First evening in Mammoth (2 photos)

As you probably know from my photo of the month for September, we’ve been to the Eastern Sierra for a week, and in the coming days (and weeks) I’ll try to process and post the photos from the hikes and daytrips that we did based out of Mammoth Lakes.

The drive up to Mammoth Lakes is always a bit of a stretch. The Cajon Pass area looks like a moonscape with a freeway now, after the Blue Cut Fire. Once up there and on Highway 395, it’s a really dreary 150 miles or so to Olancha, where the landscape of Owens Valley becomes more gentle and pleasing to the eye again. Then you reach Lone Pine and think “almost there” – but it’s another 2 hours to Mammoth Lakes!

Also, the lower parts of the Owens Valley all the way to Bishop are always surprisingly warm – seeing the temperatures drop on the way up from Bishop (4150 feet elevation) to Mammoth Lakes (7880 feet elevation) is such a relief. When we finally arrived and had unloaded the car I really had the need to just get out into the cool fresh air. I think we had an early dinner, and then went for a walk at Horseshoe Lake (primarily because I wanted to see the trailhead to McLeod Lake, and the Red Cones;-).

There is one spot above Twin Lakes that I had seen in a photo which looked really neat, and I was curious about how to make that photo (if you’re interested: it’s a wide angle photo and I pointed the camera down a lot, framed it deliberately wide, to then be able to apply a lot of perspective correction on the computer). Interestingly it’s not at the spot marked “Twin Lakes Overlook” along the road, but just across the road from Lake Mamie! This appears to be in line with the typical California fashion of having “Vista Point” or “Wildlife Viewing Area” signs in spots that area almost guaranteed to be the least attractive ones. :-}

Anyway, this is my “trophy photo” of the creek rushing down towards Twin Lakes:

The waterfall near Twin Lakes Overlook, Mammoth Lakes, California, September 2016.
The waterfall near Twin Lakes Overlook, Mammoth Lakes, California, September 2016.

It was past sunset already and across the street, the anglers at Lake Mamie with their funny little one-man floats where just coming ashore, leaving Lake Mamie in calm and even light. We set up our cameras and watched the stars come out. Initially I wasn’t too keen on making photos, but when I saw the stars reflecting in the water and the Milky Way appearing right next to Crystal Crag, I couldn’t resist:

Milky Way and stars reflecting in the calm water of Lake Mamie, Mammoth Lakes, California, September 2016.
Milky Way and stars reflecting in the calm water of Lake Mamie, Mammoth Lakes, California, September 2016.

The lights on the left side are from a cabin in the woods. Shuwen made an almost identical photo but included the cabin by the lake, which I actually find much better since it provides context.

It’s also worth noting that the D750 appears to be one stop “better” than the D800 in terms of image quality at high ISO sensitivities – both her and my photo were made at ISO6400, but her photo appears to be cleaner; the real solution would be to have a faster lens for these photos, of course… ;-)

Stay tuned for more…

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