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Change of Season at Convict Lake

Posted by
Don Smith (California, United States) on 28 September 2009 in Landscape & Rural.


Arches/Canyonlands Photo Workshop November 4-8, 2009 (Sold Out - Waiting List Only)
Spring Big Sur Photo Workshop - March 29 - April 1, 2010 (5 spots available)
Northern Arizona: Grand Canyon, Upper Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, and Sedona Photo Workshop - May 3-7, 2010 (space available)
Redwoods and Mendocino Coast Photo Workshop - June 15-18, 2010 (space available)
Kauai, Hawaii Photo Workshop - July 12-16, 2010 (8 spots available)
Big Sur Photo Workshop Summer August, 2010 (Exciting details TBA soon)!

I love this time of year. The days are still warm, but the night air has a tinge of chill to it. It also signals the start of fall color here in California's eastern Sierra range.

One of my favorite places (and there are many) that I love visiting and photographing is Convict Lake which is located about 8.5 miles south of Mammoth Lakes off Highway 395. The lake itself is not large (0.9 miles long by 0.4 miles wide) but it is set at 7,850 feet in the Sherwin Range of the Sierra Nevada. What makes it special for me is the dramatic rise of Mt. Morrison which seemingly pitches straight up to an elevation of 12,241 feet (most of the peak is obscured by the clouds in this frame).

Back in 1871, a group of convicts escaped from prison in Carson City. A posse, led by Sheriff Robert Morrison, had a shootout with the convicts at the back end of this lake. Morrison was killed in the escalation but the convicts were eventually re-captured. Mount Morrison was named in his honor.

During early October, the aspens at the south end of the lake turn vivid yellow turning this area into a photographer's dream. I captured this image on a stock shooting trip with some friends in October, 2006. We awoke to find ourselves in the midst of the season's first snow storm. I remember being giddy with excitement as I felt I would have the opportunity to juxtapose two season's in one frame - a true rarity! The beauty of an overcast and stormy sky is it allows a photographer to shoot the entire day (which is exactly what we did). This image was captured around 2:30 pm. The storm was beginning to break and the clouds were starting to lift and unveiled this incredibly beautiful scene.

I will be leaving Friday to assist Gary Hart in his eastern Sierra workshop starting Sunday. It would be awesome to get a repeat performance with the snow, but the beauty of fall in the eastern Sierra is worth it even without the white stuff.

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II 1/15 second F/16.0 ISO 100 24 mm

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