Landscape Photography
of James L. Snyder

Autumn Sunset, Mono Lake
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Autumn Sunset, Mono Lake
Linhof Master Technika 2000 camera, 120mm Schneider Super-Symmar HM f/5.6 lens, Fujicolor Pro 160S film, 4 exposures, 141 megapixels
All Images ©Copyright 2010 James L. Snyder. All Rights Reserved

Autumn Sunset, Mono Lake

South Tufa, Mono Lake Tufa State Reserve, Mono County, CA, 10/10/2010

In 2010 I visited the eastern Sierra region of California to photograph the autumn foliage. I quickly realized that I traveled there too early in the season; most of the trees were completely green. At the end of a disappointing day of photography, I arrived at the south shore of Mono Lake in time to enjoy this lovely pastel sunset reflected in perfectly still water. Were it not for human activity Mono Lake would be much deeper and broader than it currently is and its famous tufa formations - such as those seen at right - would all be submerged. Since the 1940s however, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has been diverting some of the lake's tributary streams 350 miles to the south to meet the water demands of the city of Los Angeles. The reduced flow into the lake is responsible for depressing the water level and for exposing the tufa that comprise the unique and otherworldly landscape here. These fantastic tufa towers are a type of limestone or calcium carbonate formed by the precipitation of minerals during the interaction of freshwater springs and alkaline lake water. Mono Lake lies in a basin with no outlet to the ocean. Because the lake is the ultimate destination for all the rain and runoff from a surrounding area of about 780 square miles, its water is extremely alkaline and saline. Mono Lake is believed to have formed more than 760,000 years ago, dating back to the Long Valley eruption to the south. Sediments located below the ash layer are a clue that Mono Lake could be a remnant of a larger and older lake that once covered a large portion of Nevada and Utah, which would make it one of the oldest lakes in North America.

Autumn Sunset, Mono Lake

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