New Releases - The Summer Haze

March 2019  |  Eastern Sierra, California

It is now March here in Mammoth Lakes and we have had one crazy winter! February has been non-stop winter storms and Mammoth Mountain currently sits at 626 inches of snow for the season and broke the record for highest amount of snow in February ever recorded. I will reflect more on this winter in my next gallery, but today I want to announce my latest New Releases Gallery, "The Summer Haze."

Beams of light shooting past Mt. Humphreys and Basin.

The summer of 2018 turned out be extremely challenging photographically for me. I had BIG plans during this time to photograph some new back country locations in the Eastern Sierra and return to a few others. Historic forest fires burned large sections of Northern and Southern California and outside Yosemite National Park. Thankfully we didn't have these big forest fires on the East side but we still suffered through horrendous air quality as we constantly choked on smoke and ash rained down from the sky. The smoke was so abundant that it reached as far the the East Coast! For weeks on end the beautiful Sierra mountains hid behind a constant layer of smoke.

Minaret Sunset
Sunset setting the sky on fire over the picturesque Minarets.

After multiple trips into the back country cancelled I began to feel downtrodden by the conditions. Thankfully one of my closest friends David Thompson (Facebook/Instagram) agreed to show me change of scenery and guide me into the massive cliff walls of the Narrows in Zion National Park.

Liquid Gold
The Virgin River turning into liquid gold as light reflects off the canyon wall in the Narrows.

I had hiked/photographed the famous Narrows once before but the conditions were less than ideal. The water was very turbid and not much light reached the bottom of the canyon. This trip on the other hand was nothing less than perfect conditions. The water was clear and the light glowed throughout the canyon walls like magic. We worked our way up the canyon chasing the light as we went photographing around every bend in the river.

The Narrows
The Virgin River meandering down a glowing turn in the Narrows.

At one point during the hike David and I both stopped at a calm spot along the river. "Nolan are you seeing this?" David asked as we watched gold and blue lines and patterns reflecting onto the water from the canyon walls and sky. This created a very abstract and almost hallucinogenic scene of color and texture which created some very unique imagery.

Essential Oils
Colorful reflections of the canyon walls and sky on the Virgin River.

While the trip to Zion National Park was a much needed reprieve it still didn't change the fact that photographing around the Sierra was less than ideal. I wasn't able to create new work that was satisfying so I turned my attention to another subject that I thought would work well with the Narrows images in a new gallery... Slot Canyons.

Light pouring into a sandstone slot canyon.

The previous year I had spent a few days photographing slot canyons near Page, Arizona with my good friend Nick Selway (Facebook/Instagram). I had never gotten around to really curating or processing these photographs and thought this would be the perfect opportunity. I felt like these images would fit the overall theme of the new gallery well.

Canyon Walls
Reflected light and shadows on Navajo Sandstone walls.

By the time the fires began to calm, it became apparent that the summer was not going to be as prolific as anticipated. Although I did manage to get a couple stunning images. One particular evening was a truly explosive sunset in the Owens Valley over a field of sunflowers. The light layer of smoke accentuated the saturation of the sunset and created one of my favorite scenes from this release.

Sierra Sunflowers
Sunflowers under and explosive sunset.

Another morning that stands out to me was along the shores of Lake George in the Mammoth Lakes Basin. I had the lake all to myself except for the hordes of mosquito and the rainbow trout slowly swimming in the shallows. It was a perfectly calm morning and some spectacular light illuminated Crystal Crag.

Window to Crystal Crag
Crystal Crag at first light reflecting in Lake George in the Mammoth Lakes Basin.

After many years I finally made it back to photograph Rainbow Falls in the Devils Postpile National Monument and Ansel Adams Wilderness. I had not rephotographed this location in over 10 years and was long overdue. I had a pre-visualized photograph in mind and it turned out even better than I could have imagined as the sun illuminated the mists surrounding the falls.

Rainbow Falls Sunrise
The sun illuminating the mist created by the powerful 101 foot Rainbow Falls on the Middle Fork of the San Joaquin River.

Overall, the summer felt hazy. It was not my most prolific time photographing but I feel I did manage to create some new work that stands out. As the smoked finally settled I think everyone was affected in one form or another by the historic fires. I was incredibly saddened to hear of a few customers who had lost their homes and most of their belongings, including prints they had bought from my gallery in Mammoth Lakes. I am honored to help them bring beauty back into their new homes and needless to say they will be getting a BIG upgrade free of charge. I have had many customers in the gallery share their stories with me and while heartbreaking, many are very optimistic and excited to begin the rebuilding.

If anyone out there is reading this and their home was lost or damaged during these fires please don't purchase directly from my website. Please contact me personally via email or phone and I would be more than willing to help you decorate at a HUGE discount.

I hope you enjoy the new photographs and my ramblings. The next gallery, "An Unforgettable Winter" coming soon!

See the full New Releases Gallery - The Summer Haze here -

Posted in New Releases.