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Adventure in the High Sierra

Over the past few years, I have been fortunate enough to visit Mammoth Lakes during Summer. It's one of the trips I look forward to the most, as I am obsessed with the natural beauty of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Twin Lakes campground served as base camp for the trip, where several activities including hiking, mountain biking, and fishing ensued.

This year was a little different with regards to my photography. I approached the trip with more purpose than ever before, and I had formed a rough game plan as far as what I was going to shoot. I had my camera with me at nearly all times, as anything can happen when you're in the John ​Muir Wilderness. A few specific shots I had in mind were that of Rainbow Falls, the ghost town of Bodi, Devil's Postpile, starry night skies with mountain foregrounds, wild deer, a wild bear, and the various lake and river scenes in the area.

Wildlife is always unpredictable, and I was yearning to capture wild deer (bucks specifically as I had missed them in years passed) and the native black bear in the area. I had come close to bears last year, encountering a mother and two of her cubs at night while I was attempting to capture the night sky through my lens (I wasn't able to grab a shot as the settings on my camera were too far off, and I was concerned about not making mama bear think I was a threat in any way.) The same year, a juvenile male bear had made himself comfortable in the cab of my truck minutes after I had arrived. I happened to not be at the camp site while this happened unfortunately (lesson learned, make damn sure any and all food sources are completely out of the truck before even thinking about going to the restroom!)

This year however, I was able to capture what I wanted to. They may not have been the best shooting conditions, but you can't be choosy when nature has the final say. Some highlights of the trip included hiking through rain and hail from Crystal Lake, photographing a group of bucks in the morning light, capturing a bIack bear that had meandered through the campgrounds, and a particularly adventurous day that included the town of Bodi and the Rainbow Falls hike all within a few hours of each other. I photographed the landscape and it's wildlife with utmost respect and awe. I managed to get the shots of wild deer and bear, but another important aspect of what I wanted into my collection was the landscape itself. There are several lakes, waterfalls, and rivers you can visit in Mammoth Lakes, and every single one can paralyze you with their allure. I had visualized my shots before capturing them, but when you're standing along the rushing rivers and towering waterfalls, you sort of let it take control.

(Click on the images below to view larger)

Overall I am quite satisfied with what I was able to walk away with. I still have yet to refine my technique when it comes to photographing the night sky, but I'm constantly learning. It was definitely an adventure filled trip, and I may think about going back in the fall soon to get more shots. I hope you enjoy these photographs as much as I enjoyed taking them!

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