Eastern Sierras, August 2005

Five days in the eastern Sierra Nevada. Out and back trip from Onion Valley trailhead -- west of Independence, California. Click on images for larger versions.


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Rock Garden
Rock Garden
Actually, these rocks are all underwater, though without ripples the clarity of the snowmelted liquid renders this nearly impossible to detect.
Above Kearsarge Lakes
Above Kearsarge Lakes
I'm not too sure what peak this is -- it's a minor one -- but it stood above our final campsite on the way out. I didn't see the type of tree across the way here, with its branches looking like outstretched human arms, anywhere else. The Eastern Sierra is full of microclimates.
Setting up Camp
Setting up Camp
Here Eric gets down to cooking our last evening meal. Our three bear canisters -- bane of our daytime and blessing of our night time existence -- are shown front right.

 

 

Moon above Kearsarge Lakes (a)
Moon above Kearsarge Lakes (a)
Now comes a series of doubles where I took slightly different exposures of the same thing. The idea was that one would be better than the other and I would keep only it, but as it turns out each version had some faults and some redeeming qualities so I can't bring myself to toss either.
Moon above Kearsarge Lakes (b)
Moon above Kearsarge Lakes (b)
A little darker this time, and more like it actually looked.
Log and Rocks (a)
Log and Rocks (a)
In the morning, at the edge of a different Kearsarge Lake from where we camped.

 

 

Log and Rocks (b)
Log and Rocks (b)
And again. I like the angling of the main log better here, but the exposure didn't come out as well as the first.
Morning Light off Lake and Granite (a)
Morning Light off Lake and Granite (a)
This is the sort of thing we were seeing all the time in the mornings and afternoons here in the Sierra, but it's not easy to get it on film. Here I held my hat above my camera to block the sun's glare, but try as I might I couldn't get rid of the "fringe" that refracted around it. A pro would just crop it out now I suppose, and maybe I will too when I'm feeling less lazy.
Morning Light off Lake and Granite (b)
Morning Light off Lake and Granite (b)
A little less fringe, better definition on the rocks in the foreground, but lost clarity on the pine trees and fewer sparkles in the lake. You can't win!

 

 

Morning in our Campsite (a)
Morning in our Campsite (a)
After Eric and John took down their tent, an excellent view was cleared for the camera's eye. Again, fringe from a glare-blocking attempt spoils this on the left, but I like the framing slightly better than the next one. If anyone wants to try photoshopping that glare away, be my guest..
Morning in our Campsite (b)
Morning in our Campsite (b)
This one came out better, but I had to stand further back to get it, and I don't like the view as well as the first one.
Packing the Pack
Packing the Pack
On the morning of the last day, just prior to our hike out, Hallock packs his pack.

 

 

Waiting the Wait
Waiting the Wait
Meanwhile, Eric and I wait. (Note my fully-loaded pack in the foreground). Eric entertains himself by building a remarkably high rock tower. Maybe those Sierras rocks stick to one another?
Lodgepole Pine
Lodgepole Pine
Another super-common view on our hike which I've only now managed to get a shot of. This is the (brilliantly red-brown) trunk of a Lodgepole Pine on the way down to the trailhead. I haven't seen it said anywhere, but I think these trees are fairly close cousins of the Sequoias. Not only are they thick and tall (relative to other pines; they of course fall short of Redwood and Sequoia class), but they have the same very long trunk before any branches start as Sequoias, and the lower branches are also thick and twisty.
Leafy Chaos
Leafy Chaos
This is another attempt at showcasing depth-of-field that did not come out very well. In the chaos you might discern that this is a dry, desert-type shrub. Most of the plants in the Eastern Sierra are similar -- highly aridity-adapted. The one exception is plants that grow right next to streams or in swampy meadows.

 

 

Door, btwn 5th and Madison in the East 70s
Door, btwn 5th and Madison in the East 70s
I had to finish off the roll, but I was back in New York City. Time to head out for an evening's walk with the camera. Admittedly this and some of the next few shots are digitally enhanced; I still need to work a little on my night photography skills..
Door, East 70s - 5th/Madison
Door, East 70s - 5th/Madison
The doors to many of these posh Upper East Side residences are showcases in elegant design. It would be easy to do a whole picturebook on them alone. (And maybe somebody has.) And given my income level and social circles, these views are all I'm ever going to see.
Door, East 70s - Madison and Park
Door, East 70s - Madison and Park
Remniscent of a church, but it's a townhouse.

 

 

Madison Avenue
Madison Avenue
Here's a shot of the street corner near some of these doors. I caught a taxi in mid-flight through the foreground. You can see the headlight, taillight, and the rooftop light (cf. the taxi pulled into the street central left). The windows in all the ritzy shops in this area are, again, showcases in design.
Gotham Towers
Gotham Towers
Well, the windowed towers in this scene looked like something out of Batman when viewed in person, but that effect seems to have been mostly lost here. Oh well..
Shop Window, Madison Avenue
Shop Window, Madison Avenue
Not bad, but I get the feeling I need to do a few more hundred of these before I'm entering any photo contests. For some reason it seems like this would look better with the frontmost parts of the gate in focus and the more distant ones out of focus -- but then I would have lost the picture behind. Hmm...

 

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