Drama and silence


Clouds rise over a hillside near Highway 26 and Double Springs Road in Toyon. (Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 70-200mm @ 200mm. Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/16. ISO: 200)

Although this isn’t the best time of the year for pictures, the drive to up Highway 26 to West Point was a pleasant one. The peak times are either in Spring when things are starting to bloom and the lush greenness returns, or Fall for its rich colors. Now is the time when the hues are more subdued.


Clouds rise over a hillside near Valley Springs. (Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 70-200mm @ 200mm. Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/16. ISO: 200)

Large dramatic clouds helped to add some dramatic beauty to the trip. The clouds filled the sky and changed from minute to minute, giving a different view every time I looked up. I imagined it was what the view from mythological Mount Olympus would be like. I almost expected to see Zeus parting the clouds with one hand and a lightning bolt in the other.


Clouds rise over a hillside near Highway 26 and Double Springs Road in Toyon. (Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 70-200mm @ 175mm. Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/16. ISO: 200)


Clouds rise over Highway 26 near Glencoe.  (Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 17-55mm @ 17mm. Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/8. ISO: 200)

Just before the town of Mokelumne Hill, the highway becomes a narrow two-lane country road. Traffic becomes more sparse the further you go. On the 16 miles between Moke Hill to West Point, I came upon only a handful of vehicles traveling in either direction. The trees close in and the sky and clouds become harder to see. A few miles from West Point, I pulled over to the side of the road at a bridge over the south fork of the Mokelumne River to get a shot. It was amazingly quiet. No cars, no airplanes, no lawn mowers, bothing man-made.  The only sound was the whisper of the rushing water of the river itself.


Ferns grow from a moss-covered rocks along Highway 26 near West Point. (Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 17-55mm @ 52mm. Exposure: 1/60th sec. @ f/15.6. ISO: 200)

The south fork of the Mokelumne River from Highway 26 near West Point. (Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 17-55mm @ 17mm. Exposure: 1/4th sec. @ f/122. ISO: 100)

Despite it being the “off season” photographically speaking, some great pictures could be found and it was still nice to get out of the office and take in the relaxing natural beauty of the Mother Lode.

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