In January I joined a 10 week Wilderness Travel course organized by the Sierra Club. WTC provides essential outdoor training, safety and preservation awareness for the aspiring mountaineer or backpacker. The Orange County Whitney Group’s last field trip was in the Sierra Nevada west of Big Pine. Snow camping was the intended purpose of the trip. Camping under the stars was a terrific experience, despite the lack of snow at the campground itself. California’s severe drought has a profoundly visible effect in the Sierras. The first day of spring in the high Sierra looked like a mid-summer day based on the thin shell of icy, retreating snow. Our day hikes took us far enough to experience some snow, and the Sierras still provided those rejuvenating qualities that Muir himself attested to.
The nightscape scenes were taken with a Canon 60Da and Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 lens, ranging from 20-30 seconds at ISO 1600. Speaking of that lens, it’s highly rated but this particular one may not be perfectly reaching infinity focus. It approaches but does not pass focus. I’ll look into that but the lens’ potential is apparent. Temperatures that night started in the high 40s and dropped to the 20s before sunrise. This was around the new Moon, so the only forms of ground illumination were some twilight (in “Orion Over Sierras”), starlight, and the campfire in two of these images.