Mono Lake Tufas inspire me to try new photo processing techniques

Mono Lake is an ancient  65 square miles lake located 13 miles east of Yosemite National Park. It has no outlet, and continues to become increasingly salty. Amazing limestone rock formations called tufas form from fresh water springs interacting with alkaline lake water.

Mono Lake Tufas
Mono Lake Tufas

Tufa spires start underwater. Thirty foot formations become more visible as the lake levels decrease due to water diversions to Southern California.

Tufa Watches Over Mono Lake
Tufa Watches Over Mono Lake

In 1994 the State Water Resource Control Board in an effort to protect Mono Lake set limits on amount of water that could be diverted.

Gently Floating Along
Gently Floating Along

All kind of objects spring to mind when I look at a tufa rock formation.

Kissing Lambs
Kissing Lambs

It is so easy to imagine faces, and animals.

Animal Look-A-Like Tufa
Animal Look-A-Like Tufa
Serious Tufa
Serious Tufa

I spend time in the late afternoon watching birds around the lake. Some nest on the tufa. Later I photograph a sunset on the South Tufa side of Mono Lake.

Sunset over Tufas
Sunset over Tufas
Tufa Sunset
Tufa Sunset
Dramatic Sunset Over Mono Lake
Dramatic Sunset Over Mono Lake

Getting up early provides photographic rewards.

Sunrise Over Mono Lake
Sunrise Over Mono Lake
Summer Sunrise Over Watchful Tufas
Summer Sunrise Over Watchful Tufas
Early Morning at Mono Lake
Early Morning at Mono Lake

The tufas on Mono Lake are somewhat other worldly, and my photo processing skills felt free to experiment. I used Adobe Lightroom 5.7, Photomatrix Pro 5 and Topaz Plug-Ins: Detail and Adjust.

I semi reluctantly returned to Bodie and Mono Lake with my photography friends Anne and Laura.  My first experience had been clouded by altitude sickness. I am so glad that I set aside my trepidations and I came away with some good photographic memories. Note to self, always set aside initial reservations, and get out and make new memories.

My Photo Adventure in Bodie

The abandoned ghost town of Bodie is located in the Eastern Sierra Mountains at an elevation of 8,375 feet. I carefully planned my day of photography. From previous experience, I knew about altitude sickness, and I didn’t want a repeat. I kept my camera gear to 2 lenses, and I brought plenty of water to help keep hydrated, sunblock and a hat. This State Historic Park is located 7 miles outside of Bridgeport. The last 3 miles are on an unpaved dirt road. Along with Laura and Anne we headed to Bodie early.

Paved road ends. Bodie ahead.
Paved road ends. Bodie ahead.

In 1859 gold discovered and the rush was on.

Gold Miner
Gold Miner
Bodie Historic Plaque
Bodie Historic Plaque

The Standard Mining Company in the 1870’s made mining profitable and the boom was on.

Bodie Methodist Church in Monochrome
Bodie Methodist Church

The town’s population reached 8,500 and there were more than 2,000 buildings. Mining brought other businesses and the town grew.

Bodie Hotel in Monochrome
Bodie Hotel
Filler Up in Bodie
Filler Up in Bodie

As an old telephone operator I enjoyed see this switchboard located in the Bodie Hotel.

Reflection in Bodie Hotel Window
Reflection in Bodie Hotel Window

Decline of profits happened quickly, and by 1886 the population dwindled to 1,500 people. In 1932 a fire destroyed much of the town and only 10 percent remained.

“Arrested decay” is the description for the town of Bodie.

Boomtown in Bodie started in 1877. Population of 8,500 and more than 2000 buildings. 1886 population was 1,500. 1932 fire left only 10 percent of the town.
One of the few buildings you can enter.
"Arrested Decay" gives a snapshot of what life was like before town was abandoned in the 1940's.
A snapshot of what life was like
Town of Bodie in 2015
Town of Bodie in 2015

This is part 1 of my photo journey into the California high desert.