Photography and Horses in the High Sierras
Have you ever done something that was a bit out of your comfort zone? I find that I feel most alive when I am pushing boundaries, learning something new and seeing new sights!
I recently returned from a trip that had me losing a little sleep a few weeks before I left. I would wake up in the night tossing and turning, feeling like I might have made a mistake. I signed up for a 5 day "pack trip" (I didn't even know those existed 😂) into the high Eastern Sierra's between Mammoth and Yosemite.
The reason I signed up was because a fellow photographer made me do it!! Not really, but my photographer friend who has horses and loves photography, thought it might be fun. She found a wonderful photo workshop that was going to take 10 people into the mountains on horseback, to camp....in a tent....on the ground....and immerse themselves into photographic art for 5 glorious days!
(More on the workshop and how to attend later in the blog)
Now the photo part caught my attention of course, but also the part about going deep into the Sierras where you cannot access these scenes by car. And if you hiked in, you would probably be so tired that you might not feel like taking any pictures - LOL. But, it did involve a six hour horseback ride over Mono Pass (12,000 feet!) and back down into a beautiful valley to camp by a lake...in a tent...on the ground.... did I mention that part?
"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” - Helen Keller
I have to say, I was a little worried I may not be as much of an outdoorsy type that I was in my mind. But after the first day, I know I'd be fine. In fact- I was delighted to be out in the wilderness and completely unplugged. We had absolutely no cell service - phone nor internet. I found myself reaching for the phone often in the first few days out of habit. Just a quick check in to see if I had missed anything, but ...there were no messages! Everyone would just have to survive without me...and they did! Once I settled in, I really enjoyed the time having long conversations with the others on the trip. And we had a chance to really dive into the photography and really enjoy being out in nature.
“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.”
― The Mountains of California
Each day we would venture out and hike or horseback ride in search for beautiful sights. I haven't spent a lot of time in the Sierras except winters on the slopes, so all of the sights were so new and exciting. I really enjoyed photographing the flowing water in the creeks. Even for a dry year in the mountains, it seemed like a lot of water to me. This photograph was created with a long exposure on a tripod.
We camped at Pioneer Basin which was our base-camp for four nights. The Perseid Meteor Shower was happening while we were there, so venturing out at night had an added show of spectacular beauty in the sky.
Hiking at 10,000 feet is a bit different when you live at sea-level, but luckily I did some extra training at my favorite gym in Ventura- "The Vent" before the trip so I felt ready for it. Though, at that altitude, I was quicker to get winded and have my lungs feel like they were on fire!
It was a trip I will never forget and I will make sure to plan something at least once a year that pushes me a bit out of my comfort zone..
because I really LOVED IT!
“The sun shines not on us but in us.”