Fall Morning at McGee Creek

We returned to McGee Creek on the second to last day of our Eastern Sierra vacation – I had fond memories of the place from when we first were there in October 2014, and I remember leaving with the feeling that there’s more there to see and photograph.

But, as it goes sometimes, when we came back, the place didn’t really speak to me again. I went back and forth with the photos from that morning in the last couple of days and in the end, ruthlessly limited the selection to just two photos. I tried quite a number of different more typical landscape photos first, and then began to look for the details. This is my favorite:

Autumn leaves on rocks at McGee Creek near Mammoth Lakes, California, September 2016.
Autumn leaves on rocks at McGee Creek near Mammoth Lakes, California, September 2016.

I always make a lot of different photos so that I (hopefully) end up with multiple photos for a single blog post, and perhaps even a portfolio quality image, but sometimes that spark of inspiration is missing, and my photographic vision doesn’t quite “ignite”. When that happens, it often helps me to do some “warm up photos” just to get into the flow – not being serious but at least operating the camera and start seeing things through the viewfinder.

If that doesn’t help and I’m still stuck, I might look at things with the phone camera – that may sound a bit odd, but the compact size and flexibility of “suddenly” having a light hand-hold device instead of the big and somewhat static camera setup on the tripod can really help to see things differently. Knowing that the iPhone’s camera equals a focal length of 29mm (which is fairly wide) I can then replicate the result with the normal camera (provided I can get the tripod into a position that works;-).

The photo below is one such example – it originates from a cellphone photo. Not quite portfolio quality material, but I like how the creek flows into the warm glow of autumn colors:

Fall Colors at McGee Creek, Mammoth Lakes, California, September 2016.
Fall Colors at McGee Creek, Mammoth Lakes, California, September 2016.
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3 Responses

  1. #2 is amazing, but I’m confused. How did you get the blur in the water? Multiple cell phone frames? Fake long exposure app?

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