Immediately after my night on top of Clouds Rest a couple of friends and I made an impulsive decision to wake up at 4am to catch a sunrise at Mono Lake.
Mono Lake and its alien-looking calcium tufa structures have been on my bucket list for a while now. Mono Lake is a saline soda lake that formed over a million years ago, and contains 280 million tons of dissolved salts (it’s twice as salty as the ocean!)
We woke up around 4:00am in Mammoth then drove 30 minutes out to catch the sunrise. No intense hiking is required to make this visit. You simply drive up to the parking lot by the South Tufa reserve. Feed the parking meter machine $3.00 and then run down the boardwalk. Literally. I ran down the boardwalk with my tripod over my shoulder to find a good position to shoot the sunrise from. I knew that because of the Sierra Nevada’s weather conditions the sky would be clear, the colors would be naturally saturated, and that lake would reflect all that color.
While walking away from the lake I noticed that the colors from the sunrise casted a purple glow on the nearby mountains. It floored me to realize that the anthem was right. ♫ oh purple mountains majesty ♫
One word of caution though, see that chunk of solid, wet sand? Turns out it’s not so solid. While I trotting around looking for vantage points to photograph from my feet slowly started sinking downwards in that area. I’ve been stuck in quicksand before and have no intension of getting stuck again. Tread cautiously around these parts.
Equipment wise all my shots were taken on the Fujifilm XT-1 with a 10-24mm/4. Because I wanted a long exposure to “smooth” out the water I stopped my aperture down a lot and had to lock the camera down on a tripod.
Next time I go out on one of my trips I’ll probably be bringing my ND filter along in addition to adding a circular polarized to my arsenal.
MeFoto Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod
Vlog (for a more personal look):