Owens Valley - Spring Rain


This was one of those days where not much was going on. I was out in the open and the light was rather harsh so I was spending the mid-day hours scouting some potential new photography locations about 30 minutes north of this scene when I noticed some distant clouds beginning to gather to the south. I explored two new roads and then I followed the Owens River south on a dusty section of a bone jarring washboard dirt road I had never driven before. It was obvious that some weather was beginning to build and settle along the Sierra Crest to my south, but I continued my explorations along the Owens making frequent stops, exiting my vehicle and making quick observations and mental notes of my immediate surroundings (which also included a nice long gaze at the sky to my south.) Around 3:30 in the afternoon I came to an intersection with another dirt road that I have never traveled. It ran east/west and had the possibility of returning me back to the main highway so I made a gamble and turned right (west.) 15 minutes later I found myself at the intersection of this unmarked dirt road and highway 395 with yet another decision to make - left or right, south or north? I glanced south at the still present building clouds, then north at the blue sky filled wide open spaces of the Owens Valley. I turned left (south) which was the opposite direction I would eventually have to travel sometime today, but I had nothing better to do and a whole lot of daylight left to get that done. 30 minutes later I found myself parked on the southbound side of Highway 395 enjoying the sweet smell of distant rain, watching the clouds gather and drift ghost-like among the towering peaks of the Sierra Crest while dumping massive amounts of nurturing rain on the rugged landscape below. Looking at this scene, you probably think I was getting drenched. But, amazingly only a few drops of rain fell on me the entire 15 minutes I spent here. There are a lot of things I like about this photograph. The power, energy and mystery of the advancing weather. The masculine ruggedness of the background peaks which are contrasted by the gentleness of the rolling hills at the base of the mountains. The line of trees are an interesting design element, but don't really offer a sense of scale (nothing in this photograph offers a sense of scale.) In fact, I think they enhance the mystery of the entire scene for that very reason. I also like the tans, grays and oranges of the arid foreground landscape and how nicely they play with the blues, grays and purples of the background.

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