Mono Lake and Bodie Field Trip: September 14-15, 2012
Contributed by: David Wilkins
Update 8/6/2012 - Photographer’s Day at Bodie has changed since the LPA was there 3 years ago. Now you get less for more. Last time we could enter ½ hour before sunrise and stay till ½ hour after sunset for $50. Now they want $75 to arrive at sunrise and till 9AM (actually until closing time in the evening). You are welcome to sign up for this through the Bodie Foundation, but Chris and I are going to pass on the early entry. Thanks to Sue Liberto for getting this information.
The LPA had a field trip to Mono Lake and Bodie three years ago and it was a very popular outing. Many of the images taken on that trip have won awards for several members. Chris and I decided to go again this September and make it a field trip for the LPA. What makes this September date so special is that the weather is cooler by September, the new moon is Friday, the 14th and Saturday, the 15th is photographer’s day at Bodie.
I think Mono Lake is a great place to photograph star trails and do a little light painting as well as a great place for sunset/sunrise. The new moon or no moon night makes a perfect opportunity for night photography. We plan on driving to Lee Vining on Friday the 14th to catch sunset over Mono Lake and then to photograph star trails and light paint the tufa. One can return for sunrise early on Saturday and then head back to Lee Vining for breakfast before spending the rest of the day at Bodie.
Sign up below if you'd like to go. You need to be a current LPA member to attend.
The tufa at Mono Lake are accessible via about a ½ mile walk from the parking lot. The last time we were there, there were hoards of photographers for sunrise/sunset but none usually stay after sunset. You may join us for all or part of this trip.
The South Tufa area at Mono Lake is reached by taking highway 120 East from Highway 395. The turnoff to the South Tufa area is marked and is about one mile long. The South Tufa trail leads to the lake edge. There is a $3 charge for parking.
Sunrise on the 15th of September is at 6:39AM and Sunset on the 14th is at 7:03PM. A star trail shot can start about 8:30PM, as it will be dark enough by then, and be finished by either 9:30 for a one-hour shot or 10:30 for a two-hour shot. Chris reminds me that it will be CHILLY at night. She is wearing thermal underwear, Polartec pants, wool sweater, wool hat, gloves with glove liners, 2 sets of socks one of which is wool, and a parka. Dave says that this is overkill!
Those who photograph sunrise at Mono Lake will head back to Lee Vining for breakfast. We’ll pick a location as the date gets closer. A picnic lunch would be in order at Bodie and then the afternoon can be spent taking photos there. The park closes at 6PM which is one hour before sunset. We will also pick a location for dinner in Lee Vining for those who are spending the night.
There are two ways to reach Bodie from Lee Vining. One is mostly gravel, but shorter and the other only has three miles of gravel. The shorter gravel approach turns off from 395 about 18 miles North of Lee Vining to highway 270. Bodie is reached after a 10 mile drive over pavement and three miles over a gravel road. Total trip length is 31 miles. The shorter trip, but more gravel road, turns on to highway 167, seven miles North of Lee Vining and then North on road 1671 after 8.8 miles and then to Bodie. Total length of this route is 26 miles from Lee Vining. Park hours are 8AM to 6PM so we will not be able to catch sunset.
The only way to catch sunrise/sunset at Bodie is to sign up for photographer’s day, which is the 3rd Saturday of the month. Last time the cost was $50 per person and the limit was 50 people. This permits one to enter the park 30 minutes before sunrise and stay 30 minutes after sunset. More information will be provided as we get closer to the date.
Photos by David Wilkins