Day 17 – Thursday October 12, 2017
Stayed overnight at Inspiration Point to peace and quiet; seems so many overlooks are named Inspiration Point. Drove the short distance to the Eagle Falls Trailhead parking lot just as it began to get light and was ready for the short hike to the falls and view that I planned to shoot, preferably with clouds, but as usual for this trip, there was none to be had. Last years trip to Yellowstone had plenty of weather, but for one afternoon of fog in Fort Bragg, there has been barely a hint of any clouds at both sunrises and sunsets. Turns out the usual view of Eagle Falls is not the short hike up, but a scramble down the rocks opposite the parking lot! The only reason I found out was after parking the car, I saw someone head that way and the color looked good, so I went there too. It saved me a hike today after too many lately.
Had to get the engine oil on the rental changed. Hertz said they would reimburse me; but we’ll see. That debacle took almost two hours, and combine that with McDonald’s and the morning was shot. But I figured I still had plenty of time to get to Lee Vining, but as usual, one-lane construction delays really added some time to the trip there.
Scouted out part of June Lake Loop and found some interesting aspens at and near the Silver Lake parking area. I did blurs and straight shots and had trouble tearing myself away from it as it has been a long time since I’ve felt that good about some of the pictures I was getting. It’s amazing that some seemed to just frame themselves, making it easy on me. These aspens were lit by both the western sky with the sunlight blocked by the canyon wall and the reflected sunlight from the opposite canyon wall. I’ve heard some folks talk about “working a scene”, trying different angles, perspectives and lenses to cover every imaginable possibility for what’s before you. I think that’s when what you may be seeing is not evident to you yet. There are other times when what needs to be done smacks you in the face and you almost know before you stop moving toward what it is you want to record. Those are the scenes or subjects on which I tend to perseverate, almost taking the same photo over and over again. And so it was with many of the aspen shots today.
Just got back to the Mono Lake area as dusk came on, and since it was a bland sky and no real color in the west, I opted for a pullout right on the highway that gave an unobstructed view of the lake looking east. Out of all the times I’ve visited the lake since 1977, the water has never been calm. This was the first time, and I wanted to accentuate the vastness of the entire area including the sky. Just as the colors in the east became evident, a slight breeze ruffled small areas of the lake that produced differing colors from the lake as a whole. And as the wind swept across the lake, those differing colors moved with it, always making subtle changes to the water that required moving Negit Island slightly to compensate for any imbalance within the frame.
After Mono Lake was finished, I decided to treat myself to dinner at Nicely’s, the mainstay restaurant in Lee Vining since 1965. I remember eating there more than once and feeling like one of the locals. I felt like it was 1977 again! As it was getting pretty cold, my plan for night photography might have to be shelved since I’m sure it will be much colder several thousand feet higher up in the Yosemite high country where my plan was to occur. We’ll see how brave I feel as I search for a place to pull over and climb into my bag afterward.