Pond Reflecting Mount Hooper
full print size of 29.6x37.6 inches @304.8ppi, above displayed at 1/178
Copyright © David Senesac 2004 view detailed crop
John Muir Wilderness, Sierra National Forest, Fresno County
mid morning Thursday July 22, 2004, slide 04-P-22
Wisner 4x5 Expedition, 90mm Rodenstock, Gitzo G1325 Mk2
Tango Drum scanned Fuji Provia 100F 4x5 film to 300mb RGB file
Adobe Photoshop 6.0 processed for accurate image fidelity
Lightjet5000 printed on Fuji Crystal Archive paper
signature bottom right
Some of the best reflections of mountain peaks are often made from small ponds instead of lakes. One reason is because with lakes the opposite shores are often at a considerable distance thus reducing features to uninterestingly small sizes. Reflections in quiet glassy waters make better images than with wavy waters. Small ponds are apt to be calmer as waves cannot become sizeable over short distances and when they do form also die out faster when breezes wane. The Sierra Nevada has several thousand lakes, most of them at or above timberline, because that is where the many depressions left in bedrock from glacial scouring have had the least opportunity to fill in from sedimentation. This pond is near large Marie Lake elevation 10,568 feet within the Bear Creek drainage.
This view is west by southwest. In the background at center a bit less than two miles distant, pyramidal Mount Hooper at 12,349 feet reflects in these glassy mirroring waters. Note the few fluted avalanche chutes on this eastern exposure below the summit. At frame left is part of what I've dubbed Amphitheatre Cirque because of its exceptional shape. Cirques are bowl shaped terrain formations most often found on the shadowy north facing exposures of alpine peaks and ridgelines. Upper walls of cirques are frequently cliff like. These are 400 to 500 feet and near sheer. Note the considerable talus below those cliffs with small snowfields at the cliff bases. During winter, wind blown snow drifting over the rim accumulates deepest there. Most geology in this view is igneous rock, specifically granite. Granite is the most common rock of the Sierra Nevada, here formed far beneath our continent's edges about 140 million years ago. However below the peaks is a band of darker metamorphic rock also well over 100 million years old. In places that rock has a rust color where iron rich minerals are leaching out. Terrain below peaks tends to be smooth due to enormous glaciers scouring this landscape during the many glacial periods of the last million years.
The last period ended about 10,000 years ago, geological very recent.
Note a sepia coloration on the foreground granite rock due to dried organic residues from considerable tiny life in summer pond water. Lighter lines on rock at the water line are ever-present pine pollen. The different lines represent different levels of the lake earlier in summer when during windy days pollen was blown onto the surface then floated up against the rock. There is also another species of tiny green grass growing on the shallow muddy pond bottom that can be seen in the frame's bottom edge waters. Trees in this scene are a mix of whitebark pines, pinus albicaulis, with a few lodgepole pines, pinus murrayana. Whitebarks up on Amphitheatre Cirque's shoulder are all stunted due to pruning avalanches and winds that break any limbs sticking out above the mean snow level. Across the pond a few small reddish flowers of mountain heather, phyllodoce breweri, show on the bushy plants growing against rock. On the top surfaces of nearby granite, black patches of lichen provide the scene's most ancient life forms.
When composing the frame, I positioned my tripod so the skyline peak reflection was a bit away from pond rock and grass. I liked the naked branches of the one dead tree mid right frame so positioned its reflection in an open spot. In the foreground I wanted just a wee bit of grass to show at frame bottom so raised my tripod high enough to include just a few blades instead of the considerable amount unseen below this frame. Better to not detract from the rest of the image while adding something with fine detail. Careful focusing takes precise effort with a view camera, but I have learned to do so quickly. Within a few minutes of taking the image breezes began curtailing further morning work