Today I saw a post from a photographer I admire, Peter West Carey where he mentioned he had never been to Mono Lake. I was surprised, as he seems to be up and down the west coast often. And I’m just plain surprised when I hear that someone hasn’t been to one of my favorite places. I love it and go often – so should everyone, right? 🙂

Honestly I’m glad it’s a bit out of the way, it keeps the crowds down, even in summer.  All of the Mono Lake Basin is a beautiful and unique place to visit any time of year. If you are a birder, it’s one of the major west coast stops for migrating birds – over 300 species pass through the area.

In the summer it can go from clear and sunny to thunderstorms in minutes.

Mono Lake, Summer, Flowers, wildflowers, Mono County

Rabbitbrush on a Sunny Summer afternoon at Mono Lake, California

Mono Lake on a moody afternoon. Monochrome, Mono County

Mono Lake on a moody afternoon.

The two photographs above were taken less than 15 minutes apart. While the editing contributed to the very different mood, the weather was rapidly changing that afternoon.

In winter it can be bitter cold, windy and snowy.

Winter snow squall over Mono Lake, California, Monochrom, storm, black and white, snow, , Mono County

Winter snow squall over Mono Lake, California

Storm Light on Tufas at Mono Lake, California, Mono County

Storm Light on Tufas at Mono Lake, California

The two photographs above were taken during a late winter snow squall. The great thing about visiting this time of year is you will likely have the place to yourselves. The downside is many of the places above the lake are inaccessible due to snow.

Sunrise is one of my favorite times to photograph Mono Lake.

You never know what sort of colors you’ll get, and even in the summer it’s quiet and very few  crowds. (no one but a photographer is crazy enough to get up at 4am)

Sunrise at Mono Lake, California, Mono County

Sunrise at Mono Lake, California,

Sunrise is also a great time to play with ICM

The salinity and springs create currents in the water that reflect light differently. The photo above shows that a bit with the bands of blue and peach.

ICM Sunrise at Mono Lake, California, Intentional Camera Movement, Abstract, Mono County

ICM Sunrise at Mono Lake, California

ICM Sunrise at Mono Lake, California, abstract, dawn, Mono County

ICM Sunrise at Mono Lake, California,

While the photo above looks like a stormy sea, it really was quite calm. The two photos were shot only 3 minutes apart. This is why I love ICM (Intentional Camera Movement) so much – you have an idea of what you’ll get, but often it’s a surprise. A small change in exposure can also dramatically change the image. The first image is 1/6 second, the bottom one is 1 sec.

There’s so much to explore in and around here! Please see my Sierra Nevada gallery for more images.

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