Eastern Sierra Fall Colors

Begging your pardon, but while doing some behind the scenes work on my blog, I discovered that this particular post had gone missing in the ‘published’ category. I thought I had published it before, but it wasn’t showing up today! So here it is again, if you remember it from October, you can disregard! This was when I had changed the theme and perhaps something went wonky.

Fall is one of my favorite times for photography – oh the light!! At the same time, I’m often beset by the blues – it will be winter soon: cold, dark, gloomy. At least these were my east coast thoughts. In the west, even though the temperatures where I’m located may get to 5° mid-winter, the temperatures may then reach 45° to 60° during the day and the sun usually shines everyday. Who can complain?

I started my fall leaf quest a few weeks ago and you may see a few more shots down the line as the leaves are late falling this year. In so many shots, the aspens look like liquid gold flowing down the mountainsides as they follow a stream. My first stop of the day was a four-mile hike at Hilton Lakes (I still haven’t reached Hilton Lakes), but just into the trail, you look down on Rock Creek Lake, it’s so beautiful. Then on to Convict Lake for a couple quick shots.

Rock Creek Lake

Convict Lake paddlers.
Convict Lake paddlers.

Convict Lake in the Sherwin Range near Mammoth Lakes was my second stop on my way to June Lake for a photography show. Convict Lake received its name from an incident in September of 1871 when a number of convicts escaped from a prison in Carson City, Nevada. A posse from Benton (across the valley) met the men near the head of Convict Creek, where they shot a Wells Fargo agent.

Through the willows.
Through the willows.

Much to my annoyance at first, a wedding was taking place on the beach of the lake, effectively blocking my view and my way to where I wanted to go. But when I saw this little flower girl picking her way through the rocks and trees, I was hooked.

Flower Girl
Flower Girl
Dad and Bride
Dad and Bride

I have a shot of the bride and a wonderfully skeptical expression on the maid of honor’s face as she’s looking at the groom that I cannot post, as I didn’t ask permission to do so. But these are not shots of the faces, so I think I’m safe. The bride chose a wonderful setting, the seated guests overlooked the lake and the bridal party was lakeside. It was a serendipitous day. I love shooting photos when you capture just that special moment.

The photo show I was traveling towards was another of those special times. Earlier in the spring, I had captured a Dad and his three sons at Gull Lake (back shots again). It was one of the photos I entered in the June Lake photo competition/beer festival. When I arrived in June Lake, I wondered if the Dad would be there. The lovely photographers who got the show together said – “The Dad’s been here three different times showing people the photo!” I wandered down to the beer garden/tennis court to see if I could recognize the Dad since I only had a butt shot that I cropped out of the photo. 😉 I did find him and gave him the photo. He gave me three hugs. It turns out the smallest of the boys is a half-brother that isn’t always with him so it was very special to have that photo. Makes me smile. The little guy on the right (who is not his son) and the Dad were originally cropped from the photo, but the mountain in the background is basically the east side of Yosemite National Park and I wanted to include it here for you.

Gull Lake

The sun is going down behind Yosemite.
The sun is going down behind Yosemite.

Since I took the time to look for the Dad, by the time I left Gull Lake, the sun was beginning to drop. As any photographer knows, once those aspens lose their sun, they lose their vibrance too. Hurrying out towards Mono Lake, I found this grove below near Parker Lake.

This grove of aspens has taken on an orange color instead of yellow. Since they're all cloned from the same root, they are all alike.
This grove of aspens has taken on an orange color instead of yellow. Since they’re all cloned from the same root, they are all alike.
Tufa at Mono Lake from the distance. The sunset was not a spectacular one.
Tufa at Mono Lake from the distance. The little tufa in the foreground is where the water was before Los Angeles started draining it. The sunset was not a spectacular one.
Since I had hiked earlier in the day, I didn't even waste my steps down to the lake.
Since I had hiked earlier in the day, I didn’t even waste my steps down to the lake, but it was still a very good day.

South Bishop Creek

On another day: the roads toward Lake Sabrina and South Lake do not disappoint during autumn, especially on the way to South Lake. There are so many good shots, it takes forever for me to winnow the number of photos down.

Aspens, Intake 2

South Bishop Creek tumbling down the mountainside.
South Bishop Creek tumbling down the mountainside.

As I was walking in Big Trees Campground, I had just said my usual mantra of “Snakes Go Away” when I rounded a small bush to see this:
Snake?

You know that clinch in your stomach, scary, pee your pants feeling? This stick gave me that feeling going down the trail AND coming back! Doesn’t it look like a snake ?

Jeffrey Pine

These beautiful big Jeffrey Pines are delicious and I mean that in a food way. If you scratch the bark, you get a lovely Werther’s Butterscotch smell, or a homemade vanilla cookie smell.

This is a lake where Los Angeles still gets its water, piped in a fat pipeline to the city 266 miles away.

This is Intake 2, a lake where Los Angeles still gets some of its water, piped in a fat pipeline to the city 266 miles away.

Leaf Fall

In the higher elevations (above 7,000′) the aspens are mostly bare, sad to see them that way. I hope you’ve enjoyed your tour. This post has lots of photos which I hope will not clog your internet. Plus, I’ve changed my theme and some of the photos are slightly larger than usual. Let me know if you like the changes. Click on the small lines at the upper-left of the page to get to the comment area (at the bottom of the recent comments).

4 Comments

  1. Aaahhhh! Beautiful! Rock Creek Lake is one of our favorites and the fall colors are wonderful! Since Wes is retiring in 2 months, I certainly hope we can be there to see those colors next year! And yes, I do like the new larger photo format! Thanks for the vicarious journey:)

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  2. Glorious colors, lovely images! I’ve never been to that part of California (I’d never been to California at all until this summer), so thank you for taking me there. The blues and the yellows were so lovely, and the wedding pix were icing on the cake (pun intended, I’m afraid).

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