On the last full day we went to Convict Lake before sunrise and I may have taken my best photo of the trip because everything was as good as it could be. The winds were calm which allowed the surface of the lake to reflect light like a mirror. There were just enough clouds to make the sky interesting and as the sun rose the light crawled down the mountain providing a number of chances for a good photo.
In 1871 some 29 prisoners escaped from a Carson City prison and were on the run. A number of them ended up in the Owens Valley at a lake at the foot of the mountains in the northern part of the valley. As the story goes a posse was formed to track them down which led to a couple of gun battles and several deaths and from that time on the lake was known as Convict Lake. The mountain, Mount Morrison was named after one of the posse members who died while trying to capture the escapees.
The photo in the middle is Mt Morrison reflecting off the water near the shore line
Later that day we visited another lake to the north by the name of Mono Lake. It has an interesting back story of its own and we came here because of the Tufa towers that are shown below.
The Tufa towers that now stand above Mono Lake were hidden underwater until the water levels receded. Over a decade or more, in the 1950s, much of the water feeding Mono Lake was cut off as part of the LA county land and water grab. As I understand it, the lake might have disappeared if the local residents along with the help of the Audubon Society hadn’t filed suit to keep access to some of the water from the surrounding mountains. At an altitude of 6,383 ft. the lake currently covers about 59 square miles, but used to be over 86 square miles. At it’s deepest spot the lake is only 160ft. Even thought the water is saltier than the ocean is supports a myriad of wild life. For us it provided an opportunity to photograph some very unusual scenery. Unfortunately, a storm front moved in and stole the last light of the day but made for some interesting skies.
On the way home I drove by the lake and up the mountain to the north that rose above Mono Lake and stopped at the overlook to get some pictures of the lake where I was probably about a half of a mile vertically above the lake.
The trip from Bishop to Reno where I was to catch my flight home should take well less than 4 hours. However, if you're from the east and have a camera at your side it could easily take you twice that long, as it did me. There was a storm trying to cross the Sierra Nevada mountains, so the sky was filled with huge cumulus clouds early in the day and rain before I got to Reno. All this made for some fantastic landscape photographs…
(To really enjoy these images click on a photo to scroll through a larger view)
The images below did not make it into the newsletter but take some time to go through these as there are some amazing scenes from Owens Valley and the ride back to Reno.