Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The East Side of the Sierras is Beautiful

Why “Notes to My Mother”? My mother was the one person in my life who was always interested in what I was doing, what I had to say, who I was. She was never too busy to listen and take an interest. Never critical, always accepting. Even when I was wrong or misguided, there would still be a gentle interested listener present. Though she has been gone over 6 years, I still get the urge to write or call her, to share an image I am proud of or share my latest adventure to some beautiful place. I know she would love to hear about it.

My mother was an artist. She painted most of her life, right up to her passing at the age of 96. When I was 4 years old we lived on the east side of the Sierra Nevada Range. She would take me out to paint with her - she with her easel, me with mine - and we would sit together creating our art. While I gave up on the medium she kept at it. Then, in the year she passed I picked up a digital camera and began my adventure into the world of landscape photography.

This area is full of nostalgia

Here’s an image I’m sure she would like, it is a picture of Convict Lake, located very near to where we lived and sketched together. Last year on my way to the White Mountains, I stayed a couple days in Mammoth. One morning I got up before dawn and went to the lake hoping to capture an image before the winds picked up as I wanted some reflection in the water. I had scouted the area the day before so I knew where I wanted to be for my first shot.



After capturing this image the lake was still calm so I went down closer to the water’s edge and set up with my tripod. In all of the times I have visited this lake the wind has always been blowing preventing the surface of the water from reflecting the surrounding beauty. This morning I was in luck, getting just what I was hoping for.


This area is full of nostalgia for me, not just the sights, but also the smells. Funny how the memory of a smell can stay with a person. For me it’s the sage. The smell of the sagebrush takes me right back to those childhood days. Sage and the smell of skunks. As long as they’re not too close, I love the smell of a skunk. We had lots of skunks around our home as they would nest under people’s houses. We didn’t have any under ours but they were definitely in the neighborhood and would come out at night, leaving their calling card in the cool night air. Weird how that smell thing works. Taps right in to old memories. Sagebrush, skunks and painting with my mother.