Click on image to enlarge.
Pulling into the Mono Lake South Tufa parking area I was surprised at not being able to find a place to park – at least not until someone else left.
This night I had been thinking more about having a quiet meditation on the beach, because, for some reason I thought that no one would be here on a Friday night. I had made a lot of nice images the night before at sunset and that morning at sunrise when this part of the lake was less crowded. I don’t know why I thought that there would be nobody here. But nope. The beach this night was crowded – with photographers, with cameras, and with tripods, all looking for that perfect sunset tufa shot. It seemed that a few of the photographers had arrived early and had been set up for quite some time by the time I got there.
Even though some quiet time next to the lake and the stone columns was what I was looking for, I still left open the option to make photographs myself, because one never knows when that perfect image will show up.
I began to size up the shoreline.
While doing so, I remembered that the evening before, I got upset with someone who kept getting in the way of my shots, seemingly on purpose, but probably not, so I was very careful to try to not bother anyone. But that was becoming impossible – wherever I stepped it seemed that there was a camera pointed in my direction.
As the sun began to set, the cameras started clicking. The photographers didn’t move around much, but just kept shooting the images that they had set up. There was really no where for me to go, and I stood for a while watching everyone work. I was a bit amazed that all of these people felt ok about glomming onto a landscape like this. The sun began to set in vivid reds and pinks, streaking across the sky. One by one the photographers turned to photograph the colors, and as they did, I just stood there watching them. The sight of them turning one by one and getting excited about the sun set was a performance in and of itself. They pointed at the sky and a few yelled, “You are missing it! Turn around!” I didn’t think I was missing a thing, and I said so, because they weren’t seeing what I was seeing.
Then I just couldn’t help myself and the photographers themselves became the ridiculous focal point of my images that Friday night at Mono Lake, and I just went with it. I made a few panoramas and images of them – here is one of them.
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The image above has only a handful of the photographers that were there that night in it. The shoreline continued in both directions and there were probably fifty photographers there – if not more. It also could have been a workshop, but it didn’t seem to be a cohesive group.