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Eastern Sierra - Mostly NOT Fall Color

Started by flusk, 12/06/2020 01:00AM
Posted 12/06/2020 01:00AM Opening Post
The first weekend of October, my wife and I visited the Eastern Sierra (Hwy 395 corridor) with a small photo group from our church.  The main purpose of this trip was fall color, but we were about a week too early for the best color.  Also, the Inyo National Forest, where many of the best spots are located, was closed due to smoke from the Creek Fire, which burned nearly 400,000 acres in Fresno and Madera Counties on the west side of the Sierra (unfortunately, one member of our group lost her home in Shaver Lake a couple weeks before the trip).  The secondary purpose of this trip was visiting the Alabama Hills (just outside of Lone Pine) for sunset/moonrise one night and sunrise/moonset the next morning.  (I already posted an image in the Digital SLR Astrophotography Forum from the first night of this trip.)

But, even before getting to Lone Pine, our little group stopped at Red Rock Canyon State Part for a couple hours.  I had been there several times before, so didn't feel gypped by the short stop, but fully half our group had never stopped there even though everyone had driven past it at least once.

Our first photo stop was at this big red rock wall at the south end of the park on the east side of Hwy 14. I walked up the slope directly behind the bush all the way to the cliff face to get...

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Posted 12/06/2020 01:02AM #1

BTW, it wasn't easy to stand still here because the ground was sloped and covered with loose gravel. It's also not smart to stand at the bottom of a potentially crumbly cliff, but I couldn't resist.

BTW2, there hasn't been much activity in the forum section, so I'm going to post quite a few images and see what

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Posted 12/06/2020 01:03AM #2
Sunset over the Sierra Crest from the vicinity of Boot Arch.

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Posted 12/06/2020 01:11AM | Edited 12/06/2020 01:12AM #3
Boot Arch silhouette in black and white.

Boot Arch is in the far northern reaches of the Alabama Hills.  The best book on the arches of the Alabama Hills appears to be the appropriately named “Arches of the Alabama Hills” by Orlyn Fordham.  See The book covers 72 arches (out of an estimated 300+) and 23 other features and includes maps, GPS coordinates, and photographs. However, the book doesn’t include Boot Arch, which is about a mile north of the areas covered by the author.  You can also find on the Internet various maps and sketches that show the locations of a few arches. Unfortunately, the BLM brochure for the Alabama Hills doesn’t show very many. The most comprehensive "map" I found (and the only one I found that shows Boot Arch) is, but it’s drawn as a schematic, not as an accurate map. However, Eugene Carsey’s website includes GPS coordinates and other data for some (many?) of the arches here.  See  For a good, simple map with the best arches, try: The Alabama Hills has also seen its fair share of movie making, especially westerns. Lone Pine has a Museum of Western Film History, but we have never stopped there. You can learn more here:

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Posted 12/06/2020 01:18AM #4
The next morning, most of us (not including my wife who is a night owl) got up well before sunrise to meet at the parking lot for the Arch Trail. Our goal was to catch sunrise alpenglow on the Sierra crest, followed by moonset. Unfortunately, we had lost the dramatic sky from the night before.

For some reason [maybe the boring sky? maybe something I said? sad ], I was the only one of our group to head straight for Mobius Arch, which is the biggest attraction along the Arch Trail and one of the biggest attractions in the entire Alabama Hills. Later, two members of our group wandered by, but incredibly I had Mobius Arch virtually all to myself for nearly an hour. When my wife and I visited the Alabama Hills for her birthday in February (not long before lockdown), I shared Mobius Arch with perhaps a dozen other people.

So, this is Mobius Arch with Mt. Whitney and friends under the arch. The arch spans about 12 feet.  Mobius, like the rest of the Alabama Hills is granite.

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Posted 12/06/2020 01:18AM #5
Sunrise alpenglow and the Moon through Mobius Arch.

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Posted 12/06/2020 01:19AM #6
The Moon through Mobius Arch.

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Posted 12/06/2020 01:20AM #7
The Moon finally reaches the Sierra crest.

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Posted 12/06/2020 01:21AM #8
Just a few dozen feet west of Mobius Arch is smaller Lathe Arch, which spans about 6 feet. Lathe Arch frames the Sierra crest much differently than Mobius Arch, creating more of a panoramic look. It’s also harder to photograph at Lathe Arch because there is not much room to stand and a rock wall prevents backing up.

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Posted 12/06/2020 01:22AM #9
Heart Arch with the distant Inyo Mountains faintly in the background. Heart Arch spans about 3 feet and is visible from the parking lot for the Arch Trail. However, it is about 1000 feet away, so it takes a fairly long telephoto lens to get this kind of a view.

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