The Golden Arches

Lathe Arch framing Lone Pine Peak and Mount Whitney
Lathe Arch, with Lone Pine Peak on the left, and Mount Whitney on the right

Thanksgiving saw me on a trip through the Eastern Sierras to visit some longtime family friends. Along the way were a lots of photography spots to choose from, but knowing this wasn't a photo vacation, I picked and chose a handful of spots I wanted to hit. Day 1 of travel had a stop at Burney Falls, a wonderful waterfall just north of Redding, CA before checking in at Reno. Day 1 was nothing but rain and hard rain, so Burney was pushed to something to check out on the way back. Day 2 started off bright, sunny, and promising. Sadly, Bodie State Historic Park, my hopeful stop for Day 2, was closed due to the road leading to the park being washed out. Lone Pine, CA was our final stop and where we'd be spending 3 days. I had 1 thing on the photo checklist for Lone Pine, Mobius, and it's nearby neighbor, Lathe Arch.

I don't know when exactly I became aware of Mobius Arch. I actually think it was through, of all places, Instagram. It might have been through the Visit California Instagram feed where I originally saw it, then used Instagram's location search to see more photos, then just searched online for more concrete information.

Mobius Arch framing Lone Pine Peak and Mount Whitney
Mobius Arch
The Mobius arch isn't a technically challenging shot, as you can see. It's a rock that can frame some of the peaks of the Eastern Sierra Nevadas. In my shot I get all but the actual peak of Lone Pine Peak on the left and Mount Whitney, the tallest peak of the lower 48 states, on the right framed by  this nicely shaped rock, with some alpine glow on the peaks. The trick to this shot is showing up early enough to 1) get the morning light and 2) get the perfect spot. Though I was out the door at 5am, it seems I wasn't as early as another photographer who got Lone Pine Peak and Mount Whitney in his shots. After that the challenge is focusing in the dark and continually checking focus as the light comes into the frame.

I find when I run into other photographers in the field they tend to be either quiet and uninviting, or standoffish and territorial as if they owned the shot they were going for. I had the pleasure of meeting a friendly photographer who made the early morning shoot enjoyable not just for the scenery but also the company. Go and check out James Cebedo and give him a follow. He's got some great stuff.

At the top of this post you can see Lathe Arch. It is considerably smaller, but far more uncomfortable to shoot. There isn't much room for a tripod to set up so I shot most of my Lathe shots handheld with the camera above my head. I love a camera with a tilt screen allowing for this to be more than a guess and shoot scenario. Lathe was mostly an after thought. After I had finished shooting Mobius I and another photographer I met there walked the 10 yards or so to Lathe. It was already past prime morning light, but I think the shot still turned out well. 

I have more shots from my time in Lone Pine and the Eastern Sierras, but, sadly, I have no Burney Waterfall shots, as it was raining even harder when we went by it on the way back, and Bodie was still closed. Well, maybe next time.

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