I’m not a very spontaneous person, so it was really out of character for me to decide at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday to make a run up to Lone Pine. There was a little motivation behind my madness, though.
As you may have gathered, I’m a fan of the Eastern Sierra Nevada mountains, and one of the best photographers of the region is Joshua Cripps. I’ve been following him on his YouTube channel and via Instagram for years. Josh decided to open the Mount Whitney Gallery in Lone Pine, and he was having a grand opening celebration this weekend, with the main festivities beginning at 5 p.m. Saturday.
I had contacted Josh several months ago with some very specific questions about a potential photography location, and he was more than generous with his time and provided some detailed answers for me to use in my planning. I figured it would be a great way to thank him in person for his kindness, as well as to see his prints up close and personal. Plus, he had scheduled an informal, before-the-crack-of-dawn photography shoot to catch the moon setting over Lone Pine Peak Sunday morning.
I double-checked the weather forecast for Sunday morning to make sure it looked like it was going to be clear; hopped on my hotel app, booked a room; threw a change of clothes in a bag; loaded up my camera and tripod; and hit the road. A stop to top off my car’s gas tank on the way out of town was the only stop in the 311-mile trip that took exactly five hours.
Mount Whitney Gallery
From the moment you walk in, you can tell that Josh put a lot of love and effort into creating his gallery. It’s small, but the photographs on the wall pack a powerful punch. It was fun to munch on some snacks, sip a beverage, and share stories with other photographers admiring Josh’s work.
Josh was having a silent auction for some of his prints and a raffle for some photography-related items. In a rare move, I bought five raffle tickets and this morning at the photo shoot, Josh informed me that two of my tickets were winners! I won a filter set and a tripod ball head. I did a quick internet search and the combined value of the two is probably somewhere in the $700 – $900 range. Sheesh!
If you’re in Lone Pine, I suggest you stop by the gallery at 126 N. Main Street, Lone Pine, CA 93545.
Moonset over Lone Pine Peak
Josh had provided coordinates for a location where we could capture the moon setting over Lone Pine Peak Sunday morning. Of course, not being Mr. Spontaneous, I had to do a dry run to the location in the Alabama Hills so that I knew exactly where to go and what to expect at Oh-Dark-Thirty.
Saturday evening during my scouting run, I captured a massive lenticular cloud and a shelf of clouds parallel to the mountains with the sun peeking through. Sunday morning, my alarm went off at 4 a.m. and I was on the road at 4:30 a.m. to get to the designated location on time. I was the first of about a dozen other photographers, including Josh, who showed up for a perfectly cloudless morning with a near-full moon.
The moon image is a single shot, 1/50 sec. at f/5.6, ISO 200, 400 mm taken about 20 minutes before sunrise.
It was a great trip all around, and I’m really glad that I threw pragmatism out the window and went.
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