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H Peter Ji
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Simply pleasing to eye

JMT DAY 10 - SUNRISE AT SILVER PASS LAKE

Sunrise at Silver Pass Lake

When I peeked out of my tent, it was still dark and definitely chilly. I knew that daybreak was still a half hour away but that it was time to get moving.

I grabbed my gear and hurriedly headed over the huge rock near the outlet of the lake. I had already climbed to the top and scouted the area the day before, so I knew that I would have a great view of the layers of mountains in the east. From Mt. Gabb (13,741’) on the left to Mt. Hilgard (13,361’) all the way to Mt. Hooper (12,349’) on the right.

Once it was done, I quickly returned to the lake and set up my camera to capture the glow on the ridge in the west side of the lake. To my pleasant surprise, the calm water reflected the rocky ridgeline that ran all the way to Silver Pass like mirror. It was simply pleasing to the eye.

I wished I had had more time to stick around and enjoy the morning, but it was time to pack up and get on with the day. We had a bit of distance to cover (just over 7 miles) to reach the east end of Thomas Edison Lake to catch a ferry.

Our destination - VVR.

Silver Pass Lake, Sierra National Forest, CA

https://www.hpeterjiphotography.com/Landscapes/Landscapes/i-xTtr86g/A

#adventure, #AnselAdamsWilderness, #backcountry, #bluesky, #California, #Californialandscape, #CanonEOS, #JMT, #JMT2018, #JohnMuirTrail, #lake, #landscape, #landscapephotography, #longexposure, #nature, #noclouds, #outdoors, #reflection, #ridge, #seekingsolitude, #SierraNationalForest, #SierraNevada, #SilverPass, #SilverPassLake, #solitude, #sunrise, #sunriseglow, #thruhike, #tranquility, #water, #wilderness
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What Mother Nature had in mind

JMT DAY 9 - STAR TRAILS OVER SILVER PASS LAKE

Star trails over Silver Pass Lake

Once done with the shots of the Milky Way over Silver Pass Lake facing southwest, I repositioned and pointed my cameras in the direction of Silver Pass. As expected, Polaris, aka the North Star, was hung brightly along with the Little Dipper and Big Dipper above the pass.

The nonstop gale of winds continuously stirred the lake, while the howling echoed through this empty basin, that the reflection of the star trails was completely out of the question. What Mother Nature had in mind was certainly not a tranquil lake into the night.

While the sky remained clear, I soon realized that it was not just the winds that got me shivering, despite the layers of clothing. The dropping temperature made me wish that my sleeping bag was one of the items that I brought with me there.

Part of me kept wanting to call it a night and head back to camp since I knew it was a losing battle. No one wants to hypothermia to happen, and I certainly did not. It almost did once in the past, and I remembered how bad it was.

But, as is often the case, I stick around a bit longer. I really wanted to take as many shots as possible for star trails.

Silver Pass Lake, Sierra National Forest, CA

https://www.hpeterjiphotography.com/Landscapes/Astrophotography/i-BVzqBFz/A

#adventure, #astrophotography, #BigDipper, #California, #Californialandscape, #CanonEOS, #JMT, #JMT2018, #JohnMuirTrail, #landscape, #landscapephotography, #LittleDipper, #longexposure, #nature, #nightsky, #NorthStar, #outdoors, #Polaris, #seekingsolitude, #SierraNationalForest, #SierraNevada, #SignmaPhoto #SilverPass, #SilverPassLake, #startrails, #stars, #thruhike, #tranquility, #water, #wilderness
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Lonesome gazer at lake

JMT DAY 9 - MILKY WAY OVER SILVER PASS LAKE

Milky Way over Silver Pass Lake

By the time when we arrived at Silver Pass, which offered us a spectacular view, an excessive amount of clouds were rolling in the area fast, and the winds started picking up in every direction, as if it didn’t make up its mind.

We hurriedly tramped down the pass and soon reached Silver Pass Lake. It was quite windy and we definitely felt that a shower was in store. It wasn’t easy to find a spot where our camp could be sheltered in behind trees, but eventually we found one, and a quick downpour was only a few seconds away from completing our camp setup.

This long lake that sat at the foot of Silver Pass was quite barren with no trees. The winds swept through the basin like a wind tunnel. The part of the shore where I ended up to capture the Milky Way offered no protection from the winds, and I had to just toughen it out in my layered clothes. Part of me really wished that I had brought my sleeping bag with me to keep myself warm.

As expected the galaxy, led by Jupiter, appeared and traversed the sky, and soon Mars followed. The elongated reflection of the red planet in the water looked quite mesmerizing. As if the glow was trying to reach out to the lonesome gazer at the lake.

Silver Pass Lake, Sierra National Forest, CA

https://www.hpeterjiphotography.com/Landscapes/Astrophotography/i-XN7jLf2/A

#adventure, #astrophotography, #California, #Californialandscape, #CanonEOS, #galaxy, #JMT, #JMT2018, #JohnMuirTrail, #landscape, #landscapephotography, #longexposure, #Mars, #MilkyWay, #nature, #nightsky, #outdoors, #reflection, #seekingsolitude, #SierraNationalForest, #SierraNevada, #SignmaPhoto #SilverPass, #SilverPassLake, #stars, #thruhike, #tranquility, #water, #wilderness
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Solitude of afternoon

JMT DAY 9 - CLOUDS LINGERING OVER CHIEF LAKE

Clouds lingering over Chief Lake

Before reaching Silver Pass, I made a stop at Chief Lake, one of the lakes below the pass. Although it was not a small lake, not a single soul was around enjoying the view. It seemed like one of those lakes no one stopped to enjoy, just like Hitchcock Lakes below Trail Crest. It only meant that I kept it all to myself and enjoyed solitude of afternoon. What a beautiful lake.

At first the winds that constantly blew didn’t let me capture the reflection of the ridge surrounding the lake below the pass. So, I considered doing long exposure. But, I had to keep up with my JMT buddy Henry. So, I decided to go against it.

Very brief moments of calmness came and went, and I saw the clouds forming super fast over the ridge. It was quite exhilarating to watch how quickly these clouds form and dissipate over and over. Such a beautiful and awe-inspiring imagery can turn the whole place upside down in a matter of minutes. I really hoped that they wouldn’t turn into rain clouds till I at least reached the pass. And they did didn’t.

I wished I had had more time at the lake. But I knew I had to go. I reluctantly packed away my gear and put on my heavy backpack.

Chief Lake, Sierra National Forest, CA

https://www.hpeterjiphotography.com/Landscapes/Landscapes/i-fJGdbJK/A

#A7III, #adventure, #AnselAdamsWilderness, #backcountry, #California, #Californialandscape, #ChiefLake, #clouds, #JMT, #JMT2018, #JohnMuirTrail, #lake, #landscape, #landscapephotography, #mountainview, #mountains, #nature, #outdoors, #reflection, #ridge, #seekingsolitude, #solitude, #SierraNevada, #SierraNationalForest, #thruhike, #tranquility, #water, #wilderness
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What enveloped my ears

JMT DAY 8 - MILKY WAY OVER DUCK TULLY HOLE

Milky Way over Tully Hole

Dusk turned into night. And as I expected, the Milky Way slowly faded into view in the middle of the sky over the rocky ridge line. I knew I didn’t have a whole lot of time capturing it from where I was because the pines by the creek jutted up high into the sky would blot out the view of the galactic core.

The sound of Fish Creek rushing was more deafening as the night got darker. And yet the sky seemed brighter as more stars coming out. Soon my eyes were fully adjusted to what was surrounding me again.

While my eyes were fixated at the galaxy in silent wonderment, what enveloped my ears was the resonance of the forest… Pines and Spruces exhaling through the cool air, the creek swirling and swerving slowly carving out its path, the hollow branches crackling and twigs breaking nonstop...

Then, my mind slowly drifted away and started wondering how often Tully Hole was visited by furry omnivores. So far we had not run into any of them, and we hoped it stayed that way. In spite of our bear canisters.

The damp forest felt colder as the temperature further dropped. The galaxy rose quite perpendicularly to Earth. It was time to call it a night.

Tully Hole, Sierra National Forest, CA

https://www.hpeterjiphotography.com/Landscapes/Astrophotography/i-rX8Lkwz/A

#adventure, #astrophotography, #California, #Californialandscape, #CanonEOS, #creek, #FishCreek, #forest, #galaxy, #JMT, #JMT2018, #JohnMuirTrail, #landscape, #landscapephotography, #longexposure, #MilkyWay, #nature, #nightsky, #outdoors, #Pines, #seekingsolitude, #SierraNationalForest, #SierraNevada, #Spruces, #stars, #thruhike, #tranquility, #trees, #TullyHole, #water, #wilderness
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Suffused with pink

JMT DAY 8 - TULLY HOLE AT SUNSET

Tully Hole at sunset

When we arrived at Tully Hole, where the JMT meets the trail to McGee Pass, the light sprinkling, which had already begun since we left Lake Virginia, turned into a shower. Thankfully though the dense forest sheltered us a little bit while setting up our camp.

Once the rain stopped, hikers holed up inside their tents the whole time since we got there started crawling out. By then we were already done with our dinner and started scouting the area. My hope was to cross Fish Creek, running parallel to the creek till it diverged into Cascade Valley, and to find a higher vantage point where I could frame the area with the sun in the background.

But no footbridge nor log to cross was in sight. The rapidly flowing water didn’t look safe even without camera gear. So, instead of any attempt in vain, I plodded down the trail for about 200 yards till this clearing presented itself. To my eye it was also perfect for night sky.

I hopped down the slope toward the creek and set up my cameras fairly close to the water. But, as I waited, the glow that I had expected to see cast on the rocky ridge never materialized. I suspected that the lingering clouds in the west sky must have diffused the light.

To my pleasant surprise though, the clouds hovering overhead got suffused with pink.

Tully Hole, Sierra National Forest, CA

https://www.hpeterjiphotography.com/Landscapes/Landscapes/i-VrzJWnf/A

#adventure, #AnselAdamsWilderness, #backcountry, #California, #Californialandscape, #CanonEOS, #clouds, #creek, #FishCreek, #forest, #JMT, #JMT2018, #JohnMuirTrail, #landscape, #landscapephotography, #longexposure, #mountainview, #mountains, #nature, #outdoors, #rocks, #seekingsolitude, #solitude, #SierraNevada, #SierraNationalForest, #sunset, #sunsetglow, #thruhike, #tranquility, #TullyHole, #water, #wilderness
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Lost myself

JMT DAY 8 - SUNRISE AT DUCK LAKE

Sunrise at Duck Lake

When I awoke, the stars still shone in the sky. But, not for long, thinking to myself, I hurriedly walked to the lookout point off of the trail. Catching the sunrise glow cast on Silver Divide was my first objective. I had my eye on this divide as we were coming up the day before. The pale ridge line juxtaposed against the gorgeous Earth’s Shadow started glowing fast in bright red. It was truly a sublime moment.

Once the glow faded, I packed up my gear and ambled back to the lake. The glow that would be cast on the northeast slope of the lake where the trail continued crossing diagonally toward Mammoth Crest, aka Duck Lake Pass, was next. The manzanitas and trees concentrated along the shore added an extra layer of texture.

Like many, I am such a sucker for tranquil reflections of the mountains in the water. And it was no different here. Before the wind started disturbing the mirror-like reflection, I completely lost myself in such a mesmerizing moment.

Duck Lake, Sierra National Forest, CA

https://www.hpeterjiphotography.com/Landscapes/Landscapes/i-9mvKrWZ/A

#adventure, #AnselAdamsWilderness, #backcountry, #California, #Californialandscape, #CanonEOS, #DuckLake, #JMT, #JMT2018, #JohnMuirTrail, #lake, #landscape, #landscapephotography, #longexposure, #mountainview, #mountains, #nature, #outdoors, #seekingsolitude, #SierraNationalForest, #SierraNevada, #solitude, #sunrise, #sunriseglow, #thruhike, #tranquility, #water, #wilderness
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Straight out of fairy tale

JMT DAY 7 - MILKY WAY AND PERSEIDS OVER DUCK LAKE OUTLET

Milky Way and Perseids over Duck Lake outlet

On my way back to the campsite after taking shots of the Milky Way with a higher vantage point, the mesmerizing reflection of the galaxy at the outlet of Duck Lake literally stopped me. It was getting late, but I just couldn’t take my eyes off of it.

The shallow outlet filled with fallen trees as if beavers created a dam and brimmed with tall trees that blocked high winds seemed to be just a perfect sanctuary for solitude. With the sky lit up with the stars, the purple wildflower decorated pool seemed like straight out of a fairy tale.

With the backdrop of the galaxy traveling across the sky strewn with thousands of stars, the Perseid Meteor Shower continued. I never got tired of counting them in wonderment. Mars seemed to be shining brighter than usual that night although the red planet must’ve traveled farther away from us since a couple of months ago when it was at the closest distance to Earth.

Part of me wanted to stick around a bit longer to enjoy solitude here, but I knew better. I had to get up early next morning to catch sunrise.

Duck Lake, Sierra National Forest, CA

https://www.hpeterjiphotography.com/Landscapes/Astrophotography/i-pjbBpC9/A

#adventure, #astrophotography, #California, #Californialandscape, #CanonEOS, #creek, #DuckLake, #galaxy, #JMT, #JMT2018, #JohnMuirTrail, #landscape, #landscapephotography, #longexposure, #meteorshower, #meteoroids, #MilkyWay, #nature, #nightsky, #outdoors, #Perseids, #seekingsolitude, #SierraNationalForest, #SierraNevada, #stars, #thruhike, #tranquility, #trees, #water, #wilderness
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Could not have been timed any better

JMT DAY 7 - MILKY WAY OVER DUCK LAKE

Milky Way over Duck Lake

It was getting dark fast at Duck Lake once the sun fell behind the mountains. The twilight sky was clear of clouds, and the winds stopped blowing fairly often to let the stars shine in the water.

In order to capture the reflection of the Milky Way, I knew I had to be on the opposite side of the lake (as opposed to the outlet of the lake where most of the campsites were), so I decided to hike up the trail towards Mammoth Crest, aka Duck Lake Pass. I didn’t know how far up the trail that I had to trek to find a spot.

By the time I was settled down on a huge slab in the talus off the trail, which was precarious, to say the least, the reflection of the galaxy was almost reaching the lakeshore. I quickly set up my cameras.

In the company of Mars, Jupiter and meteoroids, the galactic core shone brightly and was majestically traversing across the heavenly body. The Perseid Meteor Shower continued throughout the night, which I lost count after a while.

Although I enjoy this particular meteor shower every August, I thought to myself that it could not have been timed any better than this night to witness the spectacular astronomical event unfolding before my eyes.

Duck Lake, Sierra National Forest, CA

https://www.hpeterjiphotography.com/Landscapes/Astrophotography/i-fdfkkdQ/A

#adventure, #astrophotography, #California, #Californialandscape, #CanonEOS, #creek, #DuckLake, #galaxy, #JMT, #JMT2018, #JohnMuirTrail, #landscape, #landscapephotography, #longexposure, #meteorshower, #meteoroids, #MilkyWay, #nature, #nightsky, #outdoors, #Perseids, #seekingsolitude, #SierraNationalForest, #SierraNevada, #stars, #thruhike, #tranquility, #trees, #water, #wilderness
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Worth every drop of sweat

JMT DAY 7 - DUCK LAKE AT SUNSET

Duck Lake at sunset

The day’s hike from Deer Creek to Duck Lake was not long but consisted of a stretch of long and gradual incline and a mile long steep incline of multiple switchbacks from Duck Lake Junction to the lake. The clouds hovering over us and sprinkling on us while going up worried us a bit, but they mostly stayed on the other side of the lake by the time when we were done setting up our camp.

The lake was simply beautiful. No wonder why it attracted quite a few day hikers over Mammoth Crest, aka Duck Lake Pass, from Mammoth Lakes. I had no idea how close the lake was from the town. Although it was never one of resupply options we considered, a hiker just returning from the town after resupply pickup shared some ideas.

The glow cast on the southeast ridge line was quite intense. And I thought to myself that it was worth every drop of sweat that I shed while going up the last mile from the junction. The winds that had been blowing pretty much all day were eventually dying down just in time for the sunset.

Wondered if they were the permanent residents of this lake when we saw a flock of six ducks earlier although none of them was around at sunset. Also wondered how the name of the lake came about.

Duck Lake, Sierra National Forest, CA

https://www.hpeterjiphotography.com/John-Muir-Trail-2018/i-nJN7vws/A

#adventure, #AnselAdamsWilderness, #backcountry, #California, #Californialandscape, #CanonEOS, #DuckLake, #JMT, #JMT2018, #JohnMuirTrail, #lake, #landscape, #landscapephotography, #longexposure, #Mammoth, #mountainview, #mountains, #nature, #outdoors, #rocks, #seekingsolitude, #SierraNevada, #SierraNationalForest, #sunset, #sunsetglow, #thruhike, #tranquility, #water, #wilderness

#LandscapePhotography +Landscape Photography curated by +Margaret Tompkins +Eric Drumm +Chandler L. Walker +Krzysztof Felczak +AJ Lim +Jeff Beddow +H Peter Ji +Jani Westman +Dorma Wiggin +Ranco Sevla Sevla
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