October 18, 2011

beauty along the way

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

Over yonder, California has one major and tall divide--the Sierra Nevada Mountains--keeping most residents contained, bound and restricted; so as not to spill out into the nothingness of Nevada on the eastern side.

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

Yes, these are Aspen trees near the summit of Carson Pass, and they were putting on a show of Fall color that I hoped I would find.

Oh Lord, you see, I was first introduced to the Sierra and it's valley, Owens, when I was just a wee lad. My Aunt and Uncle were most generous to take me along on their camping and backpacking adventures. They knew all the names of the mountain peaks and were keen at reciting Latin and common namess of all the wildflowers, bushes and trees we passed on our treks.

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

This jagged scarp is another mountain pass--Monitor Pass--that I needed to traverse in order to make my way down into the upper part of Owens Valley. I made it with ease in my car but in earlier days some old crusty miner would have had to amble down the rocky ridge on foot, maybe with a mule in tow.

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

Okay, everybody in the room who HASN'T heard of Mono Lake, please raise your hands. Okay, you can put your hands down now.

We can thank Ansel Adams for pointing out the beauty of Mono Lake--the place has achieved Mecca status in the minds of lesser known photogs.

Anyway, what we have with Mono Lake is a lake that doesn't drain to the sea. It is alkaline and continues to concentrate salts from runoff. Big and weird "stalagmite-like" formations known as Tufa "grow" near the shore and are more pronounced in current decades because the level of Mono Lake has dropped.

There IS hope for Mono Lake--bird species are being protected, brine shrimp are thriving, and the level of Mono lake is gradually rising. But in sharp contrast is Owens "dry" Lake, about 100 miles to the south--destroyed by the Los Angeles Water Department in their evil plot against the farmers of Owens Valley in the 1920's. An aqueduct and huge pipes were built to rob the Owens Valley of it's water--without it Los Angeles wouldn't have grown so large.

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

A similar view of Mono Lake. Recently I've been doing more panorama, or what I call my "skinny" shots.

CLICK for the very "best" of my work on my "big" photo website.


John @ Beans and I on the Loose said...

Aspens! You got them. I/we were a bit too early but did catch a few just turning at Great Basin N.P. Mono Lake. I know you must have shot a lot of "rolls of film" there. Looking forward to more. I am always glad to see the waters a little bit higher each time I travel by that beautiful lake.

AphotoAday said...

Hi SINBAD'S DAD -- Yep, so odd to see Aspens in California -- they seem like more of an Idaho and Colorado tree...
Didn't get to spend as much time at Mono Lake as I would have hoped -- an impending SNOW storm was bearing down on the area and I was forced to head down to the lower altitude of Lone Pine...
I'm already planning next year's "vacation", whether I can afford it or not. Because of the weather I didn't make it to either Bristlecone Pine or Death Valley.

Tomate Farcie said...

Look at these trees!! I love these trees!!!

photowannabe said...

You have made me so itchy to get back to that area. Delicious photos Don.

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