Basalt Columns, Lichen, Autumn Plants. Devils Postpile National Monument, California. October 9, 2015. © Copyright 2015 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.
Autumn plants and lichen lend color to basalt columns, Devils Postpile National Monument
Quite honestly, this photograph was at least partially the product of laziness! We were recently in the eastern Sierra Nevada for a few (more) days of autumn color photography. We had driven up late the previous day, and by the time we got settled in to our lodgings the idea of getting up again at "oh-dark-thirty" to head out and make dawn photographs was not appealing. Rather than overtly cop out, we sort of agreed to maybe not set alarms and instead just sort of see when we might wake up. Needless to say, on the morning after a very long drive that ended late at night… we did not get up at the crack of dawn! In fact, we wandered out for breakfast at perhaps 7:30 or so, and only then returned to our room to get ready for photography.
With no prior planning at all, we made a more or less spontaneous decision to visit Devils Postpile National Monument — close by, since we were staying in Mammoth Lakes. I’ve been in that area many times, but always in conjunction with backpacking trips, and most of those simply headed out from Agnew Meadow. This time we figured we would head to the site that give the national monument its name, and we finally got down there in the middle of the morning. It turns out that this is actually a very good time to photograph this geological structure, as the sun is behind it, producing beautiful soft shaded light on the details of the basalt columns. To make a series of photographs from which this image comes, I used a very long lens, which allowed me to isolate and compose photographs out of small areas of the much larger wall of basalt columns.
G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer and visual opportunist. His book, "California’s Fall Color: A Photographer’s Guide to Autumn in the Sierra" is available from Heyday Books and Amazon.
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