Day 19 – Saturday October 14, 2017
Had absolutely no plan for a sunrise spot but I did pick up a brochure on the Bishop area from the National Forest Office in town that had a map. I noticed a dirt road that followed the Owens River (?) to a reservoir and thought since the area was basically flat, I would have good views of the Sierra Crest to the west with possible river or lake as foreground. Well, the river was never really near the road and mostly surrounded by bushes, so you couldn’t see it unless you were higher up and as I mentioned, it was basically flat. Never did reach the reservoir as the time was getting close for the peaks to get the first rays and I didn’t want to waste any more time and settled on some large boulders and yellow rabbitbrush that seemed to frame the crest well and ended up using them as foreground. If it wasn’t for them, the morning would have been a bust. As the sun reached further down into the Owens Valley, I came across a small lake surrounded by rabbitbrush and found a spot where the light was at the right angle while looking at the mountains. I’m pretty sure it was David Muench who wrote or said that the best light comes over your shoulder; and that’s where it was for that shot. Many of the tips you hear or read about will usually at some point come back to help you out.
Afterward, I continued my southerly route to the Ancient Bristlecone Forest of the White Mountains. Since it was mid-day, long views had rather dull lighting, so most of the pics I took were of the beautifully weathered bark of the trees. Only hiked about a half mile of the 4-1/2-mile loop as it was at a pretty high altitude, which does not work well for me, and I wanted to continue on toward Lone Pine and the famous Alabama Hills. Didn’t have much time for scouting there but did get to Mobius Arch and tried to get a sunburst as the sun sank lower in the sky, but that proved difficult since it was so strong. Either it was too strong or behind the arch too much to get the sunburst. There was also a small thin arch just in front “famous” arch that was totally ignored, but I felt I had to do something with it so it wouldn’t feel left out.
Of course there were no clouds in the sky again, so I headed off to my car for a lovely Chicken Teriyaki dinner while I waited for it to get dark and try for some Milky Way shots. Turned out there were just as many folks there at night as there were during the day!! But with everyone doing their own thing, you just had to hope that during your shot, no one turned on their headlamp or flashlight. And some one was propped right next to the arch who said he could not turn off his camera back display, so every shot from that sequence needs to Photoshop him out. And other folks had green or red headlamps that lit the arch in whatever color headlamp they had while others just didn’t care one way or the other if they impacted your shot. Anyway, got some decent shots without light painting and was a little disappointed, but when the offenders left, three of us remained and we collaborated in lighting the arch in various ways. In the end, I got a shot closer to the arch with the Milky Way And one image lighted from the right and the next lit from the opposite side that should merge well. We all had a good time making our shots and me lighting things including the one guy with a real torch of a flashlight. A good way to end the day before turning down the sheets for the night.