I had been wanting to get some sunrise shots from Mono Lake for a while and finally got up there a few days ago.
Since I’m not an early riser, I was going to have to make it a late night. I left San Diego about 10:30pm and parked at Mono Lake, South Tufa Trail-head about 5:45am; It was still dark and about 17°f.
I made my way down to the south end of the lake and to say I was amazed by the scenery would be an understatement. This was the first time I had seen the tufa towers and the lake up close.
The first shot was taken while it was still pretty dark out. Mist was starting to rise off of the lake and the sky was just starting to lighten up.
I was setting this next shot up as the second shot,
When I glanced back over my shoulder and saw this:
The sun wasn’t up yet, so I was able to get these at a longer exposure. The white on the tufa is salt; Mono Lake is a salt water lake.
As the sun came up, colors started to change…and exposure times started to shorten.
One more with the sun shining on the mountains in the background.
I had a great time shooting Mono Lake. It was cold and there was ice forming on my camera as I got back to the truck, but it was worth the long drive and low temps.
Here’s a little info about Mono Lake and the tufa towers:
The tufa towers are calcium carbonate limestone that forms when certain chemical conditions are met, and only grows under water. In 1941, Los Angeles water and power diverted most of the creeks and rivers that fed Mono Lake south to meet the needs of the growing communities. The result was the lake started to dry up and the water turned salty. By 1995, the lake had lost over 40 vertical feet of water and the remaining water had doubled in salinity. Since then, programs have been put in place to help preserve and restore Mono Lake.