Dan's Outside

I go, I see, I do, I walk, I think, I like…

Dusy Basin Dawn

DusyDawnBW2005|08|14: Dawn. Dusy Basin. August 14, 2005. © Copyright Dan Mitchell.
Dawn. Dusy Basin. August 14, 2005. © Copyright Dan Mitchell.

Sometimes there is a story behind a photo.

Last summer I started a 14-day pack trip in the central Sierra Nevada with a group of friends. On the fifth day I didn’t feel well, so I walked out over Duck Pass to a roadend at Mammoth. And, of course, I felt fine once I got out…

I drove back home, disappointed that I had to leave the trip. On the other hand, I got to spend some unexpected time with my family and I attended my niece’s wedding, which I would otherwise have missed.

A few days later I decided that it would be cool to hike in and meet the party near the end of the trip. I packed up and drove to the Sierra, car-camped the first night, and trudged over Bishop Pass the next day. I camped below the pass in upper Dusy Basin.

The next morning I packed up and headed down stream to a lake where I figured I might meet them as they climbed up out of Le Conte Canyon. I took of my pack and sat on a rock eating lunch as they arrived. My friend Caroline was first and I’ll never forget the shocked look on her face when she saw me. Shortly after, the rest of the group arrived and I followed them, trying desparately to keep up this bunch of totally acclimated hikers.

That night we camped in upper Dusy Basin at the same lake I had camped at the previous night. It looked like rain for awhile but, somewhat surprisingly, it cleared in the late afternoon – and I got one of my all-time favorite photographs.

The next morning my friends were in a white heat to get over the pass and out to civilization – they needed showers, good food, and all the other things they had missed for two weeks. So, this group of hikers that two weeks earlier had typically hit the trail at about 10:00 a.m. was up before the sun and on the trail as the sun rose.

The light – as it often is at this time of day in this part of the Sierra – was astonishing, and the air was absolutely clear. As we walked past this small lake on our way to the trail to the pass I took out my tripod and spent 15 minutes capturing images, hurrying because I knew that the group was not going to be patient.

After I got back I liked the images but they didn’t quite “click” for me. (You can see an earlier version of one of them here.) Today I was doing an end-of-year review of hundreds (OK, thousands) of images and this one caught my eye. First I tried it as a color image. On a lark I thought I’d see what it looked like in black and white – and I think it works better that way.


December 18, 2005 - Posted by | Sierra Nevada

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