Hidden Oasis - (The benefits of pre-trip planning)


This image was created last week during my annual "Fall Colors Pilgrimage" in the eastern Sierra Nevada mountains of California. It is a good example of the immense variety of potential subjects related to the autumn season that don't include changing leaves (if you allow yourself to be open to such possibilities.) This image also reveals the results of good pre-trip research and planning.

It was getting late in the morning on a cloudless day. I had time to kill before heading up the hill in search of my main attraction - the golden aspens and other colorful foliage associated with fall, so I decided to get some scouting in.

Sitting in my vehicle on the side of HWY 395 I pulled out some of my research material. A few weeks prior to this trip I was looking over some online maps of the immediate area and saw a few ponds that looked promising. The problem was, I wasn't sure that they really existed or still held water. The other problem was that I have explored this general area many times and have never seen the slightest hint of their existence. There are several secondary roads (mostly used by fishermen to access the Owens River) which in turn are bisected by countless dirt roads that seem to meander randomly throughout the Owens Valley. There is probably meaningful logic and intention associated with these roads, but none of it is known by me. In all my years of exploration and photography in this area I have never seen a hint of these ponds existence or location. Maybe a small sign that reads "Secret Ponds - Second Dirt Road On The Right" would be helpful.

None the less, with the aid of my map and fairly good instincts the exploration of the second dirt road that made logical sense led me to this location. Pleased with my accomplishment and the potential possibilities I made a few photographs in this area. Mostly as reminders and reference for when I return in better light. With this image I was trying to show the great contrast between the lushness of the pond and immediate surroundings compared to the unforgiving ruggedness of the towering Sierra crest in the background.

Lesson Learned: A little pre-trip research can be well worth the time and effort.

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