Silver Lake and Carson Peak

Eastern Sierra, 2013

I’m back!  My wife, 3 dogs and I have spent the last 3 weeks camped at the Silver Lake RV Resort, right across the street from Silver Lake, on the June Lake Loop in the Eastern Sierra.

Silver Lake and Carson Peak

Although we visit there every year, the experience is never the same.  One year we had late afternoon thunderstorms almost every day.  Last year we had very warm weather for most of the month we were there.  This year we had snow on 3 different occasions!

As for photography, this year was a little different in respect as well.  If you’ve followed this blog at all, you may have noticed that I’m moving towards smaller, lighter cameras and associated accessories.  This year, I really made use of my Olympus E-P3 and Panasonic GX-1.  These are categorized as Micro 4/3rds (M4/3), mirrorless cameras.  Although I did bring my Canon 60D DSLR, I only used it a couple of times.

On one occasion, I brought both my 60D and Oly out at the same time, mostly as a side by side comparison in real world usage.  I took them to Mono Lake’s South Tufa, and carried them and all of their supporting “stuff” down the boardwalk and across the sand to the Tufa.  This isn’t a scientific, pixel peeping review of the results, but rather my opinion of each type camera system in a real life situation.  Here’s my bottom line – if someone would have made me a fair offer for the Canon stuff, I would have sold it then and there!  What a pain in the back it was!  After carrying it around I was really sorry that I brought it.  Yes, the sensor is bigger than the Oly’s.  Yes, it’s better at action photography.  But, I wasn’t shooting action.  And to my eye, the image quality isn’t any better that what I’m getting out of the Oly.

There is one thing I can say about my Oly, it is tough!  I slipped and fell once and smacked it on the ground.  Another time I got fumble fingered and dropped it.  Although it has a couple of nicks and dings, it works perfectly.

If you have a DSLR that you like, keep liking and using it!  I’m not here to talk anyone out of their DSLR.  I’m just sharing my experience in case you are curious about something smaller, but don’t want to drop down to a point and shoot.  There are options!

Rant Warningthe opinion expressed in the following rant are my own, your experience my vary!

One of the other things I noticed this year was the behavior of other photographers.  I’ve met and talked with quite a few over the past few years.  When it’s just one or two out by themselves, they were usually approachable and polite when greeted with a “good morning”.  But when I was unfortunate enough to come across a group of them (workshop) I found them unfriendly, rude, and obnoxious.  What is it that turns people into jerks when they group together?  I would be embarrassed if I were part of one of these groups with people behaving so badly.  It seemed to me – if you were in one of these groups or workshops, you owned all of the view around you.  One jerk in particular was loudly proclaiming to some poor folks, that dared venture near him, that he needed them out of his field of view, which looked to be in excess of 180 degrees (this didn’t happen just once while he was taking a picture, but over and over).  And this isn’t the only example.  I ran across at least 3 of these groups, and didn’t see much difference between them.

While I’ve never been part of a photography workshop or photography group, I wouldn’t want you to give up the idea because of what I’ve experienced.  I’m sure there are some good ones out there, with leaders that would reel in the jerks, I just haven’t seen it happen.  But if you wanted to join one of these groups, go for it, they just aren’t for me.

End of Rant…

Back to photography.  This year I really tried to slow down and take my time composing my shots.  I also tried to focus attention to single elements in the frame and not go for each whole grand scene.  Sometimes I would include an anchor in the foreground, something that would add interest, and help give some depth to a scene.  Other times I would focus on something small, like a leaf.  There are exceptions, such as when the sky was really putting on a show over Mono Lake, but for the most part, I tried to keep my images this year much more intimate.

After 3 weeks of shooting I have a lot of editing to do.  It’s funny, when people see me walking back to the motorhome carrying my gear, they ask if I’ve gotten a lot of great shots.  I usually say, “I hope so”.  That may seem like a funny answer, but until you actually look at what you have on a larger screen, you don’t really have an idea if you “got a lot of great shots”.  Looking at pictures on the little LCD on the camera gives you general idea, but you need to see them on the computer screen to make any real determination if it’s a keeper or gets tossed.

Here are some of the photos that I’ve had time to work on:

Silver Lake Pond

Carson Peak

The Log, Silver Lake

Silver Lake Leaves

That’s it for now.  If you have a different opinion or experience with either DSLR’s vs other options or photography workshops, don’t be bashful, use the comment section.

Until next time – Happy Shooting!