Landscape Photography on the John Muir Trail, Part 2: Darwin Bench to Lamarck Col

New days, make new man, as they say. And if they don’t say that they should, because today is a new day. I feel like a new man. It is incredible. What nine hours of sleep and a full belly will do for your recovery. Now we didn’t decide to continue on with our crazy plan to finish out evolution Valley evolution, basin Dusy basin, Bishop pass. It just would have been way too much, 60 mile days each day. So we’re sticking with plan B, which is the cruise up on the Darwin bench. Uber, what is it called? The Mark, which was the cruise up onto Darwin bench. And then tomorrow go over Lamar. Cool. Back down to North Lake, and I’m not going to bore you with the details of today’s hike. We basically slept in Ryan was able to repair his poles with some duct tape. We hiked through the forest and then climb climb, climbed up, reached a spur trail off the main JMT and kept climbing up here to Darwin bench, past innumerable, cascades, and wild flowers and beautiful vistas of all kinds. It wasn’t hard and I am tired, but we got our camp set up by one 30 and I was down for a nap like that. Now it’s already getting on towards sunset. So I’m going to move back down the Valley towards some incredible views of mountains with a river running right underneath them.

I hope you can hear me over the wind and the sound of that waterfall. I’m heading down to a place lower in the basin. Whereas I mentioned the Creek forms this big broad curve, and it looks out across the Valley to the far mountains beyond, but just coming down the Hill, I stumbled across this waterfall here, which I didn’t really pay as much attention to on the way up, probably because I was staring down at my feet, second desk. But what I love about this is the alignment between the water coming off of these cascades. And the mountain in the background was called Emerald peak. The way that I’m approaching this photograph, you can see, but there’s a lot of stuff going on. This is a very busy scene. It’s just a lot of stuff in the landscape. So I really need to simplify this as much as possible in order to make it an effective composition. So I’m going to really try to focus on just the waterfall, excluding all the extraneous stuff, just the mountain in the background, and then some sky for prints. [inaudible] It just keeps getting better and better. These are the nights of photography that you live for in the Sierra. Look at that sky. Look at those reflections. That’s the kind of night that makes you giddy to be a photographer.

Sometimes I have to admit the Sierra makes it almost too easy to be a photographer. So I got that incredible view. Looking back out over evolution Valley at the hermit at Emerald peak. And of course you had this wonderful Creek flowing out here, creating beautiful reflections and leading lines off into the distance. This is where I wanted to come to shoot the sunset. Now I’m going to roam around, try to find a composition that really speaks to me. All right. So here’s my first composition of the evening. And let me explain a little bit about what’s going on here. To me, this composition is all about symmetry. You’ve got this nice point in the mountain being echoed with the opposite shape here in the grass. And you have all the shapes of the rocks here in the foreground being echoed with the shapes of the clouds in the sky. So that’s why I’ve placed the mountain exactly in the middle of the frame with the horizon exactly. In the middle of the frame, because all of this symmetry, the mirroring between the elements down here and the elements up there

So for my second composition tonight, I’ve gone in much tighter, just on the mountains way out there that I really love that have that beautiful light splashing across their flank. So I actually zoomed in to 70 millimeters and then I stopped down to F 16 just to make sure I had enough depth of field. So I could get a really tight portrait of that mountain with the stream as a nice little leading line, going off into the distance. Now the light is just blowing up in every direction. So I’m going to put on the wide angle and I’m going to start shooting like a crazy person. Does it get much better than this? No. No, it doesn’t. Let me show you guys something. This is happening all the way around. Yeah. Oh yeah. That was ridiculous. That was just banger city. I don’t know how many keeper shots I got tonight, but it was at least more than zero and check it out. It is still just glowing. There’s color everywhere in this. This is one of those great glorious gifts from the gods of the Sierra Nevada. And I say to them, thank you.

Well, that’s going to call it quits for tonight. Time to grab some chicken Alfredo, head to bed. Good morning, everybody. See ya properly kitted up here for head until it’s not so much that it’s cold out here. It says that it’s windy and the wind has a bite. That wind well, it’s responsible for me having maybe not the best night’s sleep I’ve ever had. But when I woke up this morning, I was treated to the rarest.

A record is getting a little bit too windy to record. I’ve got to head back to the tent. All right. That’s a lot better. As I was saying, when I woke up this morning, I was three to two that most rare of rear gyms here in the Sierra, a beautiful sunrise. There’s almost never cloud at sunrise here in the summertime. In the Sierra swore we had lovely pigs. There was even some true album blow up on the mountains, Just getting too windy to keep filming now.

So I had to jump forward and time about three hours to film this interlude. The sunrise was lovely, but it started to get cold and blustery. So headed back to camp, packed up, ate some breakfast. And then we had to Vamos time to get the F out of Dodge, kind of a grim joyless day. So far today, this the wind have 14, 1500 feet to go straight up. This shit pile. Holy crap, man. What a stout climb really fun. No, and I know as my eyes just won’t stop producing fluids, just dripping like crazy. It’s howling wind is howling like a wild cat up there. We just popped up out of the park. We’re here at Lamar cold, 13,000 feet. We’re looking out back to the Owens Valley here. Amazing view. Now we just got a bomb down five miles or so back to the car. Well, this seems like as good a place as any to end this video with our final view of Lamar Cole in the background. Thanks so much for watching. I hope you really enjoyed it. Enjoyed the photography. If you liked this video, please subscribe. Share it with your friends. All that kind of good stuff really helps me out. Here’s wishing you guys lots of wonderful adventures of your own until next time. Have fun, happy shooting.

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