I can never get over the vast amount of variety you see in the United States. In just a few short hours, we went from the crazy action-packed city of Las Vegas to the tranquil, beautiful Mono Lake area. This stop was a first for both me and Ben, and there was an added bonus because we were able to coordinate our days there with a night photography workshop. One of Ben’s favorite styles of shooting is light-painting, so he was totally psyched, and he made it a point to go to all the classes/lectures that were being offered.
While Ben was in “class,” I went exploring, of course! The ghost town of Bodie was an hour from where we were staying near Mono Lake and completely worth the drive! It’s literally a town frozen in time, and well preserved as it is also a state park. There were so many interesting things to shoot there, from old buildings, to funky trucks, to gritty textures. The place is a photographer’s dream (which probably explains all the tripods that were out there!). In fact, as a photographer on my first trip to Bodie, it was a little hard to focus when I arrived there. My thought process went: “Oh that’s cool! Must shoot! *click click click*… Oh no! That’s cooler. Let me go over there! *click click click* Oh no wait!…..” You get my drift. Anyway, you really have to pick one thing, focus on it, shoot it, then move on. After being there a bit, and then returning the next day, I learned this.
I was also pleasantly surprised to run into photographer and Kelby Training Instructor Bill Fortney while I was in Bodie. I was literally just shooting away when we ended up shooting the same building and I recognized him. What coincidence! We chatted for a bit and then met up the next morning, again in Bodie.
I also went to visit the South Tufas on Mono Lake, which are these very interesting rock formations growing out of the water and the surrounding beaches. I was there at the wrong time, mid day, and the character of the rocks made it so the light was very harsh, even in the HDR images. We should be returning to Mono Lake again in the next week or so, and I hope to get back when the light is a bit prettier. They were still amazing to see though.
One of the highlights from our stay in the Mono Lake area was the night shoot in Bodie. The night photography workshop got special permission to shoot there after the park closed, from 8 pm to 1 am. It was my first real taste of light painting and I had a blast! Even though it was really cold (which we know is usually a no-go for me) I hung in there so that I could shoot these awesome buildings in the dark.