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Ruby Tuesday – The Bishop, CA Edition! September 28, 2009

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, Ruby Tuesday!.
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Half way up California’s fabled East Side sits the quintessential Western town of Bishop.  I’d driven through there once before, ’round about 1980, but all I recall about that particular trip was that the brownies were absurdly green.


Fast forwarding to March of 2009, I had occasion to stop there with my buddy Lizz on our whirlwind tour of Southern California, ostensibly in search of wildflowers but taking in anything which was visually Not Massachusetts.  I’d expressed my desire to see Mount Whitney before descending into Death Valley, expecting the geographic contrast to possess a certain power (which it did,) and Lizz did me one better by first humoring me, then spiriting me a little ways farther north to Bishop, where Galen Rowel’s Mountain Light Gallery exhibits some of that photographer’s astounding work.

People.  If you’re ever in the area, make this stop an imperative.  You’ll be transported by one of the visionaries of modern photography to places which we mortals can barely imagine, exquisitely rendered by an artist of rare stature.  I bawled like a baby before half a dozen of his works.

By the time we left I was trembling, partly with desire to see what Galen saw, and partly out of the fear which comes from knowing how rare that gift really is.

We drove Up West ’till a late season snow storm made continuing imprudent, then parked and wandered around beneath the thick grey skies, benefiting from the dry air of the high desert as it ate the falling snows, leaving us to swim in the turbulent air below great granite massifs piercing a blanket ofy winter sky.

And amidst all of this, hints of Ruby enlivened the austere majesty of the High Country:


Buttermilk snow storm

I bet you thought I forgot to dance with The Meme What Brung Me, courtesy of Mary.

No way, Mary.  I;m clumsy, but I’m not a cad.

Lone Pine, CA September 18, 2009

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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Waaaay back in March I spent a week in Southern California with my friend and neighbor, Lizz.  She’s been photographing Southwestern landscapes for a few years now and has some beautiful images to show for it, and I hoped to learn from her on this trip.

I did. A lot.

After posting some pictures from Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and Joshua Tree National Park I got distracted by Springtime in New England and never really finished telling you about our trip; now it’s time for a bit more of the story.

Frau B. (that’s Lizz) and I left SoCal and headed north along the East Side, partly because I had the conception of seeing the highest and the lowest places in the Lower U.S. in quick succession, and partly because Lizz is a climber and can’t resist a beautiful granite face.  Besides, she was pretty jazzed to get to Death Valley and probably figured I’d be satisfied with a drive by.

It’s a tribute to her driving stamina that she “assumed the position” and arrowed northward, barely stopping ’till we pulled into Lone Pine, the turn-off town for Mount Whitney.

The Southern Sierras are stunning, and I took way too many photos along the way, but the views from Lone Pine were still more so.  I snapped away, despite a ferocious wind which  threatened to snatch my hat and rip the lens cap off my camera!

From the main street in town, Whitney is visible through a notch in the closer mountains:

Whitney and cattle

It’s on the left in this picture, which doesn’t do the mountain justice, but I liked the iconic feel of the cattle grazing below the Alabama Hills with the Sierras beyond.  The wind was blowing much too hard to just stand there and shoot, or even for a tripod, which would have been thrummed like a double bass, so  I sat my camera on a stout fence post, which to my dismay was vibrating with every gust.  This is the best of those ill-fated shots.

We headed up the turn to Whitney Portal, a village closer to the mountain’s base.  But March is still winter in these parts, and the road was closed just beyond the Alabama Hills.

Still, I got a better view of the peaks, parked along the side of the road and hunkered down in the lee of our rental car as the wind whipped by:


That was with a 35mm lens; this is from the same spot with Gizmo, my 400mm lens:

Whitney Group

The peaks were bathed in a wind-driven snow, and it was difficult to get good shots, but I was satisfied with these.

More to follow, though I’m not promising when; I’ll be spending the next three weekends (and the free bits in between) moving and might not get to posting much.

So hold the fort, ‘k?