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NEXT:  Page 8   Humphreys Basin Backpack
2018 Trip Chronicles:    Contents

Carson Pass 6/23
Forestdale Creek basin 7/9
Carson Pass 7/10
Carson Pass 7/11
Carson Pass 7/12

2018 Trip Chronicles:  Page 7

Carson Pass 6/23

After completing the 5 day backpack into Desolation Wilderness, I had driven south on SR89 and then west on SR88 to overnight on an obscure 4WD dirt road that goes up to Crater Lake in Toiyabe National Forest. As sunrise rose on Saturday June 23, 2018, I got up and out of the Forester, prepped gear, and then drove west on SR88 over Carson Pass and down to the sunny open south facing slopes in the Woods Creek drainage just east of Caples Lake reservoir at 8080 feet. As I observed on my drive in on Monday June 18, wildflower conditions were still at about peak with landscapes delightfully green. With sunny skies and just a slight intermittent breeze, I wasted no time getting up on the slopes that were absolutely covered with myriad flowers of quite a list of species.

The slopes as well as much of the region is upper Miocene epoch, Mehrten Formation volcanic geology that is roughly 4 to 7 million years old, with andesitic conglomerates, welded tuffs, lava flows, and lahars. Its dirt brown to dark surfaces are rock hard with much loose small rock that makes walking on steeper slopes hazardous as one slips about on the loose and crumbling ball bearing like loose material. However the rich minerals are a boon to plant growth and thus wildflowers. The area of the Upper Truckee above Meiss Lake south into the Woods Creek basin to Winnemucca Lake may well hold the most impressive zone of timberline elevation wildflowers in the range that the below images are a fair argument for though my input herein barely touches what it contains. The southern orientation of the slope allows shooting early morning in all directions including towards the snowy aesthetic north facing slopes of Round Top.

Link to acme.mapper Topographic map at Carson Pass.


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My first subject was a close-up of flowers of a monument plant, aka giant green gentian, aka deer's tongue, swertia radiata, one of the range's most impressive looking species. The generally olive greenish flowers don't however grab one's attention from a distance but rather its tall towering form with a large hollow tube surrounded by its short leaves and flowers. But then close up, the large 1 to 2 inch flowers with purple spots, pink hairs, and yellow anthers show amazing details per above image. With sun starting to shine on the landscape, I used my 32 inch collapsible circular diffusion disk to soften light while getting close with my Sigma 60mm DN lens plus a 10mm extension tube.


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Next about 50 yards north of the highway beyond a blocking row of aspen trees was the above open sloping plain dominated by the large yellow flowers of mule ears, wyethia mollis, and less common arrowhead balsamwood, balsamorhiza sagittata. Both species appear similar from a distance however the latter has distinctive somewhat greener hued arrowhead shaped leaves while the former leaves are a grayer green with long broad leaves. Both species large leaves are wonderfully soft with white hairs. The latter's flowers are also more numerous on each plant and a bit brighter yellow with either species flowers rather fragrant. The balsamwood fragrance is distinctively pleasant per its name. Looking at the foreground via the enlarged vertical slice view one will also see many white hued Parish's yampah, perideridia parishii, above myriad small pink hued Bridge's gilia, gilia leptalea, belly flowers covering the dirt brown rocky surfaces. A key sign one is visiting these slopes at peak is to see these gilia as they do not last but a few days given their bright sunny exposure and shallow soil substrate atop the igneous bedrock. Mixed in with the gilia are many small fragrant glassy pink hued Sierra onion and light yellow hued pretty face.


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Higher up on the slope I pointed my lens south towards snowy north facing Round Top, at 10381 feet, at mid frame left, with The Sisters to its right. Popular Winnemucca Lake resides just below the former peak and Round Top Lake below the latter. At mid frame right is triangular Black Butte. In the foreground are striking dark purple Anderson's larkspur, delphimium andersonii, a small white species I have not identified, pretty face, yampah, and gilia. Note how the height of many of these herbs are short as these plants have evolved to inhabit quite shallow soil atop the firmer bedrock. Where soils are a bit deeper the taller mule ears take root. With these normally mostly barren dry brown slopes with scattered sagebrush now green and background peak holding some snow, it was also the perfect combination for best aesthetics.


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About 700 feet above the highway I reached this bright dense patch of water loving ubiquetous, common monkeyflower, mimulus gutattus, that dominates a seep spring flowing out of the volcanic rock. A patch of willow with a monument plant sticking up within is at frame right in a seasonal ravine channel that still held a small flow all the way to the highway. Note at these higher areas closer to the ridge tops, the landscape has more vegetation due to its greater precipitation. Looking at the enlarged vertical slice view, above the monkeyflowers are white hued dirty socks aka bistort, polygonum bistortoides, among lusher native grasses.


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A couple hours later after rambling about on the slopes, despite a growing breeze, I managed to shoot this slope dropping into a seasonal stream ravine with wavy-leaved paintbrush, castellija applegatei, and one of the silver lupine, lupinus argenteus, sub species very commonly mixed in with the mule ears. At mid frame left edge note the clump of arrowhead balsamroot with its more numerous yellow flowers versus all the mule ears. It is these abrupt stream ravines on the landscape that are difficult to cross as the crumbly rock surfaces are unstable footing. Additionally note the big sagebrush, artemisia tridentata, between the two foreground boulders. This is the dominant evergreen plant of the xeric Great Basin and is common at all but highest elevations of the eastern Sierra Nevada. During this peak period of herb flowering, it is the one shrub that makes travel over such terrain somewhat tedious as the sturdy woody branches regularly snag at one's footing especially in areas where other temporary herbs are taller hiding these tough plants below. Trees above frame left are all lodgepole pines with willow in the ravine that still had flowing water, and Sierra juniper on the east side. With the afternoon breeze increasing, upon reaching the highway, I didn't waste any more time driving back west home ending a successful 6 day trip.


Forestdale Creek basin 7/9

Over the following 2 weeks back in the San Francisco Bay Area, I went to 3 rock concerts plus a July 4th fireworks event. And it takes days to process the kind of images I post on these pages along with writing the html code for, so was also on my computer for long hours some days. By the end of the weekend following the holiday, I was packed up and ready to go back out as weather forecasts showed a calmer window after several days of strong breezes ending Monday. Thus on Monday July 9, 2018 made the 4 hour drive east and up into the Sierra Nevada on SR88. At the location east of Caples Lake I had worked on June 23 above, noted those sun baked dry slopes had few remaining flowers. Mid afternoon beyond Carson Pass I parked along the dirt Forestdale Creek road before a nasty 4WD high wheelbase only section where it begins climbing up Forestdale Divide. There with breezes too strong for wildflower subjects, I spent a few mid to late afternoon hours exploring a zone I had looked at on Google Earth.

After that drove back over the pass and parked on a dirt road off the Woods Lake paved campground road to disperse car camp overnight. I noted only one other group was parked disperse camping along the forest service dirt road while several dozen were down the paved road at the official Woods Lake public campground. That is because the majority of visitors don't understand policies of dispersed camping on public lands, especially where one may legally do so and where one cannot. None of our national forests or bureau of land management offices openly publicize that information but rather a person must directly ask for such, upon which they are likely to smile and grab information sheets under their counter. That is because many visitors do not have knowledge or experience to do so properly, especially how to safely make campfires. Though note I rarely make wood fires but rather use a backpacking stove and am not one to sit around campfires during evenings but rather retire to sleep at dusk as I tend to rise early at dawn. During the hike, I'd somehow managed to lose my Carson Pass 7.5' USGS topo map, something I am very keen about never doing. But every few years it does happen given so much hiking I do usually with maps in pockets, in plastic sleeves on a string, or close at hand. Thus went into the Carson Pass USFS kiosk and used my moto g smartphone camera to take pictures of their map I would be using the rest of the week.


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Upper Truckee River pass 7/10

mule ears

Tuesday dawn July 10, 2018 was up, soon packed up, then drove off and parked at the lower west Carson Pass parking lot that requires a $5 fee into their self payment pay station box for use. Well except if one is a senior like this person with a $10 lifetime Senior Pass that is then free. As sunshine began hitting the nearby peaks, I set off north on the big Pacific Crest Trail. Several other thru-hiker groups that had been tented along the trail at the pass were soon on their way north too passing me quickly. I was surprised how much greener the vegetation was on the trail section that passes through aspen groves below the south side of the Upper Truckee River pass. A slight east breeze was wobbling quaking aspen tree leaves along the trail enough that I knew stopping for close-up subjects could be frustrating waiting for lulls. But with only the tree tops yet in sun, it was a chance to capture something with less harsh diffuse light. My experienced visual right brain from decades of photography has the ability to instantly notice good aesthetics at a glance before I understand with my analytical left brain hemisphere why something looked good. Hiking along trails and routes, my eyes are continually scanning near landscapes.

Coming upon the above row of mule ears, wyethia mollis, against an even background of aspen leaves, I had that feeling that I was looking at something very nice and indeed this turned out very nice despite only managing to get 4 frames in as the slight breeze was rather troublesome. Ideally would have focused on the grayish boulder behind the aspen leaves but eventually gave up in order to reach the top of the pass early. And was surprised upon post processing how little that background lack of focus affected the aesthetics.


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And then a bit further along the trail saw the above strong subject so again spent a few minutes getting a set of shots in. In the foreground of the above image is great red paintbrush, castellija miniata, and luckily given breeze blocking trees, managed to get 15 shots off during a couple minutes with reasonable still air. The species has considerable variation of color and this particular plant was a less common wonderful rose pink. There are a list of paintbrush species with leaves a key necessary for identification and these leaves were distinctively narrow leaves with smooth edges and an acute tip of this most common species. Complementing the frame were some mule ears, silver lupine, and bunch grass plus further back an aspen trunk, big sagebrush, and red hued paintbrush. Where the landscape opens up beyond the trees before the pass to sunny south facing slopes, vegetation was nearly as dry as I had seen roadside 600 feet lower. But at the pass all that changes as I reached the pond on the topo.


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From the parking lot to the pass is about a mile with 300 feet of uphill climbing. At the pass I found the pond nicely calm with the growing edge of sunshine just moving past the right edge in the above image. Thus set up the above 4 column stitch blend with my 60mm lens for a bisymmetrical reflection. The outlet south side of the shallow pond is a mass of willows with water grasses along the lake edge. Note a different grass species show leaves floating horizontally atop the pond waters. I'll guess late season the shallow pond often dries up and is not a drinking water source one ought use without filtering or iodine tablets. That noted, there were wonderfully clear cold water streamlets at this time of year from still melting patches of snow higher up on slopes including two further north along the trail where it drops down to the Upper Truckee River. I can usually predict where such streams will be throughout summers by simply analyzing topographic and geological maps before trips as steeper north facing slopes hold later melting snows longer and certain types of terrain and geologies are likely to release water more slowly than others. This view looks north with some peaks west of Lake Tahoe in the distant background. Another lens of grasses is across the pond backed by more willows and some lodgepole pines at mid ground. Most of the landscape is barren as it is a very windy location especially during winter that has left many of these ridge tops without any trees. It was a lucky uncommon morning for photographing purposes to be at the pass with such light breezes. Note the small patch of snow that was not going to last much longer. Just out of the frame at right was a couple eating breakfast in front of their tent.


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Next I moved to the north side of the pond to take the above 5 column 15100 pixel wide stitch blend shot looking south. On the far side of the pond, one can see the grass at pond edge and willows I mentioned above where I had just been tripoded. Shaded at frame left 1.8 miles distance is Elephants Back that I would be visiting on the following two days. And at frame center Round Top with The Sisters mid right. Elephants Back is a smooth shaped Miocene epoch lava dome of stratified cobble breccia conglomerate atop the Sierra Crest.


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Continuing north, I noticed the best lupine and mule ears were at the base of the east side of the saddle plateau so ventured off the big trail to work a few subjects including the above southward. One can see the pond at mid frame right including the noted couple at their tent.The lupine species are the lighter saturated silver lupine, lupinus argenteus that is the most common lupine species on open slopes in the region. Most of the geology in the distance below the darker volcanic geology peaks is glaciated granite.


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This next image was closer to the PCT where I caught the noted couple that had been camped at the pond, making their way north. Look at the center slice of the enlarged vertical slice view. I gave them a business card and will give them a free picture if they bother to send me an email. In the image foreground are the large flowers of western blue flag iris, iris missouriencis. And somewhat overwhelmed by the taller iris at frame bottom edge are reddish hued old man's whiskers, geum triflorum, flowers. A Cannon G10 close-up from 2009 shows what those flowers look like close up. In the enlarged vertical slice view right slice, the small yellow flowers are cinquefoil.


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With the sun rising to higher altitudes in the sky, I began to shoot some backlit flowers that bring out more intense glowing translucent color. One needs to be careful as that also makes everything else more contrasty adding considerable bright harsh white highlights reflecting off plant surfaces including the myriad hairs on the mule ear leaves. Of course, one must also block the sun from entering lens glass as well as possible. The sun in the above image with lens pointed eastward was above the peak at frame right. Note how the white petals of backlit silver lupine glow strongly.


It was now 9:15am and a breeze was developing, reducing what subjects were possible. Besides a regular flow of northbound PCT thru hikers, groups of day hikers often with excited dogs and even a few women equestrians began to appear, the majority of which predictable only get on trails mid to late morning after more aesthetic landscape light is long gone. East of the PCT trail, I found the colorful image at page top. The striking rose red flowers are scarlet gilia, ipomopsis aggregatta. From this point on with the bright sun rising to harsh altitudes I would not be looking to take photos but rather scouting unknown areas for the future. As one reaches the north brink of the summit pass meadows, there are views of Lake Tahoe in the distance. I continued north on a bench 200 feet higher than the trail then made my way down a steep highly vegetated volcanic slope to areas well east of the PCT and west of Red Lake Peak. Jungle-like plant growth was dense, knee to waist high with quite a bit of sagebrush below I often stumbled on pushing my way through. It was guarded from access by the heavily traveled PCT by a wide seep marsh flat with dense areas of willow.


Although a mere 2 miles north of highway SR88, I doubt many ever venture into the area. The slopes above at least through July will usually provide good stream flows off Red Lake Peak above at 10063 feet as a water resource, so is an interesting place to backpack into for those seeking solitude without backpacking in far. Throughout the range with a bit of map analysis, I find utterly ignored worthwhile places at short distances from trailheads or roads that could be backpacked into as short weekend one or two night trips. Of course the majority of backpacking groups only camp at lakes or right along trails where streams cross as siting within reasonable distances of a water source is certainly important. However there are many more seasonal streams not on topographic maps that only flow for a period during a after snow is melting. Knowing when such streams flow just requires some common sense and familiarity with where snow is still melting. For example in this area are also superb locations to camp on the open ridge line west of the pass towards Little Round Top. Snows at the north facing lee sides of those ridge lines provide little streamlets through the current period. Great views north towards Tahoe or south towards Round Top. Just check weather forecasts for days with lighter breezes and no thunderstorms that is easy in this Internet era.

Circling back through the seep marsh flat was awkward. As I crossed the small stream Upper Truckee River, I noticed good numbers of pan sized rainbow trout in these headwaters. However, it is a zero trout limit, barbless hook only regulation zone, so not a place for a frying pan. By time I had returned to my car, I had logged about 8 miles, was quite weary, and had managed to re-tweak an old right knee loose cartilage problem. With the usual afternoon up canyon breeze blowing, I would not be doing any more photography this Tuesday. Down at nearby Caples Lake reservoir dam, took a refreshing dip in the 100% full waters then visited nearby Caples Lake Resort store for an ice cream. By late afternoon had set up for another night off the Woods Lake road.


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Elephants Back 7/11

After talking during the afternoon with a person at the Carson Pass forest service building, I had decided to next work areas on the trail to Winnemucca Lake. A zone I've hiked and backpacked into several times over the years but not during the recent decade. With my knee questionable and in any case wildflowers at peak right where I already was, had also decided not to drive north to Tahoe for a short 2 night backpacking trip into Desolation Wilderness. Thus as the dawn broke on Wednesday July 11, 2018 was on my way back to the east side of the Carson Pass fee parking lot where a short paved spur road offers vehicle shade during the day. Just before the sun rose I was making my way around on the heavily used trail to Frog Lake that is about 1 mile with 300 feet of vertical rise through a lodgepole pine forest with an abundance of western asters below. It took about 40 minutes to reach the lake where I noted enough of an early east breeze that spelled trouble for my day's work. I was somewhat surprised the loose cartilage issue had recovered overnight as much as it did because the rest of the day, that was barely noticeable rambling over all manner of usual awkward terrain.

Continuing south into seep areas of the Mehrten Formation lava dome of Elephants Back, I vectored off trail into some of the usually densest areas of wildflowers one finds in the range. There with the east breeze blocked by the tall formation, I stopped to work in still shadowed early skylight, the above image of waist deep broadleaf lupine, lupinus polyphyllus, that has deep blue purple flower saturation, mountain bluebells, mertensia ciliata, and at frame center red/yellow hued crimson columbine, aquilegia formosa. At frame bottom are also gone to seed Sierra for-get-me-nots and near center frame yet to bloom large leaves of corn lily.


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With sun now across landscapes, I climbed up 150 feet above the trail to more open slopes directly west of the base of Elephants Back where its later melting snow fields left fresher wildflowers than were down by the trail. The breeze quickly increased indicating this would be a typical day where I would work few subjects and those I did would more likely be sheltered from the wind and low to the ground. Thus below a boulder found the above patch of what I believe may be Sierra fleabane, erigeron algidus, with spreading phlox, phlox diffusa.


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South of the area is a little visited granite basin with small stream meadows during the summer snowmelt. There worked the above pleasant meadow stream subject. By late August this same location is likely to show unaesthetic brown dried grass with little or no water. Although most visitors have little concern when they visit or hike in mountains, being a photographer over years over decades tends to focus one's visits to when landscapes and aesthetics are best and that of course also makes for more pleasant, wonderful experiences.


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I saw a great many wildflower subjects that I only looked at given the plant shaking winds preventing reasonable camera capture, so instead explored areas. I'm already intent on returning during the bloom period next summer to better work this exceptional zone and will most likely do so by backpacking base camping. However, I did manage this uncommon Clokey's fleabane, erigeron clokeyi, growing atop granite. The species is common in the area, usually with several flower heads. Another interesting related species usually growing nearby has just one to few flowers with deeper saturation that I identified as pygmy fleabane. And then there are at least two other species of taller aster like flowers with one abundant below lodgepole areas that no longer represents what are found in wildflower guide books. With many plants undergoing new DNA analysis, there is considerable turmoil today with plant identifications though it will eventually get straightened out to be more accurate.


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Early afternoon on my return to the trailhead, I stopped and managed to capture the above landscape sunny sagebrush slope while breezes waned a bit. Although the light here is harsh, it is an example of many colorful intimate landscapes I walked passed that would capture much better in diffuse mid day cloud light thus a reason I expect to return. The pink species are scarlet gilia, ipomopsis aggregatta, that are often red. The yellow hued composites at frame bottom are woolly sunflower, eriophyllum lanatum, and a bit to frame right, a yellow hued alpine paintbrush, castilleja nana.

I stopped for a rest at Frog Lake and was joined by a couple of mom's with their young kids and a playful dog. The trail from the pass to Winnemucca Lake at this time of summer given all its wildflowers probably has the highest ratio of female to male hikers in the range. Back at the trailhead, I drove west down to Caples Lake for another post hike refreshing dip then again to the nearby resort for another ice cream. Also quick lake dunked 3 sweaty t-shirts and my socks. After that, decided to overnight at the sloping end lot on the short paved road just east of the pass that also allowed hanging the clothes out in the late pm sun and breeze to dry, which they did. That is an easy off highway spot to disperse car camp where one can get out of one's vehicle on clean pavement instead of dirt. It is a nice view too eastward down to Red Lake. On my MSR stove, I quickly cooked up some Progresso chicken corn chowder soup and retired early at sunset for a nice long night of sleep.


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Elephants Back 7/12

With dawn rising on Thursday July 12, 2018, I was out preparing for a second day working the Elephants Back area. After parking a bit along the paved road below shading pines, was again on my way south along the dusty wide Frog Lake trail that looks a lot like the heavily trod Glen Aulin trail south from Tuolumne Meadows. After passing Frog Lake, the trail climbs a bit, passes the PCT junction that climbs to the Sierra Crest just north of Elephants Back, and then enters a superb area of sagebrush environment wildflower species. Skies had some Mexican monsoon clouds drifting in from the Great Basin to the east with the breeze nicely light much like on Tuesday. Not far along with the tall Elephants Back still blocking early morning sun, saw the above bright dense patch of woolly sunflower, eriophyllum lanatum, that with my 60mm lens and 10mm extension tube was able to capture the above flower filling frame close-up.


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Next, I wandered above the trail through sagebrush looking for a good alpine paintbrush, castilleja nana, subject settling on the above group that also has a few phlox flowers behind its leaves. There are some other pastel color shades of this species that I looked for including some of wonderful yellow that I did not find while breezes were light.

The process of focus stacking images that I use is not something a photographer will find a tutorial on elsewhere searching the web. There is a fair amount of information for macro enthusiasts, however I've never used much of what they do as I don't image at large magnifications those that say photograph tiny insects do. I will note some things herein just to let others understand the scale of skill necessary. For all my work, I create a 30 column exif Excel sheet of A6000 camera parameters using a long command prompt command that I figured out in 2014 after studying the exiftool dot com site and playing around with what the various terse hardly documented parameters do. And note there are many more than just 30 with many somewhat redundant so the task was to whittle down those parameters for unique useful information. Thus after each field trip dump my image files into a unique folder on my very organized desktop hard drive and then run the noted command on the folder that creates with a little additional massaging something I copy into a standardized Excel sheet.

For instance just for this day of July 12, 2018, its sheet has 448 rows of image file entries. While viewing an image folder with Adobe Bridge, I then use Excel color fill tools to highlight groups of images that need to be focus stacked as a group and also groups of image groups that need to subsequently be stitch blended. For each focus stack group, I may sort the images for focus distances and aperture settings that then make work in Zerene Stacker more understandable when choosing sharpest area selections from layers during editing. And will delete files with same focus distances both to save drive space and to reduce ZS complexity. But the above is just half of all this. There is much more, a reason not many others for several years until processes are better documented, will be able to take these kind of images. And that serves to differentiate my own work from the myriad others. This next image below took me about 6 hours to process because of breeze caused mis-registrations while similar images like the above shot with still air only about a half hour. For the above image taken from 21 separate A6000 single shot AF flexible spot shots, ZS blended then processed shots, a few were shot at F16, most at F11, and some at F5.6 with this latter aperture the sharpest for my Sigma F2.8 60mm DN lens according to the opticallimits dot com test site. If after all the blending, any section of primary subjects does not have good focus, the whole image may be unusable. And in fact a modest number of images I tried to capture so are not usable though the usual reason is not my selection of focus points or apertures but rather too much mis-registration due to movement that would require too much editing effort and time to fix.


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A bit further south on the trail one enters jungle like wildflower growth with vegetation at waist to chest height. Right at the edge of the trail I stopped when I saw the above wonderful subject. Of the hundreds of people passing by, it was obvious I was the only one to work it as I needed to bend a few for-get-me-not stems in front of it out of the way temporarily for a clear view. These seep loving species are wavy-leaved paintbrush, castilleja applegatei, and broadleaf lupine, lupinus polyphyllus plus the one yampah. Note the wavy leaf edges of the paintbrush. As the landscape above east on Elephants Back was still shadowed, it causes a slight varying night time cool air flow down slopes that jitterred leaves and flowers slightly. In another half hour with sunshine on the slopes that would stop and all this would have a better chance of being dead still. However the advantage of shooting in early diffuse skylight is overall less contrasty elements. Otherwise one might use a diffuser however for field subjects this large that is not possible. Although the differences between shots was small, one ought understand the enormous small detail my lens at F5.6 captures that even the slightest mis-registration shows as unaesthetic double edges and blurred patterns. Thus the 6 hours spent fixing this had to be done tediously one computer screen at a time, one leaf and one flower petal at a brush layer selection stroke at a time.


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Next I ventured off the trail up a vegetation buried now dry seasonal snowmelt stream channel for the above subject that I had spent about 15 minutes unsuccessfully attempting to work Wednesday morning. But today at 7:50am the landscape had become dead still air so I went to work quickly. Sunshine began finding tops of some of the flowers so I used both my circular diffuser and silver reflector to block those rays, a bit of awkward difficulty while still operating the tripod mounted camera controls. Nicely some gooseberry shrubs off of frame left helped hold the blocking disks upright. These are all great red paintbrush aka giant red p. aka scarlet p., castilleja miniata, that are about as impressively thick in areas below Elephants Back as one may find anywhere in the range. Note the narrow smooth leaf edges with an acute tip. In this frame most at frame bottom have a red hue while a few are orange, and some in the back a magenta-red. At center frame edge left are also a few blue Sierra for-get-me-not, cryptantha nubigena, flowers and some white yampah at frame top.


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With the opportunity for skylight illumination shots ending as early sunlight covered landscapes, I moved on to a familiar location with thigh high great red paintbrush, silver lupine, Parish's yampah, and other plants to shoot towards the southeast somewhat backlit above. With breezes now at a full lull, shooting went quickly. In the background is the ridge east of Round Top. Trees at mid frame and on the background ridge are whitebark pine.


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Moving higher on the slope, I turned around to shoot the same species northwest with Caples Lake in the background. A bit right of the lake are the barren brown slopes I worked on June 23. The Upper Truckee pass on the Pacific Crest Trail I had visited Tuesday is at frame mid right. Above it in the far background, just west of Lake Tahoe, is Mt Tallac. The tall white flowered plants at center left frame edge are corn lily and just above them a ways down the slope is a dirt brown strip of the Winnemucca Lake trail. Just to the right in front of a boulder is a tall monument plant.


SA04686-04  5900x3900 pixels  1 frame 19 image focus stack blend  A6000 30mm
enlarged vertical slice view

A breeze soon developed and productive photography waned. Instead I climbed out to a beautiful overlook, ate some food relaxing under a shady krumholtz whitebark pine, listened to music on my tiny MP3 player, and explored about some more. At the above location late morning did work through a set of modest shots despite the harsher light. Another landscape that during a future visit will be so much better under diffuse mid day cloud light. At frame bottom left corner are yellow hued sulphur flowers.

It was time to head back that took another hour. I stopped for a third time down at Caples Lake for a quick refreshing dip in the lake and continued west on the 3.5 hour road trip I drive many times for skiing during winter. Although I was able to capture a fair number of modest landscapes, and a few excellent close-ups, I hardly made a dent in the number of good subjects I had seen but did not bother to capture due to breezy conditions. But these slopes are at timberline at the crest of the Sierra Nevada and afternoon breezy conditions are common. The strategy for more productive output is going to be a longer trip, probably next summer about the same period of early summer, where I dedicate more days, and spend at least a couple nights base camping near these areas. With predictable breezy periods likely, that means I'll probably bring along my Kindle, some magazines,a fair amount of comfort food and drink, and then spend hours some days just reading and relaxing.

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2018 Trip Chronicles:    Contents

   David Senesac

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