Taken near the Marie Lakes, Ansel Adams Wilderness, Eastern Sierra, on July 3rd, 2013

There are a few pieces of photography equipment I consider indispensable when I’m in the backcountry: a camera and tripod of course, and a few filters and accessories. Who would’ve ever thought I’d wish for a chainsaw or a ladder to be part of my kit? While backpacking in the Sierra high country I found myself in the Marie Lakes Basin as a stunning sunset erupted over Mt. Lyell. I had scouted this cascade earlier in the day and thought it would make an excellent foreground element for a photo. When time came to shoot I found my compositions limited by the rock I was standing on (another six inches to the right and I’d have fallen into a crystal clear pool of Sierra snowmelt), and thus I was forced to include some bushy trees, thrusting their way up between myself and the horizon. Now I would never ever go so far as to actually saw a tree down to improve a photo, but in my imagination that night the wood chips were flying as I clear cut those conifers to give me an unobstructed view of Mt. Lyell, Yosemite, and the sunset to the west.

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