Alabama Hills

Image ยฉ 2017/Denise Ippolito Photography ~ Alabama Hills Arch, my favorite from the early morning.

I spent a couple of days with clients/friends Laurie and Frank Sheets out in Lone Pine California. My friend Michael came along to help with the driving and to scout a few other areas out west. We all got along so well. Laurie and I are both adventurous, independent and we both love the outdoors. Frank is very nice and is almost always smiling.

While we were there Frank showed us an image that Ansel Adams had photographed many years ago in Lone Pine, it is called “Winter Sunrise, Sierra Nevada from Lone Pine” and was photographed in 1944. According to many folks, Ansel made the image and spent a number of years dealing with it after the fact. In his words, โ€œI ruthlessly removed what I could of the LP from the negative (in the left-hand hill), and have always spotted out any remaining trace in the print.โ€ It was fun to try to figure out exactly where he stood as he captured the shot. But after carefully examining the image and looking for clues, we–thanks to Laurie, got in the right spot!

My image(see below)pales in comparison as it is only a snapshot. Ansel Adams had nice lighting, foreground trees and a feeding horse that added considerably to the shot. I should not have even photographed it, especially after I looked for his exact spot but I couldn’t help myself; he is considered to be the most iconic photographer of our time. One of his quotes that says “There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs” has always stood out to me. Wow, to think that I stood in his footprints, way cool!!

In addition to Lone Pine, we checked out Alabama Hills. Alabama Hills, located in the Owens Valley are a range of hills and rock formations near the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada. I first learned about the arch at that location after watching a video by Tony Northrup. It looked amazing and I was anxious to get there. Laurie got a killer shot of it as she framed the arch with Mt. Whitney inside of it with smokey clouds all around. The peachy pinks were memorable!

Before I left home I borrowed the Canon 11-24mm f/4 lens from my friends at B&H. I used it at the arch along with the EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR Camera . The lens is super sharp, has four aspherical elements to help minimize distortion, it is a bit heavy but wow, I love it!

On the morning we were leaving, my friend and I decided at the last minute to go back to the arch and take our own images. Besides, that 11-24mm lens was burning a hole in my pocket. As we arrived, there was already a van in the parking lot. Worried that we would be too late to get a good spot we hurried down the trail. When we arrived at the arch we were the only ones there! Yippee! Shortly after a man came up the trail and stood behind us. It was dark and we couldn’t see him too well and we weren’t sure if he had a camera so we asked him if he was there to photograph the arch. He said something like, ya, you guys got here first I’ll look for another spot. We said, there is room here you can squeeze in. He was happy. Then another guy came and he was pacing around behind us for about a minute and I said to him, there is room next to me if you want, we can all work together. He was glad. The truth is that my friend and I were eagerly hoping to have the place to ourselves to work the scene and also do a little light painting. BUT, we couldn’t do that to them. And, they ended up being very nice and we all got along well. In fact Dan (the first one to show up), from Precipice photography posed to let me take his silhouette. I’ll share that photo when he sends me a link to his site when he gets it up and running. Even though we didn’t get the shots that we had envisioned we were all happy for the bit of color we got. The moonburst added nicely to the shot.

Image ยฉ 2017/Denise Ippolito Photography ~ The spot that Ansel Adams captured his shot, note the LP on the side of the hill that he removed.

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18 Responses

  1. Muriel McClellan says:

    Nice work as always. Loved your story of finding the place that Ansel Adams stood. Thank you for sharing.

    Thanks Muriel, I appreciate it.

  2. Tony Botelho says:

    Incredible imagines! Great story, I can’t imagine what it must have felt like to stand in the spot that Ansel Adams did many years ago.
    I do have to correct something you said. I have never seen anything that you have posted that is just a snapshot. They are all works of art. Thank you for sharing.

    Hi Tony, thank you kindly. It was a thrill for sure!

  3. Sharon Hallowell says:

    The arch looks like a preening dove or willet, and I really love your images. And Denise, while I have nothing but respect for Ansel Adams, YOU are my Ansel Adams. Ok if I call you Ansella? Your work is on par with the best of the best.

    Sharon, you are so sweet, thank you so much. It was fun to be in his footprints for a brief few minutes ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. James Saxon says:

    Put me on the interested list if you do a workshop in that area. I have always wanted to photograph there. Great shot with the color, moon and arch.

    Hi James, thank you so much. I am considering it and will let you know if I do.

  5. Ron May says:

    Neat shots. The Alabama Hills are one spot on my bucket list, for sure.

    Hi Ron, thank you kindly. I appreciate it.

  6. Dee Ellison says:

    Gorgeous photos, Denise. And a wonderful story to go with it! I’m in to join you for a photo outing there.

    Hi Dee, thank you very much. I hope to get one together soon.

  7. Rich West says:

    Denise, very nice story and images as usual. Love the moonburst image.

    Thank you kindly Rich, much appreciated.

  8. That is the coolest rock formation I think I have ever seen Denise! I have been using the Laowa 12mm f2.8 Zero D lens for quite awhile now and must say that the extreme wide angle views are quite addictive…I am sure you will love the 11mm option ๐Ÿ™‚

    Hi Andrew, I shot with that lens before in the Palouse and am totally addicted to the wide angle view but the weight and price might keep me away.

  9. Laurie Sheets says:

    Denise thanks for the nice compliment about my shot – but WOW I love the way you framed the whole arch and the base of the arch! The moon is fantastic too. Frank and I did some more scouting and found an abundance of other places that warranted evening shoots. And now weโ€™ve gone up 395 with fantastic sunsets! This whole area has so many possibilities that you are going to have to do a workshop out here and I only hope it doesnโ€™t fill up before we get our names on that list!!

    Hi Laurie, so glad you like it, I do too. We miss you guys and have been photographing around the clock. Tomorrow another slot canyon! I hope that I can return again for a workshop soon, I will save two spots for you ๐Ÿ™‚
    hugs, denise

  10. Sally Foster says:

    I treasure the time I spent with Ansel Adams in Yosemite and I also treasure the times I have spent photographing with you in various locations

    Hi Sally, I remember you mentioning your time with Ansel Adams. You are very lucky to have had that time. I was thrilled just to be near the place that he stood. Jim told me that you were all going to Conowingo this weekend, have fun and tell Paul that I hope he is feeling better. PS-Happy Birthday!
    hugs, denise

  11. Alanrossphotography says:

    Nice one of the arch!

    Hi Alan, welcome to my blog. I can’t even believe that you would take the time to comment on my image. Thank you, it means so much.

  12. Pingback: Horseshoe Bend Canyon | A CREATIVE ADVENTURE photography by denise ippolito

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