Friday, March 4, 2016

Mammoth Mountain CA Area

Dale Matson

 Click On Photographs To Enlarge
Mammoth Mountain Far Left
I was in Mammoth CA with relatives recently for some skiing and photography.
Mammoth Mountain is still listed as an active volcano.

Mammoth Mountain is rated as one of the top five California ski resorts for downhill skiing. Additionally, it has an excellent cross-country ski area in the lakes region. While my relatives skied the mountain, I had the best cross-country skiing ever, with spring like conditions. I have been there when the wind and cold make for conditions that only the hard-core skiers would endure. Sometimes the top of the mountain (11,050’) must be shut down because of winds that can exceed 100 miles an hour.
 Crystal Crag
 Bridge Over Twin Lakes
 Lake Mary Road Groomed As A Ski Trail

Lake Mary

The Tamarack cross-country ski area is off Lake Mary Road, which is groomed as a ski trail in winter. The ski course includes Lake Mary, George, Mamie, Horseshoe and Twin Lakes. Twin Lakes is the closest to the ski center and about the same elevation (about 8,500’). There is about a 500' climb to the other lakes and a wonderful nearly flat loop around Lake Mary. Horseshoe Lake has a considerable amount of CO2 emissions and there are warning signs. Perhaps the best overall view is from the dam at the end of Lake Mary. Crystal Crag (10,377’) is best photographed from another angle on the loop. The crag is evident from many areas of the ski trail as the trail winds among the lakes. The best time for photographs is in the late afternoon but before the trail begins to get icy. It is a fast descent on the return to the ski rental area. I had my own ski equipment but had to purchase a trail pass. The lodge is a great place to get a noon meal.

I also took the gondola to the top of Mammoth Mountain for morning photographs. 
Minarets, Ritter And Banner From Mammoth Mountain
 Close Up Of Minarets

 Photo Taken Near Mammoth Airport
Close Up Of Ritter And Banner From On Top Mammoth Mountain

Each day before sunup, I traveled to an area where the morning sun would illuminate the other nearby lakes east of Highway 395 including June Lake to the north and Convict Lake to the south. Frozen lakes are not quite as beautiful as open water lakes but Convict Lake had just enough open water to provide a reflection. The snow in the mountains is optimal when the lakes are frozen however.
 Convict Lake At Sunrise
June Lake At Sunrise

For my photographs, I used a Sony A7R2 with native Sony Zeiss 24-70mm, 16-35mm, and an adapted SAL 70-400mm lens. Convict Lake was the widest shot at 16mm. June Lake was 70mm and the Minarets in the Ritter Range were shot from atop Mammoth Mountain at 320mm.     

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