I made my first visit to Mono Lake in June 2001 with my photographer friend, Jerry Hanson. Mono Lake is home to numerous “tufa” formations made of calcium carbonate. Originally underwater, they were exposed to view by the gradual draining of Mono Lake since the 1920s by the L.A. Metropolitan Water District. That is no longer happening and some years hence the formations will once again be underwater. In the meantime, they are a lot of fun to photograph during sunrise and sunset.

On this particular visit we were enormously lucky to be there when the setting sun lit a lenticular cloud—almost as if a giant flying saucer were about to land.

All the images below were made on Velvia film with my trusy Nikon N90 camera. I have digitized a selection of slides made on this trip using my Nikon D850 digital camera, fitted with a Nikon 60mm macro lens and Nikon ES-2 slide adaptor, creating 45MByte image of each slide. I’ve then post-processed each image as usual in Lightroom, Photoshop, and (occasionally) ON-1 Photo Raw 2020.

Velvia film was famous for creating deeply saturated colors with a bias to the reds. I think that even though these images are digitized you can still see some of the “analog smoothness” that film creates as opposed to digital. Sort of like vinyl records compared to digital CDs.

Click on the image to see an enlarged view…

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