Evening Light

In the afternoon of our Red Cones hike clouds appeared, at last – most of the days had been entirely cloud free, warm and brutally sunny. I’m not really familiar with the weather patterns of the Eastern Sierra of course but it appeared to be a storm to the east, and its remainders were making their way to the west.

We drove further north from Mammoth Lakes to see if we’d be able to find some kind of scenery that would be in a favorable position to combine with the clouds, and the promise of a beautiful sunset. In hindsight, we could’ve stopped along Highway 395 anywhere between the June Lake Loop and Lee Vining – the light was quite amazing there, it even rained briefly (and the smell of sagebrush steppe in rain is heavenly).

Not knowing what else to expect though we continued driving. This is a photography-specific form of #fomo (fear of missing out) I guess: “the photographer’s dilemma” or the question whether conditions in the particular spot you’re at will be the best you’re going to get, or if they could potentially be even better somewhere else. :-)

Now in a landscape like the Eastern Sierra and the Mono Basin, I think there’s not much too worry about – Shuwen had set her mind on the Dunderberg Meadows though, where large and small patches of Aspens dot the sagebrush, which in itself rises to the west and Dunderberg Peak, so that’s where we went. Because a good husband listens to his wife, of course. :-)

We did stop briefly at Conway Summit, or rather, the Mono Lake vista point just south of it. Being at this elevation and overlooking the Mono Basin from this spot is simply delightful, and things were looking quite promising for a beautiful play of light and clouds for sunset.

That particular vista point never seems to disappoint… I’ve photographed the Mono Craters and Crater Mountain from there in the past (Downpour over Crater Mountain, Crater Mountain and Mono Lake) so I’ve been looking a bit further east this time, towards the northern end of the White Mountains:

Soft light on the White Mountains and Mono Lake, seen from Conway Summit, Lee Vining, California, September 2016.
Soft light on the White Mountains and Mono Lake, seen from Conway Summit, Lee Vining, California, September 2016.

I need to remind myself to try a panorama when I’m there next time, including both the White Mountains, the two islands of Mono Lake, and Mono Craters… :-)

After this brief stop we drove a little bit further to a spot where it’s possible to park at the shoulder of Highway 395, with a good view of Dunderberg Meadows. Now on the entire trip I found myself using longer lenses quite often, ie. the range between 70mm and 300mm focal length, and this was no exception. I like being able to find smaller extracts and excerpts out of a larger scene. Shuwen went for the full view with the wide angle lens – I saw these cows, with the telephoto:

Cows grazing among fall-colored Aspens at Dunderberg Meadows, near Bridgeport, California, September 2016.
Cows grazing among fall-colored Aspens at Dunderberg Meadows, near Bridgeport, California, September 2016.
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