Smoky Spectrum


Behind the Scenes of this Photo

Taken from near Minaret Vista in Mammoth Lakes, California, on July 9, 2017.

Over the 2016-2017 winter Mammoth Lakes received a large amount of snow, to put it mildly. This meant that many roads in the area, such as the road to the Devil’s Postpile National Monument and Minaret Vista, remained closed long after they typically opened. So on the final morning of a High Sierra photography workshop we roused the participants extra early and began the 45-minute walk from the road closure to the Vista.

We arrived to find a decent amount of snow lingering in hard crusts all over the top of the ridge and ambled around it looking for good vantage points. Despite the huge snowfall and massive quantity of spring runoff wildfires had sprung up in the previous weeks throughout the Sierra and we saw the Long Valley Caldera to the east sitting thick and heavy with smoke. As the sun rose above the Glass Mountains it lit the clouds above a deep crimson and turned the smoky haze in the valley shapes of burnt oranges and yellows. With each ridge closer to us the haze grew less, which allowed the natural colors of the forest to shine through, creating a breathtaking spectrum of colors.

See more beautiful Sierra Nevada photos here.

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14 replies
      • Lisa
        Lisa says:

        How should I send you a picture?
        Email? If so, what is your email?
        Though don’t set your hopes too high because I am a beginner working with acryllic paint.
        Hope you enjoy it though!

        P.S. I haven’t painted it yet. Mabye sometime in June?

      • Lisa
        Lisa says:

        Also, do tell me if you do anymore sorta simple nature shots so I can use them for reference photos. I have already looked through your current collection so I can’t wait to see more. This is sorta the level I want. 🙂 Again, great shot!


  1. Lawrence
    Lawrence says:

    Josh, I’m a huge fan and admire all of your work. This image is not necessarily my favorite but the way you achieved an “Andy Warhol” feeling using genuine light and landscape elements without (much) post processing trickery is quite remarkable.


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