Landscape Photography
of James L. Snyder

Pumice Valley
Click Image to Close
Pumice Valley
Linhof Master Technika 2000 camera, 150mm Schneider Symmar-S f/5.6 lens, Fujicolor Pro 160S film, 98 megapixels
All Images ©Copyright 2010 James L. Snyder. All Rights Reserved

Pumice Valley

CA 120 east of US 395, Mono Basin National Forest Scenic Area, Mono County, CA, 10/23/2010

After witnessing a gorgeous sunrise over Mono Lake in the eastern Sierra region of California this cloudy autumn morning, I traveled west through Pumice Valley on my way to Grant Lake. As I passed this stretch of valley I realized the lighting and cloud conditions were perfect for a photograph. On a previous occasion I had made some photos here in strong early sunshine, but I was disappointed with the resulting harsh colors and contrast. This morning was different; a high layer of thin clouds softened the sunlight and provided delicate even illumination, while storm clouds over mountains to the south and west created further interest! Here is the view from CA 120 looking south-southwest over Pumice Valley in the Mono Basin National Forest Scenic Area south of Lee Vining. In the distance the Aeolian Buttes are at left, dark Reversed Peak is left of center, and Grant Peak is at right. As its name suggests, Pumice Valley is abundant in pumice and volcanic ash. The soil here consists primarily of deep pumice, which does not hold water well, and the terrain is covered by sagebrush scrubland. The Mono Crater chain of volcanoes is located at the edge of the valley and consists of more than 30 coalesced domes, flows, and craters. During the past 3,000 years the Mono-Inyo Craters have erupted every 250 to 700 years. The latest events occurred at Panum Crater and the Inyo Craters 500 to 600 years ago, and Paoha Island in Mono Lake roughly 250 years ago. This geologically recent volcanic activity along with frequently felt earthquakes in the region demonstrate that the forces responsible for shaping the eastern Sierra landscape over the past 4 million years are still at work today!

Pumice Valley

Select Print Size:
Select Paper Finish: