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Author Topic: Eastern Sierra  (Read 3548 times)
gtal
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« on: August 22, 2004, 08:21:40 AM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']Curt,

Just to set the stage here - there's a lifetime's worth of sublime scenery in the area you describe. It's doubtful you will see even a fraction of it in one trip.
If it were me, I would drive through Death Valley and spend a couple of days there (some common photo spots are Zabriskie Point, Badwaterm the Racetrack, sand dunes etc.), then continue on to Lone Pine and spend some time around the Alabama Hills. If Whitney Portal road is open you may want to drive up for some great scenery. Next stop at Bishop, visit Galen Rowell's gallery (and don't miss Claude Fiddler's gallery as well - he may not be as well known as Rowell but his large format images are stunning). Next you may want to explore the ancient bristlecone forest, then proceed to chase some fall color which should hopefully be good in mid September. Some good spots are the June Lake loop, Lundy Canyon, Bishop Creek, Rock Creek canyon, etc.
It's not clear from your post whether you plan to do any long day hiking or backpacking. If so, you may want to head up to the high country as well.

Guy[/font]
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didger
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« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2004, 09:16:11 AM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']If you're not planning on any backpacking, you should visit Phil Kember's "Death Valley Gallery" in Lone Pine.  He's a purely large and ultra-large format guy that (obviously) doesn't do any backpacking.  He does a lot of Sierra stuff in addition to Death Valley, so he could tell you about locations you can drive to.

If you plan to include backpacking, my oh my, a book length reply would not be enough.  There's plenty of books available, however, to get you started.[/font]
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Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2004, 12:00:02 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']There are a lot of little roads leading up into the Sierras from the 395, virtually all with hiking trails at their ends - be sure to take at least one or two of them.  My favorite, mentioned by a couple of people already, is highway 168 leading into the mountains from Bishop, with branches to Lake Sabrina, South Lake, and North Lake - I think the most photogenic of the three is South Lake, and a great trail (to Bishop Pass, about 5 miles or so each way) leaves from there, with more little lakes along the way.

I also second the recommendation for Death Valley, and the one for the bristlecone pine forest in the White Mountains - not just for the trees, but for the sweeping vistas of the east wall of the Sierras (and yes, it really is a "wall").

Can't say much about camping, since I don't do it myself, but there are campgrounds scattered about in the region (maybe a web search will turn up info?).  There are also motels in the towns up & down the 395.

Lisa[/font]
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bobtowery
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« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2004, 03:12:19 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']Hi Curt:

It is a great area. I did a similar trip a couple of years ago, and published a story at another photo web site:

http://www.fredmiranda.com/A5_Bob_Towery/index.html

(I gave Michael first crack at publishing it but at the time it didn't seem to fit the profile.)



Ditto on the bakery recommendation. And Angels restaurant in the same town (Mammoth) - very good.

Enjoy! Bob Towery.[/font]
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Curt
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« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2004, 02:43:11 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']Thank you everyone!
A great wealth of information, where else could I get such info from photographers of similar interest.
Please keep it coming. I am printing all of it to carry along.[/font]
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howard smith
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« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2004, 05:36:23 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']Overwhelming?  You bet.  It actually drove me to giving up photography for a few years.  I realized I was walking about looking at the world through the view finder of a Nikon F.  I then spent several years wandering around, really enjoying the views.  When I rediscovered photography, I went back to some of my favorite spots.

I think the Mountain Light studio is still in Bishop.  A nice diversion.

I liked BBQ Bill's as well as Schat's.  It may have fallen victm to the tour bus though.  It used to be great.

Check locally for spots to walk a quarter mile or so for a picnic.  There are many and can be as close as the top of nearby rock outcropping.[/font]
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nickkk
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« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2004, 04:28:39 AM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']Stay away from Death Valley.  Torrential thunderstorms have wreaked havoc and ruined many of the parks roads.  It is indeed a sad day if you've seen any of the damage in/around Stovepipe Wells and know the area, I can only imagine what the rest of the park looks like.  Last I heard it was still closed and it's going to take a long while to fully recover.  Sept. is typically the hottest month in CA as well.

N.[/font]
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Curt
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« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2004, 07:38:04 AM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']My wife & I are flying from Pa. to Las Vegas in mid September. Than driving from LV to Bishop, Ca., Eastern Sierra. I am interested in all photo opportunities along the route. The area is known to me only from viewing photos over the years. Would like to visit Rowell's Mt Light Gallery in Bishop, Alabama Hills, & any Sierra hiking which will yield photos. We will be camping & so any campground info would be helpful. Thanks![/font]
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Jens Peermann
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« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2004, 08:52:08 AM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']Curt,

Mid September might be a little bit early for fall colors, but it's not impossible. The best spot is actually just west of Bishop, the Sabrina Basin. The road there starts right at the Mountain Light Gallery and leads 14 miles up to three lakes surrounded by thick forests of aspen trees. At an elevation of 9000 feet it is one of the earliest spots to turn colors. And the scenery is Sierra deluxe.

Fairly up-to-date information about Sierra fall colors can be found at this site.

Hope this helps.[/font]
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Jack Flesher
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« Reply #9 on: August 22, 2004, 11:29:44 AM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']The above replies have covered the are very well.  To put it in perspective, you could easily spend an entire week in Death Valley alone, and another week in Lone Pine/Bishop, and another week in Lee Vining/June Lakes/Mono Lake area.

All I can add is that if you happen to have the time and get a bit farther North on 395, you can photograph Devil's postpile and the crater just outside of Mamouth, and just another hour or so North and you're at Mono Lake. (If you can only do one, do Mono Lake, IMO.)  1/2 hour up the hill from Mono Lake on hiway 120 and you're in the Yosemite high country, Ellery lake, etc.  

As noted, late September is early for fall color -- usually the second or third week in October is peak.  However, this year appears as though the color may come a few weeks early -- and while the high country around Sabrina basin is the firs to turn, you may have the beginnings of color along the June Lake Loop.

Cheers,
Jack[/font]
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Paul Sumi
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« Reply #10 on: August 22, 2004, 04:59:51 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']Here's a website which may be useful:

http://www.395.com/

It has information on locations, campgrounds, etc.

A couple of "environmental" notes, if this is your first visit to the eastern Sierra.

First, even on the Owens Valley floor, you will be at around 4000 feet above sea level, and some places mentioned like North Lake, Sabrina, etc are several thousand feet above that. So be prepared to take it easy until you get acclimated to the altitude.

Weather in the eastern Sierra can be very active. You may encounter wind, rain, lightning and, at higher altitudes, snow.  This can make for spectacular photographs, but be prepared! Days might still be warm, but nights can be chilly.

A final note: you HAVE to stop in at Schat's Bakery in Bishop. The Sheepherder bread is their signature.[/font]
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Jens Peermann
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« Reply #11 on: August 23, 2004, 06:49:23 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']Curt,

You may have to change your itinerary. Death Valley is currently closed because of damage from flooding. You may want to monitor this site to find out if DV will reopen in time for your trip.[/font]
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pfigen
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« Reply #12 on: August 24, 2004, 08:39:59 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']If DV is open when you come out west, and you're coming in from LV, I love the road through Titus Canyon. It's about a 35 mile one way dirt road that takes your through parts of DV that most people never see and dumps you out on the main highway in the valley.

Great campground at Lundy Canyon just north of Lee Vining. Great hiking from the end of the road up Lundy. You can keep my old GPS if you find it. It's up there somewhere.

Upper Rock Creek Road has great color and hiking at the top. It's also the highest paved road in California with the parking lot at about 10,200.

All the locals will tell you the best fall color is almost always the second week in October, but it depends on the year and the elevation.

Don't forget the Jungle Juice this year.[/font]
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Gellman
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« Reply #13 on: August 26, 2004, 05:12:20 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']Curt, you didn't say in your posts how much time you have to spend on your trip. I would suggest that you consider hiring an experienced photographic guide for a day or two. A good guide can put you in the right place at the right time so you don't spend your limited time looking for places to shoot. I made a similar trip a couple years ago, and the guide I hired made all the difference.

The scenery is so overwhelming that I think it can be an impediment to the first time visitor. You have to fight the tendency to look around, say "Wow!" and shoot postcards. An experienced guide can help you stay focused as well as lead you to spots you would never find on your own.

Some of the people who post on this board could probably offer some excellent referrals. Or you could call some of the galleries previously mentioned and ask for suggestions.

Best of luck to you and your wife on your trip.

John[/font]
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Paul Sumi
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« Reply #14 on: August 26, 2004, 08:06:30 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']
Quote
I liked BBQ Bill's as well as Schat's. It may have fallen victm to the tour bus though. It used to be great.
Alas, Schat's has fallen to the bus tour hordes, so it pays to get there early. There's a nice park across the road at which to nosh.

As long as we're on the topic of Bishop favorites, there is also Smoked Meats, which makes awesome mahogany-smoked jerky and other smoked meats, poultry and fish. It's roadside on the north end of town.

Schat's:

http://www.erickschatsbakery.com/

Smoked Meats:

http://store.smokedmeats.com/index.html

Mountain Light:

http://mountainlight.com/index.html[/font]
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