ISO100, 116mm, f/8, 1/250 sec

Independance (CA), Manzanar Guard Tower, Sierra Nevada

ISO100, 116mm, f/8, 1/250 sec
Independence (CA), Manzanar Guard Tower, Sierra Nevada

The middle of the day.  As a landscape and, more recently, as a nightscape photographer, the middle of the day poses a challenge to capturing great compositions.  With the harsh and bright sunlight, photographs lack contrast and colors are more washed out.  Instead of fighting the light, I spend the time eating, resting, and driving to new locations during the day.  Yet driving to new photo locations is not a matter of getting from point A to point B.  In the past, I would put together a tight shooting schedule for a 24-28 hour period, rushing (sometimes unsuccessfully) from one location to the next based on light and location.  Now that I am car camping for 3 days at a time, getting from point A to B means driving the speed limit, enjoying the scenery, and making stops as much as possible, whether it is a vista point, local museum, or a fish hatchery.  While not every planned location shoot results in the expected photographs (due to light, atmospherics, etc.), these mid-day stops help fill the curious side of me.  I am not out on the road just for the purpose of capturing trophy photographs.  Anyone with decent camera gear and social media accounts can do that.  I want to enjoy my time on the road, hanging out with my doggie co-pilot, and enriching myself mentally.  It would seem contradictory to take vacation time off work only the stress myself out with the photography aspect of the vacation.

Location Notes: Manzanar was one of ten American concentration camps to house “relocated” Japanese Americans during World War II.  Located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada in the Owens Valley about 10 miles north of the town of Lone Pine and Mt. Whitney, Manzanar is now a National Historic Monument.

A podcast from 99% Invisible gives a good overview of the background behind the effort to designate Manzanar as a National Historic Monument.

EXIF data: Nikon D7000, center-weighted metering mode, ISO100, 116mm, f/8, 1/250 sec

Independance (CA), Manzanar Guard Tower, Sierra Nevada. Manzanar War Relocation Center (National Historic Site), Independence, CA. May 26, 2017. © Copyright Steven Tze – all rights reserved.


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