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Magic Morning, Mt. Whitney

Posted by
Gary Hart (California, United States) on 24 January 2009 in Landscape & Rural and Portfolio.

I'm off to Death Valley to lead a workshop where we'll photograph (among other things) Badwater, at -282 feet the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere, and 14, 495 foot Mt. Whitney, the highest point in the Continental United States. As the crow flies they’re only 75 miles apart, and only about two hours as the car drives. Pretty cool.

This is a January image of Mt. Whitney photographed from the Alabama Hills. Mt. Whitney is the peak on the right; that’s Lone Pine Peak on the left. This shot was an exercise in persistence (North American Nature Photography Association members can read my “3 Ps of Nature Photography” article in the spring issue of NANPA Currents magazine). I’d spent several days in Lone Pine with the express purpose of photographing Mt. Whitney at sunrise. But Mother Nature wasn’t cooperating, delivering instead a persistent cloud bank that obscured the entire Sierra crest for the duration of my visit to that point.

On the last morning I rose dark and early and checked the sky. The mountains were still socked in, but rather than throw in the towel go back to bed, I headed out for one last try. On the drive up my hope rose as I thought I could see breaks in the still-dark sky. By the time the sun crested the Inyo Mountains to the east I had reached my destination and things were really starting to open up. For nearly an hour my persistence was rewarded with this magical dance of cloud and light on Whitney’s crest.

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Thanks for visiting. Even if I don't respond, your comments are always read and appreciated.

Mariska from Stellenbosch, South Africa

Simply a beautiful photo!! Wonderful composition, the clouds are lovely and the light is amazing.

24 Jan 2009 9:37am


very nice

24 Jan 2009 10:21am

Marie LC from Voiron, France

Yes, it's magic. Colours are splendid !

24 Jan 2009 11:58am

Eleftheria from Athens, Greece


24 Jan 2009 5:35pm

Doug from Long Beach, United States

If only all patience were so wonderfully rewarded. Excellent.

25 Jan 2009 6:23am

Gary Hart from California, United States

Thanks everyone for your comments. My Death Valley workshop wrapped up here on Thursday, and while we didn't get clouds like this, we got fabulous alpenglow at sunrise. The night before we photographed a thin crescent moon setting behind Mt. Whitney and followed that with some great star trail shots. I'll try to post some samples once I get settled.

30 Jan 2009 8:01pm

missparis from PARIS, France

Vraiment trop belles ces couleurs. Toutes ces photos m'ont rappelé mes vacances . MERCI

5 Feb 2009 3:18pm

jim from sebastopol, United States

Wonderful... this immediately called to mind a painting of Maxfield Parrish.

14 Feb 2009 10:45pm

@jim: Thanks, Jim. Believe it or not, you're not alone. Others have commented that that image reminds them of something by Maxfield Parrish.