Thursday, October 16, 2008

Santa Cruz and Montana de Oro, October 2008

We took a quick trip up to Santa Cruz in early October of 2008. We biked the Skyline to Sea trail in Big Basin and hiked up to Berry Falls:

Gold Falls was just a little further up the trail:

We also rode in the Forest of Nisene Marks and in the Henry Cowell Redwoods; this was taken on an early morning walk in Henry Cowell:

On our way home, we camped at Montana de Oro in the Morro Bay area. Although we did see some sea otters, they were not very close to shore. The wind was offshore and we could see the entire Big Sur coastline to the north:

The waves were smaller than usual, but they still surged and crashed on the craggy rocks:

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Fall Color in Eastern Sierra -- Sept. 2008

We took a quick trip during late September to the Bishop Creek area of the Eastern Sierra. On the first day, we took a short hike to Bull Lake (near South Lake), and Chocolate Peak was in the lake. (Remember to click on the picture if you want to see a larger version and then hit "back.")

We weren't able to hike as far as we had planned because we kept having to stop and admire the aspens. All of the pictures that you see here are unaltered -- this is how it really looked. The next few shots were taken on the east side of South Lake:

We could look down the cliff through the orange aspen and toward the turquoise water of the lake; if this scene had not been painted by nature, it could have been criticized as too garish:

The next day, we drove over to North Lake. From the road up to the lake, we could see Mount Darwin and Mount Powell:

The entire canyon of the north fork of Bishop Creek was covered in aspens:

The volcanic Piute Crags lined the north side of the canyon:

The south wall of the canyon was granite; there are so many big peaks in this area that this 12,000 foot crag near Loch Leven does not have a name -- how about Finger Peak?

Later that afternoon, it started to get stormy. Here is the same view of Mount Darwin (see above) on a cloudy afternoon, instead of a sunny morning:

The next morning was showery, which (paradoxically) seemed to make the colors even more intense:

(If you're wondering how we obtained the time exposure of the water, I use a neutral density filter, which allows me to slow down the lens speed.) After hiking along the creek, we went up to Lake Sabrina. The granite walls of the canyon were wet and dark:

As soon as we hit the trail, a thunderstorm rolled in over Mount Darwin:

More than five years later, I edited that shot in Lightroom - this is closer to the real thing:

The hike to Long Lake was a little soggy, but it cleared up for a few moments here and there:

The lake reflected Mt. Goode, a 13,000 foot peak (on the left) and Hurd Peak (on the right):

As we approached the 11,000 foot level, the rain turned to sleet -- note the stylish hefty bag:

The sun came out briefly in the afternoon, above Lake Sabrina:

During the night, there was more rain (and snow at the higher elevations). The next morning, we could see the top of Mt. Tom from the campground:

We headed up to the North Lake area again to do a different hike; once again, the view of Mount Darwin from North Lake Road was astounding, with snow in the higher elevations:

We were surprised to find aspens reflected in Grass Lake; none of the guidebooks mentioned them:

Years later, I re-edited that shot in Lightroom:

Later that day, the sun came out as we crossed Bishop Creek:

Here are two more shots of the creek, edited years later in Lightroom:

That evening, we drove south to the Lone Pine area, staying at Tuttle Creek, a primitive Bureau of Land Management campground in the shadow of Lone Pine Peak near Mount Whitney:

Perhaps not too surprisingly, the stars in the high desert were brilliant. Here is Jupiter, along with the Milky Way, over the Sierra crest:

(This was a 30 second time exposure, and I set the ISO to 3200. Apparently, with enough time, the camera can see colors in the Milky Way that are not ordinarily visible to the eye.) The next morning, we watched the sun come up over the White Mountains to the east and catch the Sierra to our west:

This is almost the same shot, edited in Lightroom (more than five years later):