Before my June 4/5 Bodie workshops I held a short Eastern Sierra workshop to show some of my customers some additional locations. One of the places we went was Mono Lake, to catch the Milky Way rising over the calcium carbonate tufa formations.
I'll kick off this new album with 35 photos from my visits to the Tioga Pass area over the past couple of months. We should be able to access this area from four or five of my Yosemite and Eastern Sierra workshops this year. http://www.jeffsullivanphotography.com/blog/yosemite-national-park-photography-workshops/
Originally shared by +Jeff Sullivan Photography
After July 4 fireworks in the Eastern Sierra, I headed up into the Sierra Nevada on Yosemite's Tioga Pass Road to capture some Milky Way shots. I waited at Olmsted Point until the Milky Way would be in the composition above Half Dome. This is a composite of two exposures, one for the foreground and one for the sky.
There was a lot of light pollution here, as well as smoke along the horizon from California's fires, but the air was clear enough for a reasonable result.
We'll be able to head up on Tioga Pass Road fr shots like this during my upcoming Eastern Sierra workshops this year: http://www.jeffsullivanphotography.com/blog/eastern-sierra-fall-colors-photo-workshops/
Highway 395 status as of 9 am Sunday:
"California Highway Patrol is providing escorts through the fire area in both directions along Highway 395 due to fire equipment utilizing the highway, power line repair and potential rock slides. The escort will be from just north of the town of Lee Vining on the south and at Highway 167 on the north."
Originally shared by +Jeff Sullivan Photography
Photos of the Marina Fire
Highway 395 status as of 9 am Sunday: "California Highway Patrol is providing escorts through the fire area in both directions along Highway 395 due to fire equipment utilizing the highway, power line repair and potential rock slides. The escort will be from just north of the town of Lee Vining on the south and at Highway 167 on the north."
“The Traveler sees what he sees. The Tourist sees what he has come to see.” G.K. Chesterton
Update 1, May 31: Tioga Pass opened in Mid-May, so we can include Yosemite”s Tioga Pass area in our workshops starting this Thursday. I’ve already been up there three times in the past couple of weeks to assess and monitor conditions.
Update 2, May 31: One of my customers has asked to extend the workshop with a few days in Yosemite Valley, so we’re adding June 6, 7, and 8 next week to the schedule!
The first week of June is amazing for the Eastern Sierra for so many reasons. Some snow remains on the Sierra Nevada (and possibly the White Mountains) to catch alpenglow, and there can be a fresh snowfall around the end of May to refresh that surface. Several species of wildflowers are starting to bloom, profusely in some areas.
This year the new moon and Milky Way shooting timing coincides with this week, and we have the possibility of a late spring storm from the northwest for interesting sunrises and sunsets, or warmer monsoon moisture from the Baja coast that could bring dramatic afternoon clouds, showers and rainbows, or evening thunderstorms.
I used to be nervous about the thunderstorms interfering with night photography, but I’ve learned through experience in Bodie and the surrounding area that convection-driven storms tend to break up or blow east by the time the sky is fully dark around 10/10:20, so they’re really just bonuses for sunset and twilight shooting, even when rain showers interfere locally for an hour or so (and even then they often give way to rainbows).
We’ll pick from a number of spots for Milky Way shooting, and arrive by the time it’s fully dark at 10:07, when the galactic center of the Milky Way has already risen 6 degrees, perfect for placing it in our compositions.
Friday we’ll catch sunrise at Mono Lake before the weekend crowds arrive, shoot different wildflowers, maybe explore some interesting geology or head up to Tioga Pass if its open for snowier views. Another sunset spot, More night photography, and turn in not too late since most of us are continuing on to Bodie the following night, and Bodie interiors the following morning.
Workshops take me out of the field as I work on permits, itineraries, write descriptions, set up payment / registration buttons, and I perform a some kind of marketing to get them seen, if only a mention or two on social media. I’m not going for volume, and I personally lead all of my workshops, so they are designed to place you in a stunning place, in a peak season, as the exact best time.
I have to be efficient and pack as much opportunity as I can into my time in the field. Every day has the sun rising and setting. Some weeks have wildflowers. Fall colors may be peaking in a given location for only a few days to a week. The Milky Way is available during a few weeks of the year, a moon rise at sunset or moon set at sunrise about a dozen times each. So I am careful to hold my workshops in a prime season, and I then select the most likely peak days and times, including astronomical considerations.
Plans are all well and good; I frequently plan something as simple as a sunset moon rise composition weeks in advance. But landscape photography is about light, so if you’re on a workshop, you want a leader have enough depth in detailed regional knowledge to be ready to ditch all plans and react to the weather and light if there’s more potential 20 or 30 miles from where you are. So leave the tourists behind who are stuck to their fixed agenda, and rather than a traveler who reacts to the weather and looks for a place to shoot it, you can travel with a local who knows the opportunities in every direction, and anticipates the conditions before you pick the next destination and hop in the car to arrive there just in time.
Early June in the Eastern Sierra offers an annual convergence of so many factors which could make photography conditions stunning. Photography is more fun shared, so I can’t wait, and all the better that I get to share all of this bounty with old and new friends!
Most of the participants are returning customers, but we have room for one or two more if anyone’s interested!
After researching and documenting the best locations in the Eastern Sierra for many years, I can't wait to show photographers around to the best spots in the best light. Many of the dates are adjacent to the dates I have for my Bodie night photography workshops, and in most cases I've saved a few spots so photographers can enroll in both if they like.
In June, July and August we should be able to enjoy wildflowers in addition to the stunning landscapes in the Eastern Sierra, so I've started a "Spring in the Eastern Sierra" album to show some examples.
For more information or to enroll, see the Eastern Sierra Photography Workshops overview page on my Web site: http://www.jeffsullivanphotography.com/blog/eastern-sierra-fall-colors-photo-workshops/
Originally shared by +Eastern Sierra Nevada Workshops
Eastern Sierra Wildflowers
I decided to start a Spring in the Eastern Sierra" album, and what better way to start it than an overview of some of the wildflowers that bloom here? Although wildflower season runs from late February through August at various elevations, the Inyo to Mono County area has particularly nice blooms in certain areas in June and July.
I'll be showing groups of photographers the best spots in June, July and August: http://www.jeffsullivanphotography.com/blog/eastern-sierra-fall-colors-photo-workshops/
#wildflowers #easternsierra #landscapephotography #california
You may have noticed that I’m obsessed with death. Death Valley National Park, that is! I grew up in New England, just about as far from the desert as you can get in America, so in my current quest to explore the largest national park in the Lower 48 States, I must be making up for lost time.
Fortunately, currently living in the nearby Eastern Sierra region, I’m only 3-4 hours from a couple of park entrances, so I can indulge in my desert yearnings frequently. I usually visit once or twice in the Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day time period, then again in February and March as the wildflowers start to bloom. But as spring continues and Death Valley starts to really warm up, I like looking for storms and bouts of cooler weather, in case I can slip one or two more visits in before it gets too hot.
In April 2016 I could see a storm front approaching in the weather forecast. Daytime high temperatures would drop into the 80s. I’m currently working on a detailed photographer’s travel guide to the park to be offered in the +SNAPP Guides app, so I threw my camera and camping gear into the car, and headed to the park with a list of the sites I wanted to explore or revisit next.
I hiked to a natural bridge, and enjoyed great views with sunlight streaming through clouds. I explored stone-walled buildings at an old mining town site, and found wildflowers thriving at higher elevations than on past visits this year.
I met a Subaru coming out the wrong way from Titus Canyon, apparently deciding that “high clearance” meant higher then they had. The worst part of the road is about halfway through the 24-mile loop, so drivers that wait that long have a lot of wrong-way driving to do. Sometimes they’re in a hurry to get out, so they come flying around blind turns!
On the edge of a canyon, two jets saw me with my camera, so they took two passes each direction up the canyon, turning and shooting up sharply right in front of me, so I was able to get some great shots. They were very fast, very close, and very loud!
In Salt Creek, the water was slightly higher than normal, so the pupfish were exploring down to the parking lot, feeding in the flooded margins before low water forced them back into their normal cramped habitat space. Normally they’re a little skittish, but their quest for food prevailed, so when I held my iPhone out over the water, one came over and posed for a portrait.
On one evening, I caught a sandstorm over Mesquite Flat Dunes, back-lit with golden sunlight by the setting sun.
On the way home, sunset light was lighting up rain showers at Mono Lake. It was an eventful and productive trip. I can’t wait to return! In the meantime, I’ve uploaded the latest batch of photos to the Death Valley 2016 photo album on my +Death Valley Workshops page on Google+.
If you might like to join me in Death Valley sometime, my spring 2016 workshops are done for the season, but I can add a session in mid-December if there’s sufficient interest: Death Valley Photography Workshops.
|Sunset rain showers over Mono Lake|
The last warm light of the setting sun shines through a natural bridge on the Big Sur coast.