Welcome To My Work

I am a photographer, writer, guide.
Born, raised, and living in the West

My land is many peoples, long histories, open space, magic light.

Please join me as I forage, looking for images and for stories

Through the Lens and on the Page

Dropping Into Mono

Water Flows
(Click on the image for the rest of the story)

…Here I was, on another wide plain with sagebrush scrub at and then past me to the west, crashing into the base of white granite scarps that looked like they’d been popped up out a toaster.

I was hearing a creek, rushing down to the east, past me, toward a lake alive with flocks of birds in continual motion, a lake in the sagebrush.

The plain was the Great Basin Desert. The granite was the eastern crest of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  The creek was Lee Vining Creek. The lake was Mono Lake. 

I was in the Mono Basin in eastern California, at the boundary of two early kingdoms, desert and mountain, each with an “immense breadth” (Robinson Jeffers).

This place became like home to me. I was recently single, had a good job (money and vacations), a love of the outdoors, a passion for photography, good equipment and good mentoring. It was a perfect storm of satisfaction.

I got to see this land in all its finery, and all of its seasons. Its juxtaposition of high desert and Sierra scarps inflamed my vision of land.  I hiked many trails starting at nearly 7,000 feet trailheads. I stood on the shoulder of 13,000 foot Mt Dana, gazing down on the ancient lake. I came to know many of its roads, meadows, bushes, trees, creeks, rocks, and resting places. I came to know folks who’d chosen to reside there. When I had to go home to live the rest of my life, I missed that land.

The images presented in this gallery are all of the Mono Basin. For a decade I marched to these scenes with a 30+ pound pack, praying for sweet light. The victories were captured on 4×5 film, BW or color transparency.   Some were published in the MonoLake Committee calendar. They remain a standard against which I measure my work…

(click on the image for the rest of the story)
Across The Desert
Want to know more about the images? Look Here

Next Up? Stay Tuned, Mono Lake? Grand Canyon? ….

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Since 11/30/2020

All Images & Stories Are ©VicSmithPhoto