Mono Lake Reflections – Long Exposure Light Painting

After visiting Bodie ghost town, located north of Mono Lake, I got fish tacos at the Mobil Station in Lee Vining by Vista Drive. I had no idea that this was such a popular hang-out for people coming or going to Yosemite, but it was filled with people hanging out, drinking beer, and talking about their climbs. The fish tacos were good, and I had the ranger at Schulman Grove to thank for this other tip. She had said, “We have a joke here…all the best restaurants in the Owens Valley are in gas stations.” And so it had been again, with the pleasant surprise of having mango salsa on one of the fish tacos.

I continued south after the meal, this time heading to the popular South Tufas instead of the Castle Tufas I had photographed earlier. As expected, there were many photographers there, although most of them left right after sunset. I continued shooting, getting this beautiful dusk shot.

Below:  please click on the photo to view it.  The miniaturization that WordPress is using makes this look awful.  Thanks.

Title: Mono Lake Reflections
Info: Nikon D90, Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 lens, f/11, ISO 200, 30 second exposure. Light painted with a strong flash light.
Photography: Ken Lee
Location: Mono Lake, California, USA.

This long exposure photograph brought out the beautiful colors of dusk even though it looked really dark. There’s this very small window of time in which long exposures seem to bring out the warm colors of dusk even though our eyes cannot really see it any more.

And honestly, let’s face it:  tufas are ugly.  They look like enormous piles of bird crap stacked high.  They’re cool looking because of how the light plays on them, because of the beautiful setting of the lake, and because they’re unusual.  But in the harsh light of day, they’re not exactly the sort of beautiful sculpture of nature that you’d want in your front yard.


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