Ruminations about Rock Creek Canyon

Ruminations about Rock Creek Canyon

This summer has been a tough for all of us in California. Here in Mammoth, the smoke since late June has been the worst I have ever experienced. My heart goes out to all the families directly impacted by the fires across the state.

In the middle of all this, I have been pondering my career in Rock Creek Canyon near Mammoth Lakes. Rock Creek is a premiere destination, as the terrain easily rivals the John Muir Trail. I have been visiting Rock Creek for what seems like forever, maybe 45 years now. The early stories about my attempts to make new images always included something like, "Rock Creek is hard place to photograph, the canyon runs north/south, the sun does not reach the canyon until after the golden hour," and so on. Nowadays, my mind sees images everywhere, in many kinds of light.

This capture, made during the end of July, really encapsulates my right-brain feeling about summer in the Sierra. I have always known about location, but I did not want the usual alpenglow, or stormy light. This day in July, there were storms and smoke all around. I had the day off from work, and I took my camera along, always looking. The end of the road at Mosquito Flat was completely clear of clouds! But I knew they were likely to return. I had already started up the trail when I realized that I had left my accessory bag in my old Toyota. Listening again to the right side of my brain, I returned to the parking lot to retrieve it, and then hiked back to the location. The clouds had returned, and the rain came hard. I was hiding under a tree when suddenly the rain eased off, and this luminous yellow light appeared because of the smoke. I made four images, then the light was gone...

I have learned to follow my feelings, the right side of my brain, each and every day, with life, with my family, and with my photography too. Here are two more captures made in Rock Creek Canyon this year. They will both be at the Labor Day Show here in Mammoth.

All the best,

Vern and Margaret