Tag Archives: tufa

New on 500px : Fire Wisps by Pcoskun by Pcoskun

I’ve gone through pretty much all of my images from my Eastern Sierra trip, and am now wanting to get back out and explore and photograph new scenes. This is another image from mono lake. I had found this composition prior to sunset and saw how the clouds were building up right above the scene. Right at sunset, the high clouds caught the fiery oranges and reds of sunset and reflected onto the tufa formations and water itself.

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New on 500px : Fairytale by Shainblum by Shainblum

View on black!

There are few things I enjoy more than shooting a beautiful clear night sky, but when greeted by a dreamlike alien world such as Mono Lake, suddenly the experience is elevated. Here’s a new one, it’s a simple exposure, subtle and dark. I really hope you guys enjoy viewing as much as I did shooting it.

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New on 500px : Spires of Searles Lake by projas by projas

Thanksgiving weekend 2013. I didn’t really have anyone to celebrate with, so I made plans to hit Trona and then Death Valley for a weekend of camping and photography.
Having made several trips to the Trona Pinnacles already and getting less than ideal conditions or just blowing the shot, I wasn’t overly enthusiastic about it, or waking up at 1am to make the drive there before sunrise. While I’d normally be in a panic to get out the door as soon as possible, this time I hit the snooze button at least a couple of times, didn’t get out of bed till my girlfriend called from the Philippines, took my sweet time in the shower, and didn’t really feel the need to rush while packing my camping gear (which I should’ve packed the night before). The forecast called for heavy clouds and thunderstorms, but if it was like any of the other times I’d been there, I’d just get thick clouds and the sun would get socked in at the horizon. I didn’t hit the road till past 2.
Fast forward 3 hours later, and I’m going as fast as I can without flying off the road, keeping my eyes on the sky, and watching the distance on my GPS dwindle down way too slow. It was still about an hour before sunrise, but the sky was already catching strong hints of red in the distance. I already knew what a big mistake I had made. I was going to make it for sunrise, but by then it would be too late. Seeing how the color was evolving, I knew I had to be there at least 30 minutes before the sun peaked. That wasn’t going to happen.
By the time I turned off the highway and onto the 5-mile dirt road, the ground was already reflecting color. The sky had turned from dark grey to reddish-magenta, and then to an intense crimson red in mere minutes. I couldn’t believe my eyes as the landscape was slowly enveloped in a soft pink glow. Pink! It was unreal! It was mesmerizing to the point that I didn’t realize I was driving 50mph on a rugged dirt road. As the road curved, the vehicle began skidding on the loose rock. Surprised, I eased my foot off the gas and accepted the fact that I was about to miss the most insane sunrise I’d seen all year. The light was still going off as I entered the main section of the Pinnacles, but it would still be at least 5 minutes of slow crawling before getting to the formations I wanted to shoot. There was a guy in the distance with a tripod, and I just had to smile. Yup… that guy knows what time it is. I felt so stupid. At that moment, I was the worst landscape photographer on the planet. After making my way across a couple of dry washes, I drove passed him. We exchanged greetings, and I hurriedly drove to some comps I’d previously shot. I had missed the best of it, but I figured I’d at least try to salvage whatever was left. The skies above me had already mostly faded, but there was still some light in the distance, so I grabbed a 70-200mm to compress the distant sky into the scene. Shot for about 5 minutes and I was done.
The gentleman with the tripod approached a few minutes later, and I came to find out it was Marc Briggs. We decided to grab breakfast in Olancha, and later that day, I met up again with him and Jean Day in Death Valley. They ended up adopting me for the holiday weekend, and they showed me what the true meaning of Thanksgiving was. I had the greatest time in the desert hanging out with them, and whatever disappointment I had at Trona was quickly forgotten, along with the photos, which I really didn’t take a look at again until just a few days ago. Seven months was all it took for me to appreciate that I’d managed to capture some decent light that morning.

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New on 500px : Tufa Taffy by Pcoskun by Pcoskun

Nothing too special here. Sunset light paints mono lakes tufa formations in pink and orange hues.

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New on 500px : Wonders Below by goldpaintphotography by goldpaintphotography

Tufa (too’-fah) is essentially common limestone. What is uncommon about this limestone is the way it forms. Typically, underwater springs rich in calcium (the stuff in your bones) mix with lakewater rich in carbonates (the stuff in baking soda). As the calcium comes in contact with carbonates in the lake, a chemical reaction occurs resulting in calcium carbonate–limestone. The calcium carbonate precipitates (settles out of solution as a solid) around the spring, and over the course of decades to centuries, a tufa tower will grow. Tufa towers grow exclusively underwater, and some grow to heights of over 30 feet. The reason visitors see so much tufa around Mono Lake today is because the lake level fell dramatically after water diversions began in 1941.

You can read more about Mono Lake by visiting The Mono Lake Committee’s Website.

If you’re interested in joining me out in the field, there are still a few spaces left in our 2014 schedule. Visit our 2014 Night Sky Photography Workshops page for more info.

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New on 500px : Breathe by Shainblum by Shainblum


Please View On Black!!!!

The Mono Lake Tufa Towers really trigger my creativity. Its a place filled with an endless maze of photographic compositions. The best part is its extremely dark skies. Walking around feels like another planet, its a place where you can stop thinking about the everyday worries and just enjoy the alien landscape complemented by vivid star filled skies.

Thanks for checking it out, if you enjoy the image please do me a favor and share it around. 🙂

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