Lake Crowley Columns. Three words that hold so much meaning and even a bit of emotion to me. Surprising since I never knew of the columns existence until almost exactly a year ago. Despite my occasional photography day trips out to the Eastern Sierra to visit Bodie, Mono Lake, Devil’s Postpile in Mammoth, fall colors at various locations along Hwy 395, petroglyphs, and even the Ancient Bristlecones Pines in the adjacent White Mountains, I had never heard of these columns. That was until I read an article in the Los Angeles Times reporting on what researchers from UC Berkeley determined as the origins of these columns.
Geology that appears otherworldly fascinates me, especially if seemingly perfect symmetry is produced. The geology is what keeps bringing me back to the Eastern Sierra and Point Arena. Sure, the overall landscape is beautiful, but that is just an added bonus.
This particular post is a bit out of the box in that I am going to a bit more personal than my usual comments for a photograph. I am banking a bit on most of my readers looking at the photo or even reading a couple of paragraphs before moving on to another blog post or Facebook story. That way, this is more of a cathartic release of my thoughts and no one would be the wiser.
For a little over a year now, I have been figuring out the details of a proposal. Until a year ago, I had narrowed it down to 2 locations – a very specific location in Point Arena or an even more specific location just outside of Death Valley that only has meaning to U2 fans. Upon reading this article about the Lake Crowley Columns, I had 3 possibilities.
That proposal is no longer in the cards, but I vowed (no pun intended) to at least see the columns firsthand despite all the emotions tied to it. The drive on sometimes bumpy dirt roads took longer than expected and that was on top of a failed attempt an hour before using a dirt road that proven too rugged for my 4-wheel drive SUV. I arrived later than I hoped, missed the golden light of sunset, and with the sun dipping behind the Sierra, the light was quickly fading. So I took some photographs and assessed an area with taller columns would have to wait another trip. If I was going to be stranded due to some mechanical car failure (I could see myself having possibly breaking an axle rod in one particular section of eroded uphill), I would rather have a little light left in the sky. The rush to shoot photos and the rush to get back out in a short period of time likely helped me keep my thoughts in check.
Perhaps it is poetic justice that I did not get to finish the shoot at the Lake Crowley Columns as I intended. Just more unfinished business. Next time.
EXIF data: Nikon D7000, center-weighted metering mode, ISO100, 24mm, f/14, 0.4 sec
Mammoth Lakes (CA), Lake Crowley, Columns, Supermoon. Lake Crowley, Mammoth Lakes, CA. November 12, 2016. © Copyright Steven Tze – all rights reserved.