The 2018-2019 season started slowly, but has come really strong in February; there has been over thirty feet of snow at Mammoth Mountain. It seems that when one of these "atmospheric rivers” gets started, the weather pattern moves south, drenching the southern part of California and plastering Mammoth Mountain and Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Parks. For people who live here, there isn’t even much time for skiing. The roads are terrible—for part of February, state route 203 in town was rated "R3,” meaning chains required on ALL vehicles even 4WD with snow tires! There are decks and roofs to be shoveled, and even getting food is difficult. Even with all of this I don't think the snow is quite as deep as 2017, but we have months to go in this winter. Enough of the bad stuff—there were good images to be made!
I must have driven by this spot at Conway Summit hundreds of times in my lifetime. It is a natural Autumn location for captures, but I have never been satisfied with my efforts, or really anyone else’s either. It does not seem to photograph really well. I had done several photographs here during the fall, and while considering other options, it became obvious to me that the winter months were more promising. What did I need? A dusting of early snow? A blue-bird day? Clouds? The golden hour? The blue hour? Maybe something more? The answer came to be when I was driving to Reno to pick up my daughter, Sabrina, at the airport. There was soft mid-day light after a light storm. I made the trip back the next time the conditions seemed to be just so, and I was rewarded with even more; all the aspen trees were coated with a heavy coating of rime from the fog at Mono Lake the night before. It was an amazing view, one I will remember forever.