Tomorrow morning I head up and over the Sierra crest and down US 395 in the shadow of the precipitous Eastern Sierra. Under-appreciated by tourists, the Eastern Sierra is no secret to photographers. It’s no surprise that Eastern Sierra fall color photo workshop, which starts Monday, has been among my most popular workshops since I started offering it nearly ten years ago.
The fall color on the other side of the “hills” is a particular highlight, but it’s by no means all we’ll photograph—of all the locations I visit, the Eastern Sierra by far offers the greatest variety of subjects. Check this out:
An Eastern Sierra workshop favorite each year is our trip to the bristlecone pine forest in the White Mountains, east of Bishop. Because it’s an hour drive back to civilization, and we leave dark-and-early for sunrise the next morning, I’ve never kept the group up there after sunset to do a night shoot. But last year I decided to give everyone the option of waiting for the stars—my plan was to make it optional, letting all who didn’t want to stay return to the hotel for a reasonable dinner and lights-out time. But no one opted out, and we had so much fun, and got such great images, that I’ve decided to make it a regular part of the workshop.
About this image
Eight years ago I was in California’s White Mountains with Don Smith and a couple of other photographer friends. On a chilly autumn evening we photographed sunset among the bristlecones, then stayed out past dark to photograph these photograph these amazing trees, (at over 4,000 years, among the oldest living things on earth) beneath the stars.
The others did some light painting, but I waited until the flashlights were dowsed to capture the silhouette of this magnificent tree against the celestial canvas. This was my first serious attempt at star trail photography, and after the success I had that night I was instantly hooked.
<< Read more in my Starlight photo tips article >>
As happy as I was with my results that night, nothing will compare to the experience of reclining with friends beneath a sky filled with more stars than I imagined possible, sometimes laughing and trading stories, and other times simply basking in impossible silence.
A sample of the Eastern Sierra’s varied beauty
Click an image for a closer look, and a slide show. Refresh the screen to reorder the display.