Photographing the Eastern Sierra & Death Valley

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The eastern side of the Sierra Mountains near Bishop, California provides many opportunities for great landscape photographs. I have been there before, but I had some unfinished business there. It had been a slow year for snow in the mountains, but to my delight, there were some pretty good snowstorms in the mountains for several weeks before we arrived in mid-March. The photographs of the mountains just aren’t the same without it.

A primary target was the view of the mountains with the Owens River in the foreground. Yes, it’s been shot a million times, but it was still on my to-do list. There were no clouds in the morning, so the usual image at sunrise just wasn’t working, so I waited a few hours for them to appear. The rising sun also provided light, and color, for the vegetation surrounding the river. Sunrise is not always the only option.

estern sierra mountains behind owens rive
"River Reflection" - Click Photo To Purchase


During the day, I’m always out looking for something different to come back to at the right time. I was north of Bishop heading north on a small ridge road looking for mountain views not realizing a snowstorm was crossing the valley behind me. Luckily, I turned around and saw the storm. I quickly headed back to where there was a small canyon, ran out to a good view and captured this wonderful image of the storm crossing the valley.

storm over the eastern sierra desert
"Sierra Storm" - Click Photo To Purchase


After shooting the storm from the north, I headed immediately to a spot to the south of the storm I had picked out where the late sun would light up a group of trees. Knowing they would have the dark clouds behind them, I knew I had to get there.

bare tree in front of dark storm clouds
"Storm Colors" - Click Photo To Purchase



Next up was Death Valley. Having been there before, I had a good idea of what I wanted to accomplish. The last time I was there, I was not able to get up to Aguereberry Point due to road conditions. The roads were better this time and I wasn’t going to be denied. One afternoon trip to scout the shot followed by two sunrise trips to get a decent sky. Check this one off the list!

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sunrise at Aguereberry Point in Death Valley
"Desert Burst" - Click Photo To Purchase


The Mesquite Sand Dunes were a place I definitely wanted to return to and capture some better images. Last time I wasn’t prepared to shoot during high winds and sandstorms, but this time I was, equipped with ski goggles to cover my eyes. The winds clean the dunes of all previous footprints and provide wind streaks in the sand. There is also a softer look as a result of the blowing sand.

Shadows in sand dunes in Death Valley
"Sand Shadows" - Click Photo To Purchase


layers of sand dunes in sand storm in death valley
"Layers" - Click Photo To Purchase


Sandstorm at mesquite dunes in death valley
"Sandplosion" - Click Photo To Purchase


soft sand dunes in death valley
"Soft Desert" - Click Photo To Purchase


sand blowing on sand dunes in death valley
"Wind Streaks" - Click Photo To Purchase



It was a very successful expedition. Next up is an April trip to some unusual places in Arizona and Utah red rock country.

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