After coming down from the crest of the Inyo Mountains, having wrapped up our small project at the Saline Valley Salt Tram, I set up camp at a small playa on the east side of Owens Valley, north of Dolomite. Desna met me and we circled the wagons in a quiet spot – we had planned a quick tour of the Owens Lake ponds to see if what birds might be late in the fall migration, and I still had some work to do with our team working on the west valley fans of Cartago Creek.
It turned out the sky over the Sierra decided to put on a show, evening and morning. The east side, beyond the Owens River, provides a long view of the Sierra crest. The view of Whitney is rather iconic, with easy, attractive compositions coming from Alabama Hills, at shoulder-side on Highway 395, or further out in Owens Valley, where I sat now. There is not much of a story here, just my opportunity to share sunstrike with Desna and enjoying some nice light on the Eastern Sierra and its high point (a summit I have yet to reach, by the way – although my attraction is weakened by the necessary permit process).
The long lens allowed me to sit in camp and wait. The colors of blue hour, just after sunset, when the fading glow reflected by the western glows, filled the sky from the Sierra to the Inyos but lasted about five minutes. I settled on a crest view of Lone Pine Peak and the crags south of Whitney. It was sunstrike in the new drama of the following sunrise that proved magical. I climbed out of the camper with the portent clouds scudding above the dark peak, my tripod already set up above a cold, unused fire ring. Even when I am not photographing, sunstrike on the Eastern Sierra is wonderful. Today, and tomorrow, was special.