Monday, October 24, 2011

Fall Color (day 1)

Yosemite near 120 and 140 junction.
I've never photographed the fall color on the east side of the Sierra's. This year I was determined to go see nature's fall show. I'd seen a lot of great pics by many photographer friends so I was anxious for the fall color experience. I recently started following photographer Michael Frye's blog and joined the Yahoo Calphoto group focused on the California fall color.  These folks were really getting me excited about the whole thing. A talented photographer friend, Heidi Vetter, who lives there said it was starting to explode color wise so the time was right.

Apparently there's a very short window of opportunity to capture the fall colors. Everyone wants to get there when it's at it's peak. Some areas peak early and are over with while others are just beginning to change. I saw a bit of both.

120 Lee Vining Ravine
My first encounter with the fall color was in Yosemite near the 120 and 140 junction. The maples were just starting to turn and I expect they'll be peaking in a week or two. I didn't go into the valley because I was anxious to get down the Lee Vining grade of 120 before dusk. I also needed to see where I would be car camping for the night and hopefully do some scouting around. Seeing  this colorful stand of aspen along the steep 120 grade gave me a lot of hope for what was to come.There was a good bit of color showing down in the Lee Vining ravine campgrounds as well. I took a walk along the upper campground creek and was immediately struck by the sparkling glow of the back lit aspen. Totally magical.
Campsite Aspen

Most of my fist day was spent on the road getting to Lee Vining. There were a few aspen starting to turn along some of the Tioga pass creeks and I was really tempted to hike up the May Lake trail but maybe another time.

Just outside the east gate to Yosemite is Tioga lake where I had to good fortune to take a couple quick pics of a bald eagle before he took off. Tried to get some pics of him soaring without much luck.  He took off for Gaylor Lakes after one circle.

Campsite Creek
Walking along the creek I came upon this red leafed plant still holding onto it's late blooms. I'm guessing it was some kind of fireweed but not really sure.

With the sun going down fast I needed to make sure I had a good place to spend the night. Went to a great site my painting friend Diane told me about and had it all to myself. It seemed to cold to pitch a tent so I slept in the back of my Subaru wagon. I had set it set up with an air mattress and a few sleeping bags. It was surprisingly comfortable. A bit cold by morning but not bad and the price was right. $0

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