Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Photographers Dilemma: Have You Been There Too?

Dale Matson

So, I was sitting in my truck near Millerton Lake before sunrise and waiting for the local bald eagle to drop by and land in a nearby tree. It was a cold morning and after shutting down the engine, I rolled down the window to get a clear shot if the eagle landed. It began getting cold inside the cab so I rolled the window back up but then I couldn’t take a clear shot at the bird. I had the telephoto lens on but brought my Zeiss Batis 85mm 1.8 and Loxia 50mm f2 for some early sunrise shots before it became too overcast out over the lake.

Well, the sunrise looked nice and I guessed I could switch lenses, drive over to a good spot for a few shots over the lake and come back for a shot of the eagle in a minute. I switched lenses and drive about a quarter mile for my landscape shots.
I got a nice shot in low light with the Batis 85 followed by a couple nice shots in low light with the loxia but what was that…Oh shoot, here comes the eagle. I got a low light shot of the eagle flying by and disappearing in the distance with my Loxia. If I had only shot first with the Loxia and then the Batis 85, the Sony fe 70-300 shot at f 5.6 would have been too grainy in the low light anyway. Next time however, I need to ask myself the basic question. “Why am I here today?”

Click On Photographs To Enlarge  

Zeiss Batis 85mm 1.8
Zeiss Loxia 50mm f2.0
Eagle In Center

Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Fitness god

Dale Matson

As I sat in my cardiologist’s office with my wife Sharon yesterday, I asked him how I could have finished the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run and Hawaii Ironman after midlife if my arteries were so bad. He said, “Because you were and are incredibly fit.”
It was always a source of pride for me that I had reformed my lifestyle in my forties. I stopped drinking, smoking and lost 60 lbs. by a change in diet and exercise. At one point later on, I came to believe that if one was not “marathon fit”, one was not fit at all.
I was primarily a runner initially and that was my drug of choice. With all the constant “Training” I suffered the usual overuse injuries like ‘runners knee’ and torn hamstrings. There was a mystery injury that kept me from running consistently for two years. As I look back now, I believe it was Popliteal Tendonitis. Of course this pain didn’t stop me because being fit was more important than being sound. I believe it was Hal Higdon who once said that runners were the fittest group of injured people he ever met.
Getting into triathlons was an epiphany for me since I could spread the abuse around thus limiting training injuries. Of course one muscle, the heart, was ‘training’ all the time. I adopted the ‘Tri-Life’ and continue this exercise format even though I no longer compete.
My performance has slowed considerably and even though I reached my maximum predicted heart rate on a treadmill stress test two weeks ago; the cardiologist saw evidence of Ischemia on the EKG. I wanted a definitive answer and had equivocal results on a thallium stress test six years ago. I have pushed myself over the line so many times that I have learned to ignore discomfort. One ultra runner tee shirt I once saw stated, “The whippings will continue until the morale improves.”  
I had angioplasty, which is considered the gold standard for determining heart problems and blood perfusion. What it amounts to is that I have an inadequate supply of blood to the heart muscle. The cardiologist inserted two stents and said that it would help but also said there were issues he could not solve. Even bypass surgery would not help. I would have to limit my exercise, keep my maximum heart rate down and take the usual protocol of medications. This included statin drugs to reduce cholesterol, beta-blockers, to reduce blood pressure, and a drug to thin the blood plus one 81mg aspirin per day.
This heart condition will limit my exercise and lifestyle, erode my malignant pride and eliminate one more facet of my life that I have used to define myself. I have lots to ruminate about but I know one thing. This fitness god I served for so many years was, in the end, a false god that massaged an ego bloated by pride. Was it focus or obsession? It was probably both and served a personality that needed rituals to calm the anxieties of life.
While this has been difficult to adjust to and accept, I know that as a Christian, I cannot serve two masters.
“But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Matthew 6:20-21, KJV)          

Monday, December 26, 2016

New Book: The Best Of Mid Sierra Musings Available Soon

Dale Matson 

Click On Photograph To Enlarge


This is my second book based on articles from my Mid Sierra Musings Blog. What is different about this book is that I selected the topics based on ‘page views’ over the last three years. The more page views an article received, the more likely I would select that article for inclusion in the book. I don’t believe I have selected any articles previously published in the first book.
I have come to think of myself as a wilderness docent who enjoys helping others who are considering some of the more popular trails in the Central Sierra Nevada. Some trips are day trips, some overnight and some multiday. Almost all of the trips are ‘on trail’.
I have seen how powerful photographs of an area can be in determining someone’s destination and have become an avid photographer at the expense of moving faster and covering more territory. It is good for me to do this as a retired trail runner.
I hope the information and photographs contained here will motivate you to see the areas yourself.

Dale Matson+


Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest
Balsam Forebay
Big Pine Lakes Basin
Bighorn Sheep And White Mountain Peak
Courtright To Red Mountain Basin
Crowley Lake CA Views And The Columns
Day Hike On The Rock Creek Trail
Day Hike To Alta Peak
Day Hike To Devil’s Bathtub
Day Hike To Lamarck Lakes
Day Hike To Mt. Givens From White Bark
Edison Lake Loop Hike
Florence Lake To McClure Meadow And Back
Glacier Point Road In Yosemite National Park
Hike To Nellie Lake
Hike To Potter Pass And Twin Lakes
Hiking Mt. Whitney Part II Multi Day
Kaiser Peak Hike
Mammoth Mtn. CA Area
Mono Lake
Mt. Whitney Day Hike
Over Mono Pass From The Mosquito Flat
Overnight Hike To Center Basin
Overnight Hike: East And Reflection Lakes
Overnight In Dusy Basin From South Lake
Pear And Moose Lakes Sequoia Park
Robinson Lake
Sabrina Basin
Highway 395
Views Around Millerton Lake
Yosemite: Day Hike To Ostrander Lake
Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep Close Up

Note: The Kindle Version Now available (color photographs) and as a paperback (black and white photographs).

Friday, December 16, 2016

My Favorite Central Sierra Nevada Photos

EBook Available @ $5.00


“Was this the face that launched a thousand ships?” In Christopher Marlowe's play Doctor Faustus is referring to the face of Helen Of Troy. In Psychologist Abraham Maslow’s “Hierarchy Of Needs” the search for beauty was included as an important need. Although we are caught up daily in the security and safety needs, we also enjoy beauty.
Beauty can motivate us to leave the safety of our homes. Beauty is a Siren call to adventure, to risk far beyond the comforts of home.
I can see the Central Sierra Nevada from where I live in Fresno California. Before I was born Theodore Solomons stood near Fresno also and envisioned a trail that would follow along the Sierra Crest. This dream was realized and finalized as the 211-mile John Muir Trail between Yosemite Valley and Mount Whitney. John Muir famously stated, “The mountains are calling and I must go.”
  The Spirit drives many of us, like Jesus, into the wilderness. For Muir, whose father was a pastor, the wilderness was like a great temple where he went to worship. The Central Sierra Nevada is like a Beethoven masterpiece. It is variations on a central theme. The central theme is a canvas composed of firmament, rocks, water, flora and fauna.
This canvas is ever changing and this observer is ever learning. The more I learn, the more I appreciate what it takes to capture an accurate rendering at an optimum time. I have learned some geology, location names, wildlife habits and habitat. The “golden hours” where the light is best, dictate wilderness permits and overnights. Much of my photography has required multiple nights and days of backpacking to find the places I have sought. It is the many faces of ‘Helen’ I seek in the mountains.
My camera gear while essentially lightweight is burdensome for me. The weight of my backpack and gear slow down this former trail runner. But it is the taking of photographs that has redefined my purpose of being on these mountain trails. I admire Galen Rowell who was a wonderful mountain photographer. He could run the trails and climb the granite walls with his camera in a chest pouch. He knew the Eastern Sierra intimately.  Knowing the location before you go there for photographs is important. Knowing what lenses you will need is essential. The morning light is the best in the eastern slopes and the afternoon light is the best on the western slopes. Sometimes, stormy skies are ‘game changers’ where a mid day shot can be terrific.
How faithfully do my photographs represent what I have seen? I am happy for one or two photographs from each trip to trigger the best memories from when I was there although my memories of Baxter Pass were not as pleasant as the photograph.
I have published these photographs in a “e-book only” version because the quality and color are best suited to a  ebook. Additionally, as they say, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” And it is the photographs of the beautiful Sierra Nevada taken over many years and hundreds of miles of trails that I want to share with you. Hopefully, one or more of these photographs will serve as a motivating force to send you into the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
I submitted full size files to Fine Art America where these photographs are available with a variety of  frames print paper, sizes. See Below