Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Favorite Places: From Readers & Pros
For real estate and nature photography, there’s nothing as important as location. Check out this selection of diverse places around the country so you can be in the right place to get your shots.
* George D. Lepp, Mono Lake, California
I’ve been photographing in California’s Eastern Sierras for more than 25 years. Some of the highest mountains in the country surround the unique, highly saline Mono Lake, an important link on the Pacific Flyway. Eerie mineral formations, called tufas, rise from the lake and adorn its sandy shores, hosting nesting birds and inviting photography at sunrise and sunset. In spring (June), wildflowers cover the slopes above the lake, and cavity-nesting birds claim the aspen groves. Summer offers opportunities for landscapes and waterscapes, with ponds, waterfalls and even glaciers in the high country, which display abundant wildflowers well into August. The cloud formations from summer thunderstorms over ice-capped peaks make for dramatic scenes. Fall is colorful in the watershed canyons and beaver ponds above the lake, with abundant displays of aspen, willow and cottonwood. Winter brings occasional snow to the Eastern Sierras and adds a sparkling dressing to the tufa formations in the lake. With this great diversity of subjects and moods, the Mono Basin offers more opportunities for nature photographers than any other place in California.
Essential Gear: The whole bag, from wide-angles for landscapes to telephotos for birds. Don’t forget your tripod!
Getting There: Mono Lake is located on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada along U.S. Highway 395, 138 miles (three hours) south of Reno, Nev. During the summer and until about October, Mono Lake can be reached by driving on U.S. Highway 120 through Yosemite National Park. This route through Yosemite and over Tioga Pass is always worth some images. Lodging for your Mono Lake expedition is available in Lee Vining, June Lake or Mammoth Lakes, Calif.
This image of a lone sandhill crane silhouetted against a glorious sunrise was captured at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in central New Mexico. With more than 340 species of birds and the winter home to more than 10,000 cranes and up to 40,000 snow geese, Bosque del Apache is one of the premier birding refuges in the United States. Located near the small town of San Antonio, N.M., “the Bosque” is about a 90-mile drive south of Albuquerque on I-25. The best photography of the cranes and geese is during the “fly-out” at sunrise, as well as during the late-afternoon “fly-in.” At sunrise, the 30,000 to 40,000 snow geese take off “en masse,” providing one of nature’s finest shows. Canon EOS 20D, Canon EF 100-400mm ƒ/4.5-5.6L
Moro Rock is an excellent place to photograph the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the Great Western Divide at sunrise and sunset during any time of the year. I personally prefer the peace and solitude during the winter months. You have a 360-degree view of the mountains, forests and valley below. Along the way, you’ll see many groves of giant sequoias, which look especially impressive against the snow. When snow is present, you’ll have to snowshoe or cross-country ski the two miles to get there. Canon EOS 20D, Canon EF 100-400mm ƒ/4.5-5.6L
I’m a hiking/backcountry enthusiast, so I decided to take the hike up to Guadalupe Peak, the highest mountain in Texas, and take some pictures at sunset. This image was taken from the summit, with El Capitan just below in the foreground. It’s about a four-mile hike with about 3,000 feet of elevation gain. That did require use of a headlamp on the way down. Desert views are endless from the top of Texas, though it can be very windy; winds howl all the time in the Guadalupes. Late fall is a good time to go to see the incredible foliage display in McKittrick Canyon, near the western edge of the Guadalupe Mountains National Park. Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT, Canon EF-S 18-55mm ƒ/3.5-5.6
Note: * denotes pro photographer
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