Eastern Sierras

Here’s a little quiz for you geography geeks….where is the highest and lowest point in the continental United States? Well amazingly, they’re within 100 miles of each other in eastern California. Mt. Whitney is the tallest mountain in the lower 48 states and of course, Death Valley is the lowest spot in the U.S.

In January, along with six other folks, I joined a photography workshop in California led by the superlative professional photographer Marc Adamus. In the course of a week we covered several thousand miles of California splendor as Marc continually put us in position to capture iconic images.

Mt. Whitney

Mt. Whitney

 

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The Alabama Hills

The Alabama Hills are a legendary set of rock formations in Lone Pine, California and were the location of virtually every western movie (and many TV shows) made in the 1950s and 1960s. A local road called “Movie Road” meanders though the hills and the sites of some of the most renown western movies. John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, Lorne Greene, Tom Mix, and Roy Rogers were regular visitors to Lone Pine (could this town have a better name?). Their photos and hundreds of others are hanging in many of the town’s restaurants.

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Eastern Sierras View with the Owens River

The Owens River flows through the Owens valley in eastern California and was the target of the fierce California water wars in the early 1900s. Facing an increasing population and decreasing water availability,  the city of Los Angeles bought up land in the Owens Valley and constructed an aqueduct to carry the water out of the Owens Valley into Los Angeles. By 1920 the city had completely drained Owens Lake and valley farmers were irate that their agriculture businesses were in danger of collapsing. This led to years of years of resistance and accompanying violence (farmers blew up the aqueduct repeatedly). Aspects of the conflict were the basis of the Jack Nicholson film Chinatown

Eastern Sierras as seen in Bishop, CA

Eastern Sierras as seen in Bishop, CA

 

Bishop, CA ranchland

Bishop, CA ranchland

The area around Bishop California is prime photographic territory. Galen Rowell, one of photography’s luminary figures was based in Bishop and although he passed away years ago in a plane crash, his Mountain Light Gallery in Bishop is a must see for everybody. His work is an inspiration to all aspiring landscape photographers.

Follow the Curve

Follow the Curve

This day there were intermittent storms and cloudy conditions that obscured the mountains but occasionally there would be a luminous shaft of light that would strike the landscape. My goal was to find something photogenic and wait for that shaft of light to make some magic.
I found this curved fence line leading to this lone tree with blue toned clouds obscuring the mountains in the background.

 

 

Morning Light

Morning Light

 

Mono Lake

Mono Lake

These stalagmite structures called “Tufas” sprout up in heavily carbonated Mono Lake as a result of underground springs rich in calcium rising in the lake and interacting with the carbonated water with the resulting calcium carbonate material incrementally forming these spires (Wow!  heavy science info!). The water level has receded significantly in the past 50 years leaving many of the largest Tufas on the shoreline where photographers photograph them incessantly.

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Sunset over Mammoth Lakes

Mammoth Lakes resort is on the northern portion of the Sierra Range and like much of California in the past few years is experiencing severe drought conditions with the natural snow pack on the mountain being much smaller than normal. One third of California’s water originates from this snowpack.

Because of the hilly terrain and high altitude, the area is a mecca for athletes, particularly long distance runners, who like to train at high altitudes.

 

 

Storm in the Sierras

Storm in the Sierras

 

Thank you for reading my latest blog entry. If you thought it was worthy of your time and you hadn’t already done so, please take the opportunity to subscribe by clicking the “Follow” button on the right side of the page. You will receive an email asking you to confirm your subscription. Also, you can share this blog entry on your Facebook page by clicking the share button below or you can email it to folks by clicking on the “Email” button.

Frank

Shrewsbury, MA

 

Aside | This entry was posted in Alabama Hills, Bishop California, Landscapes, Lone Pine California, Mono Lake, Movie Trail, Mt. Whitney, Owens River, Sierra Mountains. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Eastern Sierras

  1. neihtn2012 says:

    Wonderful post. Very informative with splendid photos! Thank you for sharing.

    Like

  2. Wow Frank, you came away with some really fantastic images. My favorite is ‘Morning Light’. I can remember just how cold that ‘morning’ was.

    Like

  3. Frank, your combination of images and narrative makes this a fascinating read! Thank you!

    Like

  4. Adrienne Landry says:

    Wonderful once again, Frank.

    Like

  5. Quentin Greeley says:

    Awesome pictures Frank…does It really look like that? See you soon…we’re back on 5/21. Quentin

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Like

  6. Doug Solis says:

    Hi Frank, it looks like all is well with you, good to see your spanning the countryside with Marc Adamus. Love your Owens valley shots and the Mono Lake tufa. Nice work! I’m embarrassed to say I haven’t taken a shot with my camera for nearly a year. Been really busy with rehabbing a couple of homes we bought, but I’m getting really close to having all the time I need. Thank God.

    Like

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