Landscape and Panoramic Photography

Posts tagged “mountains

Tucson Mountains Saguaro Cacti

I went for a January pre winter  storm (in Tucson read: rainstorm) hike in the Tucson Mountains. Cactus spines and arms stood out in front of the approaching clouds.

cactustopcloudstucsonmountainsCactus Top and Clouds, Tucson Mountains, AZ (12″x18″)

cactiinthecloudstucsonmountainsSaguaro Cacti in the Clouds, Tucson Mountains, AZ (12″x18″)


Descent from Lakes

After the fog halted our coring efforts for the day, we took a few minutes to walk around in the clouds before heading back to camp (first panorama). The next day, we got up early and headed back over a nearby pass to start our long descent out of the mountains back to the Karnali River valley (second panorama).

windowthroughcloudsbacktocampnepalWindow through the Clouds back to Camp, near Jumla, Nepal (16″x50″)

pathoverthepassnepalPath over the Pass, near Jumla, Nepal (16″x52″)


Lower Lake Levels

As I mentioned in a previous week’s post, lake levels were down in 2016 in the mountains of far western Nepal after an especially hot year. I am accustomed to ‘bathtub ring’ images of Lake Powell in the American Southwest, but we could see our own ‘bathtub ring’ effect around our study lakes in the Himalaya.

bathtubringsaroundretreatinglakenepalBathtub Rings around Retreating Lake, near Jumla, Nepal (16″x42″)

cloudreflectionsinlakenepalCloud Reflections in Shrinking Lake, near Jumla, Nepal (16″x41″)

 


From Clear to Foggy

As I mentioned in last week’s post, rising air on the flanks of the Himalaya brings moisture to ~14,000 feet by around 11:00AM. We could see clouds gathering by 9:00 AM as we hiked across an open, rolling landscape to reach one of the slightly higher lakes (first panorama). By the time we cored the lake twice, visibility was down to a few feet- getting wet out on the water with no sunshine made the work miserably cold (second panorama).

hiketotheupperlakeanddistantcloudsnepalHike to the Upper Lake and Distant Clouds, near Jumla, Nepal (14″x82″)

foggedinupperlakenepalFogged in Upper Lake, near Jumla, Nepal (16″x74″)

 


Sunrise over the Lake

The weather at 14,000 feet in June in the Himalaya can make coring lakes difficult. The sky tends to be clear from around sunrise to 11:00 AM, so I woke up early every morning, shook the ice off my tent, ate a quick breakfast, and got out on the lake to start work before conditions made coring nearly impossible (hail, lightning, thick fog). Here is a panorama of a picturesque cold, clear sunrise before we started our work.

shorelinesunriseshadowsnepalShoreline, Sunrise, and Shadows, near Jumla, Nepal (16″x62″)


Lake Basecamp

The final push up the river valley and a steep ravine to our lake basecamp would have been easy at 5,000 feet, but near 14,000 feet, carrying a heavy pack up a hill can be exhausting. However, the relatively short hike to our campsite was worth the view- a lake basin surrounded by constantly shifting clouds draped over craggy peaks near 16,000 feet. Although these ‘hills’ are insignificant by Nepali standards, for North Americans doing field work in the area it was a beautiful sight. The lake levels were noticeably lower this year- a few warmer and drier seasons had left lake levels well below where they had been on our previous trip two years ago (see exposed shoreline in second panorama).

firstlookatthelakenepalFirst Look at the Lake, near Jumla, Nepal (16″x93″)

exposedshorelinerocksandcampnepalExposed Shoreline Rocks and Camp, near Jumla, Nepal (16″x58″)


Camp in the High River Valley

After descending from the pass and high plateau, we continued up a river valley and made camp on the bank near sunset. Rhododendron bushes and small trees lined the hillsides at the edge of tree line, and landslide debris was piled on the hillsides (first panorama). Another rainstorm rolled through around sunset, and I was able to photograph a few grazing horses on a ridge top in front of the clouds (second, third panoramas).

landslidedebrishillsidenepalLandslide Debris and Hillside, near Jumla, Nepal (16″x55″)

horsesstormcloudsonridgenepalHorses and Storm Clouds on the Ridge, near Jumla, Nepal (16″x32″)

streamstormcloudshillsidenepalStorm Clouds over Hillside and Stream, near Jumla, Nepal (13″x53″)


Jumla Region Trek, Part 2

We ate a quick breakfast, packed our tents, and descended into a fog-draped valley before continuing up a steep, forested hillside. We climbed through the pines along a mountain stream, passing the occasional logging camp. The scents of cook fire smoke and pine resin wafted through the forest. After hiking most of the day in the trees, we ascended a last few steep slopes and popped out above tree line in an open meadow. We stopped and made camp in this valley (first panorama) to allow ourselves to acclimate to the higher elevation. The next morning we rose early and started over the 14,000+ foot pass (second and third panoramas). At this elevation, clouds surrounded us throughout most of the day.

 

campinfoggyvalleynepalCamp in the Foggy Valley, near Jumla, Nepal (16″x83″)

cloudypathoverthepassnepalCloudy Path over the Pass, near Jumla, Nepal (16″x57″)

patcheslightthroughcloudsonpassnepalPatches of Light through Clouds on the Pass, near Jumla, Nepal (16″x75″)


Hiking Over the Pass in Fog

The pre-monsoon rains filled the rivers with water in the valleys; worried about the rising water, the truck drivers left us before the rivers became impassable and drove around the mountain range to meet us in the Karnali River valley near Manma. After coring the mid-elevation lakes, we packed our field equipment and started our multi-day journey through the mountains to meet the rest of the trucks. A slippery stone path led us over a pass through the dripping branches, wet leaves, and land leeches. Occasional dog barks and other sounds echoed through the fog as we walked, but the fog obscured any views of the surrounding countryside.

stonepathandtreesinthefogStone Path and Trees in the Fog, far western Nepal (16″x48″)

fogandtreesonthepassFog and Trees on the Pass, far western Nepal (16″x48″)


Fog Rolling into Camp

After the clouds moved up the steep valleys below our tents, the fog crept through the Dr. Seuss-like trees and over the campsite, eventually blanketing the ridge top and  shrouding the morning sunlight.

sunlightthroughmorningfogSunlight through Morning Fog, far western Nepal (16″x52″)

fogcreepingthroughtreesFog Creeping through the Trees, far western Nepal (16″x54″)