The Owens Valley has an interesting history. Essentially, Los Angeles, the city, took all its water for itself. It is also where the Manzanar Concentration Camp interred thousands of Japanese American citizens during the dark and scary days of World War II. While not the horrific camps of the German Nazis, these internment camps were still horrors in their own right, and a blight on America’s history of human rights.
We spent a day in Bodie, California, a silver-mining ghost town in the middle of the high desert in northern California off Hwy. 395. It’s a photographer’s paradise, a state park, and a place with a very interesting history. The dry air keeps it preserved – as preserved as it can be – and the drive out is lonely.
This is a telescopic shot from the shore of Parker Lake in the Eastern Sierra. Taken in mid-August, the ice and snow is still visible from the winter before. We were up around 9000 feet (guestimate), but the snow field and waterfall are certainly far higher than that.
We spent the last week up in the area of Mammoth Lakes, located on the eastern slope of the Sierras, up Highway 395. Can you believe I have never been up that road?!?
We hiked and ate and took pictures and saw the sites. The weather was superb. We had to adjust from living at 800 feet above sea level to going up to 8000 feet and higher – shortness of breath (SOB!), dry eyes and nose, and so on. We got comfortable at 8000, but moving up, like in walking uphill, became a challenge at times, so we would rest and then continue. This gave for a lot of wonderful opportunities to look around, take in a breath of sage and pine, and snap away.
This view of Mono Lake is from the Parker Lake Trail, and is created from a montage of about 8 images. Click on the image for a bigger version.
These weeds – oat grass? – are typical grasses in open areas of southern California. The seed heads are sharp and stick into your socks and shoes and work their way in. Pity the poor dog who doesn’t get these removed . . . Mother Nature’s way to ensure a new generation is propagated someplace!
While this is a pretty bleak looking landscape, it also shows you how the heat of summer dries the winter grasses. One match, and whoosh! Too many fires already in California.
Taken with Velvia 100 film in a pre-WW2 Welta Weltur folder, 6×4.5. While out with the camera, it popped open twice – I had jerry-rigged a strap for it but if obviously didn’t work too well! The film was processed in C41 as a result at the local photo shop – to pay more for slide film and potentially nothing seemed ridiculous – so it was cross-processed. I was quite pleased to see a few out of the 16 survived. A bit of work made this picture salvageable. Below is the original cross-processed image, and then a variant in black and white.
Oh, how much easier it would have been to get the view by road! Instead, a steady uphill slog of about a mile, with twists and turns and changing views. The pool of water in the distance is a reservoir, and it looks pretty good from here. Others in the area could be dried out in four years, and then what will we do for water? Even now, with rain in the forecast, California is still suffering from the effects of a long drought and poor water regulation. And climate change.