Photographing Thunderstorms at Mono Lake (This Place is Weird!)

Crap it’s hot. I mean, not here, not here in the mountains. It’s amazing. It’s like 75 degrees. That’s heaven. I’m talking about down in the valleys down there. It’s triple digits, baby. And know what happens when you get that kind of heat and you combine it with a little bit of moisture in the air. You get thunderstorms, which are my favorite conditions to shoot in because they’re just so dramatic and unpredictable. So I’m going to head on over to Mono Lake and I invite you to come along with me for the ride. I’m going to try to get some photos tonight of these thunderstorms. What do you think about that, Mr. Squirrel? Yeah, I think it’s a great idea too. Let’s go!

Pop it over to a part of the Lake where I’ve never been before. And the reason that I came here today is that I saw the potential for some interesting patterns. Looking out on Google satellite view will look like some really interesting landscapes from above some really fascinating patterns and cool rock formations and things like that. And I’m looking forward to getting out there to see what’s actually there. My main worry is that it’s going to be a boggy mess. And when I actually start stepping down through some of these grasses and marshlands, that I’m going to sink up to my knee or my thigh, but the only way to find out for sure is to actually just walk out there, Asian, the ground wasn’t wet in the slightest, easy walkout. And now I find myself in this bizarro landscape. It almost looks like a giant dinosaur crash as it, these were all nests and eggs from some huge prehistoric colony of beasts. Time to get out in there and see what it’s actually like.

I’ve just had a nice wee little walk around and I have to say, this is one of the coolest weirdest places that I have yet uncovered here in mono Lake. If you’ve ever been to death Valley, if you’ve heard of a place called cotton ball basin, this is cotton ball basin, except here at mono Lake with the mountainous Sierra towering above it. It’s got the same salt and mud patterns. It’s got the same cracks in the soil. It’s got the same cookie dough consistency to the ground. So I’m trying to be really careful about where I walk. And there’s actually, it’s a little friendlies. We’re wondering what the heck am I doing here with these amazing patterns and textures? This place is a seascape photographers, dreamland, but for me today with a sky like this and foregrounds like these, I can’t help, but get out here with my ultra wide lands. So I’ve got my Nikon 14 to 30 lands here on [inaudible] and I’m roaming around looking for those in your face, smack you in the eyeballs bore grounds. There’s some pretty sweet little mud cracks right here. That’ll definitely do in a pinch for a quick grab shot. And since there’s still over an hour until the sunset, I just want to roam around and see what kinds of different compositions I can come across.

Now we are at a Lake shore, so it makes perfect sense that the part of I get towards the Lake, there’s going to be water, but what’s really unusual about this place is there’s not a clearly defined shoreline. It’s more like the mud simply transforms into water. Gradually as you get farther and farther toward the Lake, she had these amazing pools and channels running in between all these rocks and the best part is it smells terrible. It’s like a seal colony mixed with a decaying whale blubber factory. So just tops, Oh, that stench could choke a starving Wolverine. So as interesting as it is out here, there’s too much wind to allow any reflections to form the water. And it’s clear to me that the best compositions are back on dry land, where those patterns intersect and a little bit more coherent way. So I’m going to head back there and get ready for sunset.

All right. Check this out. So on the way back here, I found this perfect little S-curve and I set up a quick little composition with my wide angle lens. And a couple of things really caught my eye about the same, obviously the beautiful leading line going off to those clouds in the distance. But I really loved the way that those two Rocky mountains, when you position yourself just right, you can get the tips of both of those reflected nicely in the S-curve. So that’s what I’m going for with my composition right here on the wide angle lens. And I’ll show you that photo right now.

Oh, it happened, but the wind has died. So it’s time to actually go back out towards the water and explore some of those reflections a little bit more. Cause the sky is incredible right now. Come on, look at that. Are you kidding me? This is incredible. What’s really incredible about this scene is the way that the sunlight is striking the tufa. And yet the water’s reflecting the darker clouds up in the sky. Those warm and cool tones are just clashing against each other, making this amazing scene. And these little guys, these little islands, they look like they’re just floating in the sky. So I’m going to grab my mid range lens here, my 24 to 70. And I’m going to zoom in on some of those little twofer reflections.

This is just too much, but now are these photos going to win any photography awards pick? Yeah, they are. They’re going to win the Josh Cripps. I’m having a great time being out here and shooting photos award, and that’s all that really matters. You should just be out having fun, enjoying photography, exploring the world and doing it in a place that smells horrifically bad. It’s like a rotting sheep carcass being pooped out of another larger rotting sheep. Oh man, it just keeps getting better and better out here. You get these amazing anti corpuscular rays happening over here. There’s this bonkers thunderstorm light happening over here. This is one of those nights where you could literally shoot in any direction, except maybe that way. So I’m going to let that be my cue to put a pin in this video and get down to some photography. Thank you guys as always for watching. I really appreciate it. If you enjoy the video, please give it some YouTube love really helps me grow the channel and make more videos like this.

I’ll end this video with a couple of photos from tonight and until next time! Have fun and happy shooting.

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