Wednesday, December 28, 2011

December Trip West - Day 11 - Lone Pine, Fossil Falls


Last night I decided to leave Death Valley and head to Lone Pine and do sunrise in the Alabama Hills.  I'd shot in the Alabama Hills once before a few years ago with my brother Ralph on one of his Eastern Sierra workshops.  Many movies have been made in these hills and you have a wonderful view of Mt Whitney rising above all other peaks in the Sierra Nevadas, and the lower 48 states.

I've been staying in Motel 6es for two reason, cost and they are pet friendly.  But Lone Pine doesn't have a Motel 6 so I stayed in the Comfort Inn.  When I opened the door to my room it almost blew me over with pictures on the walls, a nice chair with ottoman, desk and exec chair.  Pretty fancy.  Another thing they have is a continental breakfast.  I had planned to get to my shooting location an hour before the 7:05am sunrise.  But breakfast was being served at 6:00am so I decided to stop off there "quickly".  French waffles, scrambled eggs, biscuits and gravy, etc, well it took me longer than I'd planned.

Once I did hit the road it only takes 10-15 to get to the shooting spot.  I found a location and watched the alpenglow light up the mountains.  Alpenglow is the illumination of high mountains before the sunlight actually his them.  This is the second time I've knowingly seen it.


After an hour or so of shooting, until the light got really flat, I headed back to the hotel, packed up and headed south.  Ralph had told be about Fossil Falls which was just off the highway.  I had time so I stopped.  The Owens Valley is home to ancient volcanic activity.  Fossil Falls is a lava field thru which the Owens River flowed.  The river doesn't flow any more but it's obvious looking at the falls torrents of water flowed over the 40 ft high fall.  The lava has been polished and carved into interesting shapes.  It would be fun to shoot there on an overcast day to even the light out.  A clear blue day such as today is just to contrasty.

As I was leaving Fossil Falls I accelerated to get into traffic when my Check Engine light came on.  This happened a few months ago and it turned out to be a bad oxygen sensor, that took a week to get in stock.  The car ran fine and after the previous experience I didn't worry much.  But when the Check Engine light comes on the cruise control is disabled.  I have a very difficult time driving long distances without cruise control and the nearest Subaru dealer was over 100 miles away.  When I finally did get to the Subaru dealer it turned out to be a software problem which they were able to fix on the spot.  Was that ever a relief. 

From there is was a few more hours and I was at my brothers house ready to spend Christmas with my girl and my family.



  1. which region where they nice moutains and trasures are located. Please follow me on my blog Fossils for kids

  2. Incredible looking place, I like how the rocks appear to be all different colours!