Daily Archives: March 14, 2011

Class field Trip to Alabama Hills

Lone Pine, CA — Finally, a few days away from issues of the monsters in the middle east, the amateurs in the administration, and the entitled idiots descending on Wisconsin and back to my true love, making images.  The Landscape Photography class took its first field trip to the famous Alabama Hills near Lone Pine, CA.  The weather was beautiful and it was SOOOO nice to sit on a rock in the near silence and just relax at the base of Mt. Whitney and the Sierra Nevadas.  For me, mountains have always had the effect of putting things in perspective.  They have seen other monsters and idiots come and go yet they remain.  Though they too grow and die, in the time of mankind and certainly in the time of one man, they seem little effected or perturbed by our scurrying around as if, in the cosmic scheme of things, we actually mattered very much.

This class had quite a few attendees and most seemed quite able to find some good stuff to shoot.  I did hear one say I should be telling them where to find the good photos but in places like this they are everywhere, categorized only by the vision and “sight” of the photographer. Every time I am here the light is different because the sun is slightly different in its path across the sky so just like them, every time I am looking to find where, on that day and at that hour, MY shot is waiting patiently for me.  I cannot tell them where their shot is waiting for them, only where shots a-plenty exist and that is pretty much any where you look.   So I’m really anxious to get to see their work in class this coming week.

Here are a few of the shots I took.  I’ve not had time to work on very many.   This first shot  is the old corral along the always-ready-to-be-photographed Tuttle Creek road as we did our area orientation tour on Friday.  I have lots of photos of this corral and some I really like but am always willing to try something new as it seems, every time, to be slightly more overgrown and abandoned.

Of course the main attraction in Alabama Hills is the incredible collection of fantastic rock formations.  Here is a sample shot on Saturday.  This is the base shot but I’m thinking of trying to play with this one in the same vein as a watercolor painting I saw a few years ago where the main point of interest was rendered accurately and then as the view expended it turned into a pen-and ink drawing.  It really forced the eye into the subject.  We’ll see…

Each visit we try at least a couple of dawn shots.  The whole valley is dominated by several large mountains, especially Mt. Lone Pine (on the left below) and the massive, craggy Mt. Whitney to the north (right).  When the atmosphere is just right over the Inyo mountains to the east, as the sun just creeps over the peaks to light up the Sierras, it can turn the entire Sierra Nevada Range a vibrant salmon/coral color.    The first dawn on Saturday was fairly tame with little or no color to the light.  it was dramatic enough for some good black and white images but not color ones.   However Sunday’s dawn did not fail us.  The sky had streaky clouds for  interest and the sun came up through some overcast so it was prety good.

The shot above is a “mosaic” with a natural size of about 60 inches wide.  I think I’ll do a canvas version of it.  I did several mosaics while there and this was actually the smallest of them.

As usual it was hard to head the car south and back to the city filled the seemingly unending news of a tired world gone somehow a little crazy.  The tsunami from Japan thankfully was a non-event as it hit the beaches in southern California though unfortunately it was devastating to Japan.  But sooner or later, we are due as well and I think we are far less prepared than they were for a catastrophic quake and tsunami.  I dearly hope that appraisal is in error… time will tell.

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