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Mount Whitney Mountaineers Route

Adventure travel stock photography - View from tent to Mount Whitney, California

View from my tent at Iceberg Lake, about 12,600 feet, towards the east face of Mount Whitney (and my smelly socks).

Sort of at the last minute I decided to make a quick trip up Whitney this past weekend before all the snow melted and before I leave California again (somewhat soon).  Weather was sunny the whole time but the winds were quite strong.  I’d estimate it reached 60+ mph on Sunday when I was on the summit.  I didn’t even bother bringing the camera out as there was so much snow flying around.  On the way up, whenever a big gust would come up, I would just have to lean into the mountain as I received a battery of snow and ice and rock for a minute or two, then climb on again. Good fun.

Mountain landscape photography - East face of Mount Whitney sunrise


Mount Whitney Mountaineers Route – Images by Cody Duncan

Alabama Hills – California

Mobius arch at Alabama Hills, near Lone Pine, California

Mobius arch, Alabama Hills, Owen’s Valley, California

I think one of the coolest things about the Alabama Hills is that no matter how many times one has been there, there is always something new to photograph.  Be it exploring some new area, different weather, or different time of year. The hills and mountains are always changing.  One of the reasons it is one of my favorite places to go.

Granite rock formations of Alabama Hills with Lone Pine peak and Sierra Nevada mountains in background, California

Granite rock formations of Alabama Hills Sierra Nevada mountains in background, California

Lone Pine Peak

Lone Pine peak and Sierra Nevada mountains panoramic image

Lone Pine peak in dawn light, Sierra Nevada Mountains, California.

Mount Whitney Sunrise

Mt. Whitney and Sierra Nevada mountains, California panoramic landscape photo

Winter sunrise over mount Whitney and the Sierra Nevada mountains as seen from the Alabama Hills, California.

This is a location that is better photographed in winter/early spring.  Besides it not being 110˚ F as it can be in summer.  The main reason is that the winter sun rises further towards the south, which creates better patterns of shadow and light on the mountain ridges than occur in summer.  And then there’s always something nice about the day’s first light on freshly fallen snow.  I find in summer this scene can also appear slightly ‘tired’ and dry, for lack of a better description.

Alabama Hills and Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains

The Alabama Hills are one of my favorite places here in California and a usual stop anytime I head to the east side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  Normally I avoid the area during summer as the temperature is often well above my level of tolerance,  But I decided to check things out anyhow.  On the way up as I was crossing the Antelope Valley before entering the high desert area, I knew I would be in trouble from the heat.  I guess after too much time in Northern Europe, I had forgotten that I really don’t enjoy myself in 100˚ (37˚c) temperatures (yes, I’m spoiled living on the coast).  Turning off in Lone Pine during the late afternoon I headed straight through the Alabama hills and up to the 8,000 (2500m) foot coolness of the Whitney Portal to get a bit of an escape from the heat.  The light was pretty bad anyhow, so I sat around up there and got eaten by mosquitoes for an hour or two.

I have a couple favorite places to camp, but since there is so much to see, I usually do a little exploring to see if I can’t find some cool new place.  The whole area is open for wild camping, so I like to look for a spot where I can roll out the back of my truck at dawn, walk about 10 feet or crawl up some rock and start shooting.  Sure beats having to drive anywhere!

Alabama HIlls, Owen's valley, California

Panoramic landscape stock photography: Alabama Hills, Owen's valley, California

Night panoramic landscape photography Nikon d700 85mm tilt-shift lens: Sierra Nevada Mountains, California

The sunset was actually one of the boring-er ones that I’ve witnessed, but what can you do.  Took a few night photos, but a pretty good wind picked up around sundown which was blowing a lot of dust around.  So after a five minute photo, I’d have to clean everything off again.

NIght photography Nikon d700: star trails over rock formations, Alabama Hills, California

Dawn broke to a perfectly clear sky, again, nothing spectacular.  Better weather for climbing than photography.

Tilt-Shift panoramic landscape photography: Sierra Nevada mountains, California

Lone Pine peak in the center of the photo, with Mount Whitney (14,505 feet – 4,421m, highest mountain in California and lower 48) on the very right of the photo in the pre-dawn light.

Landscape stock photography: Mobius Arch, Alabama Hills, Owen's Valley, California

Mobius Arch, one of the more famous icons in the area.

Alabama Hills and Sierra Nevada Mountains, Lone Pine, California

By 7:00 am it was already getting hot and the light hazy and washed out.  So I decided to some place higher and cooler for the day…