My Journey Through The Eastern Sierras
Hello everyone and I sorry for my absence of late but I have just returned from the Eastern Sierras. I witnessed some of the best landscape scenery I have seen on a photo trip ever. I made the extended trip after an invitation from fellow photographer Kevin Pieper who asked me how I felt about joining him and his friends to somewhere where it was warm. Up here in the Pacific Northwest this time of year we do not see much in terms of the sun so I decided I needed to go where the weather would cooperate. We decided to meet in Las Vegas sometime in the early morning and drive to wherever it seemed like it was going to be sunny. The other photographers to join us were Dave Forrester, Phil Kuglin, Jesse Estes, and Ryan Dyar. The trick when deciding where to go is to be where the storm is moving out and the sun is moving in. This is what makes great weather for nature photography and trying to time this transition is not easy. So we decided to rent a SUV at the Las Vegas airport in case of severe snow. This was a blessing, as you will see later on. We decided to have lunch at the infamous crowded In-N-Out Burger and decide where to go. After the four of us lugged in our maps, cell phones, and laptops, we made the decision to head west towards the Californian coast to Lone Pine.
Several weather forecasts, analysts, and websites determined that this is where the action would be. While on the way there we went through a several rainstorm in Death Valley that closed all roads and made the adventure one of excitement. After avoiding some extreme puddles and washout from the hills we made to our destiny of Lone Pine. Lone Pine is a small quaint town along the busy Highway 395 that travels through the Eastern Sierras. Lone Pine was famous for its cowboy visitors and famous movie stars that made western movies in the hills outside of Lone Pine.
The Alabama Hills is the region where many western films were made starring Roy Rogers and John Wayne. Notable films such as The Lone Ranger, How The West Was Won, and The Gunfighter, were just a few of the movies filmed here. The reason for the location is understandable once you visit the Alabama Hills. They are known for there granite boulders and unique rock formations. All this lies at the foot of the highest point of the Sierras, ich is Mt. Whitney at 14, 496 ft accessed by Whitney Portal trail.
Days later and we are held up in the hotel laying low waiting for the weather to turn. Our predictions of weather were wrong and now we had the decision of moving on to better weather or wait out the storm. After a group decision and a few arguments we decided to give it a few more days. The worst thing on a photo trip is when you look at a long-term weather forecast and nothing but rain is eminent. We made due and our time finally came when the weather began to change and we headed up to the Alabama Hills to shoot the transition in weather. The following image was taken as the clouds began to move out.
We spend the rest of the day exploring for future spots and as the sun began to sink I knew I had to find a spot for a possible light show. The problem was we were in a valley and we needed to get to higher ground, and we were too late to get somewhere by car. So I did what needed to be done and hike for higher elevation. Well I am not in the best shape and this was one heck of a hike and finally after an hour I made it to elevations of nothing but snow and a 360-degree view of the Owens Valley.
I had the place to myself and it was amazing. While I was shooting I took some time to think how lucky I was to be here and then made my way the long journey back down the mountain to top off a thrilling day. We all went back to the town for a hard earned dinner and discussed heading to the middle of the storm which was making its way through Yosemite National Park.
I will be continue this adventure throughout the week and hope you join me for more exciting adventures.