Here is another of my photos from the trip my photo buddy, Graham and I made over the Tioga Pass a few days after it opened in June of this year. The weather could not have beem better, warm in the afternoon with a few clouds in the smog free blue sky. I have many color slides and negatives of Mono Lake from the 70′s and 80′s. Back then, you could walk out to the Ghost Ship (you can see it in the image upper right). Since 1994, water has been reintroduced into Mono Lake causing it to rise to where it is today. As of May 2011, Mono Lake was at 6,382.5 feet above sea level and projected to rise 1.6 feet by September in response to the heavy snow pack in the mountains this year. The lake level of 6,392 feet (1,948 m) above sea level is the goal. A goal made more difficult during years of drought.
I can tell you, being 64, kneeling in the water and trying to be a contortionist looking through the viewfinder to keep everything in focus and maintaining a horizontal horizon just doesn’t do it anymore. I remember doing this in my 20′s and 30′s and even then I had problems. I left my tripod back at the truck, thinking I didn’t need it. In all honesty, this isn’t the first time at this spot.
The black diagonal line in the foreground are black brine flies. There were about twice as many brine flies until I dropped to my knees in the water to get this shot. Half flew away, leaving what you see or think you see. There could be three times as many brine flies and you still coudn’t tell they were brine flies from black pebbles. These black brine flies are food for the local birds who migrate here, or are on their migratory flight north, to nest on the lake’s two islands. Yes, it takes a lot of black brine flies to fill a California Seagull’s stomach or feed their young.
There is a good chance that Mono Lake State Park may have to close in 2012 to help balance the state budget. Hopefully, this will not happen, but I am a optimist…
Text, photographs, and other media are © Copyright Ben Gundy and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Ben Gundy.
Canon EOS 5D Mark II
Canon EOS 24-105mm f4L at 24mm
ISO 200, 1/60 sec at f/16