunch at the Cardinal Resort in Aspendell, and then took South Lake Road to explore that fork of Bishop Creek as well. I do have to say that the sheer amount of fall colors along South Lake Road was the most impressive.
In the afternoon we returned to North Lake, to the quite popular location that I mentioned above. Surprisingly, we had it to ourselves for quite a while. The sun was in a nice position to bring the fall colors on the other side of the lake to a nice glow now, and this light worked quite well on the sagebrush slopes above the lake as well:
It was another cloudless day, clearskied and blue – autumn and the presence of fall colors is about the only time of the year where these conditions and strong mid-day light actually works in favor of the photos, as long as you get the trees backlit so that they’re aglow with sunlight. Aspens in particular look surprisingly dull and unattractive with their fall colors when they’re not backlit!
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