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Trip to Sierras – Part 2

On to the second installment of pictures from my recent trip to Sierra Nevada Mountains (View Part 1 | Part 3 | Part 4)... This post covers my pictures from the first half of day 2 on our trip. Click any of the panoramas for larger versions.

Lee Vining Creek

I decided to wake up before sunrise and hit Ellery Lake up off Tioga Pass. My beautiful girlfriend joined me (the good sport that she is) and we had the entire lake to ourselves. It was so peaceful being among that beautiful scenery as the sun rose. Breathtaking, really. Freezing, too, but very peaceful.

Based on its position on the map, I thought the morning light would hit the mountain peaks and reflect beautifully in the lake... I was a little bit off on that prediction. I didn't study the topographical map well enough to see that the sunrise would actually be blocked by some tall peaks off to the east. That's what I get for not scouting it beforehand. Oh, well. Before ditching this spot realizing the light wasn't going to go where I wanted it, I was able to get a few good images.

Ellery Lake at Sunrise

Ellery Lake at Sunrise

Near Ellery Lake at Sunrise

We stopped next at Tioga Lake. The scenery was stunning, as usual for this area, but I was getting really frustrated with how many signs of human existence were crowding my shots. I had to work quite hard to frame out the dam, the road, the cars parked off to the side, etc etc. And even when I did frame that stuff out, I still couldn't avoid those damn contrails from jets flying overhead. They didn't completely ruin the shot(s), but I would have preferred all air traffic just waited a few minutes, just until I was done with my pictures. So selfish...

A couple of the shots are quite similar as I working with "variations on a theme" (nice way of saying "almost the same composition") and the second shot below just looked too good in black and white to not share with you. I can't decide if I like the B&W or color version better.

Morning at Tioga Lake

Morning at Tioga Lake (Color)

Morning at Tioga Lake (b&w)

Morning at Tioga Lake

Last stop on Tioga Pass was a little creek off the side of the road in Yosemite National Park. The light was a little bit too harsh by this point for my taste, but I got a couple good shots nevertheless. I particularly like the vertical panoramic.

Creek in Yosemite National Park

Creek in Yosemite National Park

Next up was...a nap. Boy, do I hate naps. It's literally impossible for me to sleep after 10:00am without getting a pounding headache when I wake up, but I didn't want to be falling asleep at sunset. So it was either have a headache and get some sunset shots, or pass out at 6:00pm and miss the sunset. Now what kind of photographer would I be if I chose comfort over pictures?

After the nap and before our venture out for sunset shots, we went back down to Lee Vining Creek just below our motel for some quick pictures (and to wake ourselves up a bit). The shot at the top of this post and the following panorama are from that spot.

Lee Vining Creek Panorama

So there's just the first half of Day 2. Stay tuned for Part 3!