Today started wrong and it took eveything I had to remain optimistic. There were 3+ inches of snow on the car when I ventured out at 05:00 this morning. I forgot to put a snow scraper back in the car before leaving so my QFC credit card is now shambles… the ice was stuck HARD. It wasn’t snowing at the motel so I headed for the south tufa area on Mono Lake. After 2 miles of driving on snowpacked/icy roads I found myself in a blizzard and could hardly see the road side markers. I drove right past the intersection to the the tufa area but by then I was just trying to find a place to turn around and go back to the motel. I put the GPS to work and after another 5 miles I found a place to turn around and head back on the divided highway going north. I returned to the room and brewed a pot of coffee and thought about the day. Ideas of having breakfast disappeared at the door to the only restaurant in town. The sign said simply “closed until Friday April 15 for cleaning”. Not good but I was still glad to be back where I didn’t pose a risk to myself or others. I decided to go to the room and drink coffee and watch Adobe announce the new Photoshop CS5. I got the blue screen of death on the laptop and forced it off. I drank a bit of coffee and read a bit. Then I noticed bright light coming in from the crack at the bottom of the door. Whoa… sunlight and blue sky.
I grabbed the camera gear again and headed out onto what was now just wet and patchy snowpack roads. I attached the GPS and it froze as it booted up. Was my luck going to be like this all day? I drove on and got to the tufa area to see the towers covered in snow, a strong sun to the southeast and blue skies with white clouds to the north and north east. Whoa…. heart rate goes up quickly and I grabbed the pack, tripod and started down the path to the lake edge. Two other guys were there with cameras so we said “hello” as I began composing the first shot of the day. They wandered around and left me to myself. For the next 1.5 hours I wandered around to different views of the tufa towers. I tried a variety of lenses but most were shot with the 16-35 followed next by the 50. Beautiful skies and clouds. The breeze stirred the lake surface so a really nice reflection was not possible but you can’t have it all. Yesterday it was blowing 50 mph at this location so a 5-10 mph breeze felt like a real reprieve.
I came back to the car and reset the GPS. It took right off like normal. The roads were now just wet with no sign of snow or ice. I had a lot of potentially nice images on the card, the GPS was working, the sun was bright and the day was warming from the 25 I felt first thing this morning. Now if I could just find some food. I did but I’m not going to describe it. Let it be said that it was not your typical breakfast… thank heavens.
I’ve off-loaded the images and backed them up. I found about 15 that I think are really quite nice and picked these four to give you a brief glimpse of what nice light can transform this place into. The snow was a bonus after all. Now for a nap and back to the sand towers for some directional light shots on those strange features.