Piute Crags & Aspen Grove Reflection in North Lake

Piute Crags & Aspen Grove Reflection in North Lake

full print size of 28.6x36.6 inches @304.8ppi, above displayed at 1/178
Copyright © David Senesac 2005   view detailed crop

geranium Inyo National Forest, Inyo County
early morning Tuesday October 4, 2005, slide 05-Y-5
Wisner 4x5 Expedition, 90mm Caltar, Gitzo G1325 Mk2
Tango Drum scanned Fuji Provia 100F 4x5 film to 300mb RGB file
Adobe Photoshop 6.0 processed for accurate image fidelity
Lightjet5000 printed on Fuji Crystal Archive paper
signature bottom left          

A windy early fall storm had pummeled the Sierra a couple days leaving a minor coat of white in the higher elevations. In the process many leaves blew off aspen trees that had turned color early and browned many other with still intact leaves. Arriving on a frigid morning in the low 20s in the deep blue skies of clear air behing the storm, I was surprised the groves behind this lake were still largely intact with fine color. On early October mornings, this setting is a Mecca for pro photographers and one I had met earlier during the spring was already working the calm lake edge waters while shadows slowly crept down the background slopes.

When the shadows disappeared, I set up my view camera on the east shore of the small lake. An intermittent up canyon breeze had already started that had me worried since I needed calm waters for a good reflection. Just when it appeared I would not get the prize, a brief calm occurred for a few minutes that allowed time to expose four sheets. The lake has a good population of rainbow trout that were actively feeding at the time creating a modest amount of small fish ring ripples across the lake surface. So I waited some for those waves to subside between shots.

This shallow natural lake at 9,255 feet on the North Fork of Bishop Creek is very grassy at both the inlet and outlet. A gravel road from near the Lake Sabrina paved road end branches off from that middle fork canyon to allow vehicles to drive here and a small campground a half-mile up canyon.

Arguably the best place in the Sierra Nevada to shoot fall aspen foliage across a lake. In this frame, unseen behind the leftmost orange tip of the aspen grove is a dirt parking lot with a horse pack station. The lake is heavily planted with trout by the DF&G thus lots of fisherman visit the lake.

Mid right at top is light rusty colored topographic map peak 12,074, part of the ancient Paleozoic marine sediments of Piute Crags. On the left are the south avalanche chute shadowed flanks of peak 12,691 and peak 12,353. Below their steep upper monolithic granite walls are talus fans some of which have bright colored patches of aspen. The green patches on those walls are stunted krumholtz whitebark pine, pinus albicaulis. Below, the dense forest contain several species though primarily lodgepole pine, pinus murrayana. On the far left skyline is a section of Mount Lamarck. Above the barren rusty talus fan across the lake are dark brushy slopes much of which are mountain mahogany, cerocarpus ledifolius. Also above the yellow orange quaking aspen, populus tremuloides, are lighter colored slopes of mostly big sagebrush, artemesia tridentata. Fronting the lakeshore are willow, salix. Why are large areas of the aspen grove one color? Because they are genetic clones all sprouting from the same root system. Yes probably just one orange tree and one yellow tree!

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   David Senesac
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