Myself and some fellow photographers planned a trip up to the eastern Sierra, hiking up Little Lakes Valley to Long Lake to shoot a Milky Way reflection in the lake. I thought it’d be a nice idea to practice shooting reflection in water a bit closer and more accessible. So several of us headed up to Diaz Lake, just south of Lone Pine. It was a very long day for me, since I’ve secured gainful employment and had to work a morning shift(5am-1:30pm). The reflection part didn’t work all that well. There were reeds all along the lake which made that difficult and even the slight breeze and party boat that would stir up the water.
One hundred and fifty years ago, Diaz Lake didn’t exist. In March of 1872, one of the strongest earthquakes in recorded California history struck the Owens Valley causing a great deal of destruction and lose of lives. It also opened springs that filled a depression south of Lone Pine that is now Diaz Lake. The lake lies at the southern end of the Alabama Hills(a favorite for landscape astro-photographers and for Western movies), which where named by Confederate sympathizers in the area for the battleship Alabama. I arrived before sunset, but the sun had already set behind the high peaks of the eastern Sierra. While we were scouting out locations to shoot, I took some shots of the sunlight streaming over the Sierra peaks and noticed a couple of dead trees that I thought would make a good foreground for light painting with a Milky Way shot.
After shooting there for a hour or two, I packed up the Prius and headed further north to Manzanar. I shot the guard tower there last month after visiting the old Kearsarge station and ore loader. I didn’t have enough time before the Moon rose that day to shoot the Milky Way over the monument in the cemetery there that night. So I returned last night. One of the things that is difficult for photographers shooting the Milky Way is finding interesting foreground elements that not everyone else is shooting. At Joshua Tree, all of the “must shoot” foregrounds usually has a line, especially on weekends near the new Moon. It was refreshing being the only soul at the Manzanar cemetery, though a bit creepy. I shot the Milky Way as a stacked set and then light painted the monument from three sides. On the way out, I thought about shooting the guard station, a nice stone structure at the entrance, but I was just too tired and still had a 3 1/2 hour drive ahead of me(by the time I arrived home, I’d been up for 24 hours).
Wide shot of the clouds over the high Sierra.