One of my Favorite Ski Courses

The title probably seems a little misleading doesn’t it. Well in the Winter time back when i was skiing Mammoth on a daily basis one of my favorite runs was at Pine City. Pine city is an old mining town in the Lakes Basin which is in easy walk to and kinda fun place to visit if you’re in the area. In the Winter time the main road that goes through the town groomed for a cross country ski run as are all the runs in the Lakes Basin. It’s the start of the down hill portion which goes into Mine Shaft and Lucky Strike. In order to get to the top of this hill you have to go through Cold Water Campground, as the name states it is the frozen version of the popular summer camping destination. Too put things into perspective the family home in Mammoth sits at 8200ft, the top of Cold Water sits over 10000ft. It’s a big hill.

I don’t know what it was about this particular visit but something just made me work these smaller buildings. I believe they are both outhouses but they had character to them. Little shanties in the middle of the woods, i don’t know something just caught my eye. Now I know some of you might be saying, “Oh those have to be HDR’s he was in a forest.” Nope they aren’t. I originally thought that too, that I would need to take a bracketed set and go through my HDR process. But the range of dark’s and lights wasn’t great enough that i losing information and with the great features in ACR nowadays, it really wasn’t needed. It might my life real easy which I like.

In the Camera Bag:
Nikon D3, AF-S 24-70 f/2.8, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

I don’t have Sea Legs

During our walk around in the Lakes Basin we went to Lake George and found some great boats. Boats are a great foreground subject because they always tell a story even the aluminum fishing boats. Probably the best thing about living on a coast is having access to all the different boats. For us simple mountain folk we make do with fishing boats and canoes.

In the Camera Bag:
Nikon D3, AF-S 24-70 F/2.8, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

It was nice to be home

After three weeks of being on the road I’m finally back up in Bozeman. It was a great few weeks and I’m still getting through the work load. The best apart of the last few weeks is that i got to spend the majority of that time with the family. The house being Mammoth Lakes makes for a perfect place to rest between trips. I am very fortunate in the way. Well even with all the submissions, Dad and I still had to get out, once for a PT that he was doing and the other just because we could.

In Mammoth we have what’s called the Lakes Basin which is where tourists love to come to during the summer to fish and even more like to visit in the winter to ski. I personally have spent many hours up there doing both. It’s also one of the best places to go for a quick outing. With the right clouds anything is possible from great fall color to stunning black and whites. I think it’s safe to say which route i went with here.

This happens to be Lake Mary which is sorta the center of the Lakes Basin and the largest lake by far. I had an interesting time playing around with this scenario. The lake is a lot lower then usual and as a result more stumps, rocks and sandbars are visible. Some spots add more character to the scene while other spots really don’t. I put this example up for just that reason. Up top is a really wide shot, with that ugly tanish sandbar on the left. I liked going wide for this shot because of the ripples. I have no doubt that i am not the only person here who has had thought that. The problem is that sandbar, it just don’t work. A stump would be better, at least that can be removed. Even bringing down the tone of that spot won’t help. The best scenario was zooming in and getting a much tighter shot. No sandbar and a stronger composition as a result. The moral behind this story is when you are planning out your black and whites in the camera be very careful of that foreground. If it’s too bright the eye will get stuck there and never leave. Black and Whites are not nearly as forgiving due to the relationship between light and dark.

In the Camera Bag:
Nkkon D3, AF-S 24-70 f/2.8, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

Ahhh the Cheery fishing hole

One of last week’s adventures took us up to the familiar Lakes Basin, where i have spent many a time fishing and cross country skiing. There are multiple lakes up in the basin and one of the best for shooting has always been horseshoe. It is also one of the most challenging. Earlier this month i spent some time at that same lake photographing the clouds that were hanging around as well as a picnic bench; well this time had a much more ominous feeling.

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We were literally watching the storm move over the crest and then down over Mammoth Mountain. It was a black and white paradise with drama everywhere. It was also a particular challenge to the group to get into, myself included. You could say my mind was elsewhere…where’s the snow gotta ski, gotta ski! Sorry momentary lapse. The storm and the lake brought back good memories of skiing across the lake when it was frozen. Mom loved hearing that.

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Knowing that the sun would never set in the sense of giving us an actual warm toned sky, everything shot was in the mind frame of B&W. Well towards the end of the evening which was around 7:30, a small opening popped up and a light color came through. It wasn’t much but it gave a nice finally before the drama disappeared and we were left with grey.

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Images captured with D3, AF-S Nikkor 70-300 Vr, AF-S 24-70 f2.8, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

Enjoying the dead forest

When i heard the weather forecast for the next few days was going to be nothing but thunderstorms, i had but one thing to say, “AWESOME!” The thunderstorms here in the Sierra’s are just spectacular and produce some of the greatest images, provided would don’t mind the off chance for electrocution. Nah just kidding! That would only happen with the 600 out, or would it? With that in mind i went up to the Lakes Basin a little before noon and found some clouds to play with. Up at one of the lakes the trees have been killed by Co2 poisoning making them white. Well the trees maybe dead but they leave behind a great look when combined with the living trees, this can add a more interesting foreground and middle ground.

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Images captured with D3, AF-S Nikkor 24-70 f2.8, on Lexar UDMA digital Film

In the forest digging for gold

Yesterday was the first day of shooting for the Eastern Sierra Adventure, which is great cuz this is the first one i have been too. It is very interesting being here for this one than any other because it takes place in the backyard. All the locations are ones that i have seen for many years, some i have never photographed others i have. This one for instance is a place called Pine City, which i know very well from winter and skiing because there is a cross country course that goes along the old buildings. Of course the buildings are covered in snow at that point. I’m looking forward to the rest of this workshop to see what else will be uncovered.

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Image captured with D3, 24-70 AF-S VR, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

The Passion in our lives


Growing up in the mountains i have come to love the snow; ever since my brother pushed me into skiing when i was a kid, i just can’t get enough of it. Now I’m not prone to taking my cameras with me when i go out skiing but a couple weeks ago i was out and saw an image that i wanted to capture but it wasn’t the right light nor did i have my camera, so i waited for better conditions. Of course i picked a day when there was absolutely no clouds but that didn’t stop me. The area in the foreground is a parking lot in the summer but in the winter is a great frozen mass which works great for images. Unfortunately i left the house too late so the light was gone for the shot i wanted, o well that’s what tomorrow is for.

Images captured with D2Hs, 24-70 AF-S, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

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