Eastern Sierras- Day 3

June 29, 2020 at 5:00 am (California, Nature, Nature photography, Photography) (, , )

Lone juniper and clouds

There are many places in the wide open Inyo County forest lands to camp out, and whenever possible I look for free dispersed camping since I just park my car and sleep in it.

The sun had just disappeared from that lone juniper when I was able to stop for a picture, and I had to wait, and wait, and wait for its return. The lead photo is the result. Much more interesting, right?

Another composition

I was also briefly intrigued by a very lonesome landscape around the corner.

Some people love to be surrounded by forests. But they make me feel claustrophobic. I need to see the sky, as much of it as I can, to feel comfortable. This is my kind of landscape, bordered by rugged mountains.

Near Hot Creek, Mammoth

Clouds with character are pretty infrequent in Paso Robles, where I live. There have been months and months of summer skies with barely a cloud in them here, but mountains draw clouds, even create them. I love the play of shadow and light, even though it can mean waiting for the sun to hit a certain part of the landscape for a more interesting photograph.

Hot Creek Geological Site

My goal on the second night of my mini-road trip was the Hot Creek Geological Site. I’d been here two or three times before, in autumn. But I had seen a very lovely photograph of this scene at dawn on a Facebook group page, and ached to have the same experience.

The above photo was taken in late afternoon.

As the sun set, the backdrop of mountains became my focal point.

8 p.m. Sunday
5:30 a.m. Monday morning
5:45 a.m. Monday morning

Below is the same view of Hot Creek, but at dawn.

Hot Creek at dawn

People are not allowed in Hot Creek because the water temperature can go from tolerable to deadly with no warning.

However, the deer found it to their liking.

I encountered more deer on the road out.

This was going to be a short day, since I wanted to get home (a more than six hour drive) before dark. So I stopped at Convict Lake, where on my last visit I had seen an American dipper (formerly called the water ouzel, a name I prefer. I like the letter “z”.)

None of the restrooms were open here, which was extremely irritating and really unnecessary since it was frequented by fishermen and walkers. Fortunately the lodge was open, and so was its restroom. It also had a charming gift shop and I found a few cute things for my two grandbabies there. And yes, everyone in the store wore a mask.

The water sprinklers went on overnight, but since temps were below freezing there were icicles on the new leaves.

I walked the short paved trail partway around the lake, looking for the dipper. I never saw one, but I did see several house wrens singing.

House wren

And to wrap up my trip, some wildflowers.

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