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on Apr 25, 2011 in Landscape Photography

Mono Lake Curves

Mono Lake is a favorite of mine, been visiting it since 1959. I have been incredibly fortunate to visit many lakes over the years and none are quite the same as Mono. There are many things contributing to this from location to character. Most think of Mono for the tufa formations at South Tufa and rightly so since this is the only destination for most who visit the lake. I’ve walked the entire circumference of Mono over the years and the one thing you see at South Tufa which is indicative of the lake are the curves on the shoreline. This last week on our latest walk down to the tufas I was watching the photographers and noticed the curves got no attention.

The tufas tower up and are very unique shapes but prior to dawn, they are just shapes. The challenge as I see it is how do you tell the story of Mono Lake, Tufas, dawn and the experience in one click? The camera part is easy, WB-Cloudy A5, Vivid, EV-2 f/5.6 1/10 with all finishing done in ACR. It’s the arranging of the elements that is tricky. The wind was nuts the day before, a blizzard that prevented us from even reaching Mono Lake. It left massive banks of foam which was cool so it outlined the curve of the shoreline. What is it with the curve in the shoreline you ask? If we straighten out that shoreline or not even include, how intimate is the scene? Seriously, you do either and you don’t invite the viewer into the scene but include it and it brings the viewer into your world you saw and felt that moment you went click. Such a simple thing it is easy to overlook, not even consider. Once you do take this into consideration then the only option left is, vertical or horizontal and that is totally your call, there is no right or wrong. Next time you’re at a lake, take note of the shoreline and do a little experiment and take a photo of a cover and or a long stretch and see which one feels more inviting to you, and more importantly, to the viewer of your image.

Photos captured by D3x, 14-24AFS (handheld) on Lexar UDMA digital film