Eastern Sierras

Location: Mono County, CA

Print Options

Here we are at June Lake in the Eastern Sierra Nevadas, the elevation here is around 7600 ft and it gets a bit cold at night. I had this place in mind for a few months, the last time we visited it was too cold to get in the water, but on this night the conditions were just right!

Upon arriving at the camping spot, our neighbor alerted us to the fact that there was a large black bear mere feet away and that we should immediately put all our food in the bear box, so we did right away!

We heard the snapping of large branches on the ground and bush-shaking noises for a bit. After speaking with the rangers we learned that they have a local bear that weighs about 700 lbs and likes to investigate any smell of food. They told us not to have food in our tents because the bear was not shy about poking his head in to grab a bite!

deer

Here's a deer on the outskirts of the lake, it pulled the 'deer in headlights' look long enough for me to snap this long exposure with some stars.

The next day we took an off road trip to Lake Crowley and checked out these strange formations I really wanted to see in person. There was a 2015 LA Times article about how they were formed that you can read HERE. Something to do with hot volcanic steam & ash mixing with cold waters above. Be advised that if you try to see this for yourself, you will need a 4x4 vehicle to get there.

Print Options

Here's another view from inside the Crowley Columns. 

crowleyspires_DT.jpg

It was blazing hot out there so we took a few umbrellas with us to block some of the sun. It was nice to cool off a bit on the walk back by stepping into the lake. Look at those sun rays!

lake walker

One of the more disgusting aspects of this location was all the fossilized maggots in the rock.

After an adventurous ride back, we made our way to Mono Lake for sunset. The yellow road out there looked really nice at golden hour.

Print Options

I brought my trusty Night-Writer with me to take a few glamour shots. Here I am levitating it with THE FORCE!

Look at that sunset!

sunset at mono lake

One more glamour shot for good measure, the pink light was too nice. 

Back at the camping spot we made a small fire and I did a short circle around the fire pit to create this looping gif. It might make you dizzy..

campfire

I pulled a late night mission to do a few other images in Owens Valley area and came away with this group of Quails walking across the road.

Print Options

Around this time, it was about 3am and I was starting to get a bit delirious from lack of sleep.. Which is when the best stuff happens!

I really let this last shot rip.. It's actually 33 images in one! 32 for the Panorama of the environment and 1 for the light-painted skeletons. Very happy with the way this crazy image came together, I mirrored it bc I thought it looked great as a circle.

Title: Bigger Than Us

Print Options

That's all for now, if you liked these images, do check out my light-art archive for the full collection and print purchasing options. Thanks for reading, and stay bright!

Mono Lake Session

Location: Mono Lake, CA

Print Options

I'm happy with how my Light Animals collection is coming along, the goal is to make up the entire alphabet with all of them, from Aarvark to Zebra

I had this idea to do two flamingos reflected on water for a few weeks now, but I never imagined how cold it would be while I was creating them - I had this idealistic vision of illustrating these animals somewhere tropical, like the caribbean. But here I am, stepping around a frigid lake when it's 27 degrees out. I used a pink-tipped special water-proofed Night-Writer for this image.

Print Options

This is the entrance to the South Tufas of Mono Lake (above). Don't make a mistake and visit the North entrance, it doesn't have the tall formations like the South entrance does.

At this elevation (6378 ft) it gets really cold after the sun goes down. It was 68 degrees earlier in the day but at this moment the temperature had dropped some 40 degrees. It was 27 degrees when I left the Lake.

Print Options

Once you get to the Tufas, about a quarter to a half mile walk from the parking area, it feels like you're on another planet. Say hello to the tufa alien.

Print Options

One of the more fragile and unique areas of Mono Lake is the sand tufa formations, these are a little harder to find than most of the South Tufas you'll see close to the lake but they are equally strange. One of the interesting parts to this place is that you can never tell how large or small these are in photographs, it's something about the perspective of it all.

The only way to tell scale here is to look at the footprints on the lower right.  These pedestals are about waist high, I put a little power-up on the center tufa just in case you're feeling small. This mushroom is the latest addition to my Light Morsels series.

Print Options

I let the full moon do most of the work for this image, that's the beauty of having a bounced light 230,000 miles above the Earth, casting down on the Eastern Sierras and part of these strange sand tufa formations. I thought these pedestal people would be a good otherworldly addition to my Aliens collection.

Print Options

Here's a photo of my over/under-water light-painting attempt at Mono Lake. I didn't stay in the water very long because it was so cold out (27 degrees!). 

Rainbones

Location: Mono Lake, CA / Settings: F5.6-22, ISO 100, 498 seconds

Gear: Canon 6DRokinon 14mm LensManfrotto TripodRemote Shutter-release, TCB RGB light-pen, and Proto Night-Writer.

Light art is a strange medium. You don't see other artists creating exclusively in pitch-black conditions. Graff writers, maybe - but even they have street lamps for some visibility.

I was listening to the radio the other day and there was a story about a steel guitar player that liked to play in complete darkness because he thought it heightened his senses - let him play better.

I feel the same is true with light art - I think that your mind becomes sharp and receptive because it doesn't have to focus on visual stimuli - it changes focus.

Nessie Vacays at Mono Lake

Location: Mono Lake, CA / Settings: (Composite) Nessie at F13, ISO 100, 21 seconds. Stars at F2.8, ISO 3200, 15 seconds.

Gear: Canon 6DRokinon 14mm LensManfrotto TripodRemote Shutter-release and Night-Writer with Green Color-tip.

I had this idea in mind since the last time I visited Mono Lake, it just seemed like the type of area Nessie might like.

While I was getting set up for this shot there were a few bats chasing large moths. I was able to catch some bat-trails - they are quick little devils!

bat-trails

This whole trip was generally cursed, but enjoyable - torrential downpours followed us everywhere we went! 

After narrowly missing a road closure on the 14 for flash floods, we hit the majority of the Eastern-Sierra areas including Fossil Falls, Alabama Hills, Ancient Bristlecone Pine forest, Hot Springs, Mono Lake, and Yosemite.

It was an exciting trip filled with lightning, hail, extreme downpours and some sketchy moments where we nearly got stuck in high-waters, the trail we drove in on turned into a full-flowing river within a matter of minutes!

In other news, I've updated the green color-tip for the Night-Writer - I thought it was a little too yellow, so I changed it to be more of an emerald hue - like Nessie.