Unnamed Lake, Early Morning. Kings Canyon National Park, California. September 14, 2013. © Copyright 2013 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.
Early morning light and cloud-filled sky reflected in the surface of an unnamed sub-alpine lake in the southern Sierra Nevada range, Kings Canyon National Park
This may have been the morning with the most dramatic light during our mid-September trip to photograph in the High Sierra back-country of Kings Canyon National Park, when a group of four photographs spent 6 nights in a beautiful 11,000′ location not far to the west of the crest of the range. Our camp was on a small rise just above my camera position, and we spent out days either looking at variations on essentially this view or wandering about in the alpine “neighborhood,” exploring and making photographs.
I have some experience with Sierra weather and I can often make some decent judgments about what is going on and where things may be headed. However, during this “shoulder season” when the transition from summer to fall and towards winter is taking place, all bets are off! During the summer, when it isn’t just another blue sky day in the Sierra, a common pattern starts with fairly clear weather, introduces a few small clouds by mid or late morning, and then builds toward possible thunderstorms and afternoon/evening showers. But this morning began with overcast that was distinctly un-thunderstorm-like, the sort of thing that I find almost impossible to read. Were we seeing some evidence of a larger pattern related to the onset of winter-season Pacific fronts? Was it merely a local weather situation that would dissipate as the day wore on? In the end, we did end up with showers late in the afternoon – as we did on over half of the days on this trip – but on this morning the only thing I knew for certain was that the light on the peaks below the cloud-dotted sky was exceptionally beautiful.
G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer and visual opportunist whose subjects include the Pacific coast, redwood forests, central California oak/grasslands, the Sierra Nevada, California deserts, urban landscapes, night photography, and more.
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Text, photographs, and other media are © Copyright G Dan Mitchell (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from G Dan Mitchell.