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TELESCAPES and FLORAL DREAMS
Mono Lake Dawn II
There were already several inches of snow on the vehicle and more threatening as I struggled to set up the camera in the freezing darkness before dawn, encumbered by gloves, snow boots and hooded parka. It was tempting to give it up, drive to the beckoning comfort of a warm restaurant and a pot of hot coffee with the car heater on full blast. However, I learned long ago never to take nature for granted and that the only way to photograph a beautiful scene is to be there ready for it to occur.
This scene occurred at dawn, about an hour before sunrise, as the light unexpectedly* broke through the snow clouds with vivid colors. As usual, I was privileged to be the sole witness to this scene just because I was the only person willing to stand around for hours freezing in the snow and darkness on the off-chance I might see something quite remarkable and memorable.
It didnt take me long to realize that nature was teaching me some basic requirements
for becoming one of the privileged few witnesses to some of her most glorious moments. Over the decades Ive come to realize that what is remarkable is not that these moments occur so often but that so few people make the effort to witness them in person.
Taken in March 1981 with a 135mm 600mm zoom lens set at its maximum 600mm focal length (12x magnification), this is my best-known best-seller and was the cover photo for the first of two calendars I did for Pomegranate Press in the mid-1980s. It is also one of the first telescapes taken after I decided to take this very specialized field of photography seriously by selling my telescope / camera business to specialize full-time on the fine art of telephoto landscapes and coin the term telescapes.
- * Since this early experience and many others like it, I am no longer surprised by unexpected conjunctions of natural processes resulting in remarkably beautiful scenes Ive learned to expect the unexpected!