Coso Range

All images copyright (c) by Greg Fisch

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The weather along the Eastern Sierra can change very rapidly.  The winds coming across the mountain can bring storms into Owens Valley in just a few minutes.  While driving home after a trip to Mono Lake, I could watch the storm moving into the valley just ahead me.


The peak was a reddish sandstone material and with the afternoon sun, it glowed a brilliant orange against the dark gray storm clouds.  Even though the wind was blowing very hard, I decided to try to setup the camera, using the van as a shield from the wind.  The van helped a little, but it was very difficult trying to keep the camera still and the focusing cloth from whipping around.


My original previsualization was to have the foreground ridge in complete shadow, thus emphasizing the peak.  While waiting for the clouds to move into position, this arrangement became apparent and I clicked the shutter.  I turned the film holder around and waited for another 15 minutes before I got the clouds to give me the scene I thought would be pleasing.  After I got home and processed the film, this exposure was clearly the best.  The one I waited for turned out rather dull.


I used a red-orange filter, but no filter factor.  This caused the red-orange peak to look about 3 Zones brighter than it appeared.  I metered this scene backwards.  Normally, I start by placing the shadow values were I want them, then determining where the highlights fall, and choosing development times accordingly.  Here, I worked by placing the peak on Zone VII knowing that N+1 would make it Zone VIII.  The filter would have little or no effect on this area because of the similar color.  The filter would lower the shadowed areas down to Zone II and III, while the clouds were a bit less that Zone V.


Camera: Cambo SCII

Lens: Schneider Symmar-S 210mm f5.6

 Film: Tri-X 4x5

Development: Normal+1