11 August 2014

Mono Lake in 360° Panorama

Those that know me know that my favorite getaway in California is to hit the road and get on the US 395 -- specifically, the segment that crosses the Mojave Desert and Owens Valley and then passes east of the Sierra Nevada mountain range all the way on to Carson City.

I love everything about the 395 from soaking in hot springs to camping in the fresh mountain air. But two of my most favorite places are Black Sheep Coffee Roasters in Bishop and the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest located in the White Mountains just 15 miles to the east of Bishop where it is claimed that some specimens of the Great Basin Bristlecone Pine (Pinus longaeva) are the oldest recorded living organisms on earth.

Another cool thing to do on the 395 happens in the summer. It's a mashup of two events called the Mammoth Festival of Beers and Bluesapalooza. The former is a grand tasting of the best craft beers in the country and the latter a showcase of the best blues acts in the United States.

So I hop in the car, and I'm cruising up the 395 with a friend. We find a killer spot to pitch a tent at McGee Creek Campground and discover an excellent caffeination station that's just a three-minute drive between our campsite and the highway called the East Side Bake Shop.

You'd think we be jammin' in the Sierra Nevadas except there was a slight problem.

Only a week before we set off on our adventure the French Fire wildfire ignited in the Sierra National Forest due to an abandoned campfire near the Rock Creek Campground.

The fire was still uncontained by the time as we wended our way on the 395 through the Owens Valley and while you couldn't see any flames, you could certainly smell the smoke in the air and see it hazing up the mountain views.

Smoke is bad for those with cardiovascular or respiratory conditions, and I was sensitive to it myself.  However, it magically filtered the sunlight into many pretty colors, just like a scene from a Ridley Scott film, and, therefore, made for good picture panos!

These panos were shot using my usual camera rig, but also with my new Bushman-Panoramic Monopole that was extended to a length of about 10'. While this was an excellent opportunity to learn and practice how to use the pole -- especially when I had my own personal assistant -- I'm not sure the height of the camera enhances the "wow" factor in these particular images.

I mean, in photographing the beauty of nature, I don't think it required any special equipment. I just needed to be present and open myself up to the experience.

John Muir pretty much summed up my experience in taking these images like this, "How glorious a greeting the sun gives the mountains!"

So true, Mr. Muir. So true.

1 comment:

Hannes Aigner said...

Wonderful photos - brilliant idea with the Bushman-Monopole!
What camera do you use and how do you do that?