Tuesday, March 15, 2016

San Joaquin River Gorge

Dale Matson

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 Seasonal Stream Along Auberry Road 24mm

 Dave Using Monopod As Trekking Pole

 Above The San Joaquin River From The Bridge
 Kerckhoff Powerhouse Upstream

 Suspension Footbridge
Dave's 55mm Shot
Dave's Shot Of Me
 Mountain Lion
Close Up Of Waterfall Along the Hike 300mm

From Fresno CA. take Highway 168 (or Auberry Rd. they merge in Prather) east to the turnoff to Auberry. Drive through Auberry and make a left on Powerhouse Road by the elementary school. Drive till you see a sign that says San Joaquin River Gorge and make a left on Smalley Rd. Take it to the trailhead. There is a five-dollar use fee registration as the trailhead. It is about a 40-minute drive. There are potties, potable water and campsites.

My friend Dave and I headed out for photographs yesterday and hopeful we would have an opportunity to see the San Joaquin River full and fast once again following a four year drought. We stopped along the way to take photographs of a seasonal creek along Auberry Road, which has been dry for four years and then continued to the trailhead.

It is about a one mile 400’ drop to the suspension bridge from the trailhead. If you are so inclined, there is a 6-mile loop trail beginning on the other side of the bridge. It is popular with hikers and mountain bikers. Lately, I have seen a few ultra runners that have also discovered the loop.

This section of the San Joaquin spanned by the footbridge, is below Kerckhoff Reservoir and above Temperance Flat. It then flows into the final reservoir, Millerton Lake before continuing to the ocean. There has been preliminary work done in hopes that a 1 million acre foot reservoir could be added between Millerton Lake and Kerckhoff Reservoir at Temperance Flat.

I am personally in favor of the idea for additional water storage during years when there is average to above average snowpack. It is dispiriting to watch the huge volumes of San Joaquin River water flow through Woodward Park in Fresno headed out to the ocean because there is not adequate storage. Since the existing system of reservoirs was built, California has seen a huge increase in population making additional demands on an overburdened infrastructure. 

The photographs and video were taken with a Sony A7R2 Camera and Sony Zeiss 16-35 f4, Zeiss Batis 85mm f1.8 and an Adapted Sony A-Mount 70-300mm G lens. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The Sony A7R2 And Zeiss Batis 85mm 1.8

Dale Matson

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Sony A7R2 With Zeiss Batis 85mm 1.8

I recently wrote a post on the three lenses I plan on taking with me when I backpack in the Sierra Nevada Mountains this summer. This is my generic list that will apply to most areas and when I am not trying to photograph the elusive Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep.

The three lenses are the native Sony Zeiss 16-35mm f4, The native Sony Zeiss 55mm 1.8 and the Zeiss Batis 85mm 1.8. The particulars of the Batis lens are here.

Yesterday I took the Batis 85mm lens with me and traveled from my home in Fresno (elevation 308’) east 60 miles To Huntington Lake (about 7,000’). I made stops along the way for photographs. We had recent rain and the mist lingered in places until I was above Shaver Lake (5,500’).

The A7R2 has IBIS and the lens itself has image stabilization. When I viewed my photographs “actual size” they remained sharp. I believe there is room to crop photos and get similar results to a 135mm lens. This is not an official review, only an assortment of photographs taken along the way. I am however impressed with how well balanced the lens feels on the Sony A7R2.

Vineyard On The Outskirts Of Fresno Facing East 
Crop Of Above Photograph
 Seasonal Stream Returning After Four Years of Drought
Crop of above Photograph
Tamarack Creek
 Crop Of Above

China Peak Ski Resort Above And Across from Frozen Huntington Lake
Crop Of Above


Monday, March 7, 2016

Crowley Lake CA Views And The Columns

Dale Matson

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Damming the Owens River in 1941 by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power for use as a reservoir, created Crowley Lake. The lake was named after Fr. John Crowley. There is more background information here.

Crowley Lake is a popular fishing lake about 15 miles south of Mammoth CA and in addition has peculiar columns on the east shore that only became visible when the lake was formed. There is more information on these columns or pillars here.

I have talked to folks who have fished the lake but not noticed the columns. They are near the water's edge and I suppose they are less evident when the water level is higher. They could be accessed by boat or you can drive over the dam to the east side of the lake and follow the trails till you can actually drive down to the eastern shore and walk to the columns. We used a high clearance 4X4 and some of the hills were intimidating.

We were there in the afternoon to get the best lighting for the columns on the eastern shore. The White Mountains to the east were also highlighted. I would have also liked to be on the eastern shore in the morning for the sunrise on the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the west but that didn’t happen. The Sierra Nevada Mountain photographs were taken into a setting sun.


Mammoth Mountain, Minarets, Ritter And Banner Left Of Center 

 Mt. Baldwin Right Of Center