I was there in the summer and there was a bit of a breeze. I would guess it's a bit chilly in October and could be windy and if it is a bit dusty. There is also some nice scenery along the dirt roads that take you into the ghost town.
It really does give you the feeling of being in the middle of nowhere.
Mammoth also has some cool photography. Rainbow Canyon and Devils postpile are popular destinations if your into doing some light to moderate hiking. there are some interesting mountain lakes as well worth checking out.
AKA : Sal Ficarrotta in some parts of the universe.
I have an ultrawide (Sigma 10-20) and a fisheye (Nikon 10.5). I like very much the fisheye for landscapes, it could also be useful in Bodie!
I have a macro (Sigma 150 f/2.8) but I can't guess what it may be useful for ? It is a heavy lens I usually don't bring while traveling. Please, tell me what can be photographed with the macro.
Regarding the cemetery, they exist everywhere while the ghost houses don't. So I'll certainly spend my sunrise time at the town. Any suggestion of types of buildings or insides I should prioritize when the sun rises ? or before sunrise (it opens 30 minutes before sunrise)?
Thanks a lot for your help, it is highly appreciated!
The macro shots are close ups of stuff that is lying around. Old cars, tools, architectural details, door knobs, hinges, etc. A close focusing lens is probably adequate rather than your 150mm. Perhaps something like a 70-200 or 70-300 would work.
I was there are midday - the park service did not allow us to photograph at sunset as planned. There is a large mine building on a hill - probably your best subject for sunrise. You'll have to make a call on the angle. I think it is on the east side of town and would be backlit or slightly sidelit.
I think the cemetery is on a hill outside town on the west side. It is a nice elevated view from the hill. with a gate and some really good moody images. This is not something you will see elsewhere. The sun will probably hit the hillside and cemetery first.
There is also a really nice group of 2-3 story buildings in the middle of town. I think they face east.
Consider ourself very fortunate to have the opportunity to visit Bodie which is arguably the best ghost town in the US. I've visited quite a few ghost towns and Bodie wins the prize, not only for the great old buildings and artifacts which remain but for how much remains. This place is a photographer's paradise. Expect to be shooting all the time from the moment you arrive until you and your rental car depart the parking lot!
Through the hears I have visited Bodie at least half a dozen times, and I am always ready to go again. I'm sorry that I am not at home at the moment. If I were I would post some photos of some of the more prominent features of Bodie. But no doubt you will discover them on your own.
The elevation at Bodie is something like 8,300 feet. Therefore, I'd be prepared for possible chilly weather when you make your visit. I recall one visit to Bodie when it was very windy.
I hardly ever use a flash, and I never use a tripod. Even if you have neither, you will still have a great time photographing the many aspects of Bodie.
Have fun. You're about to experience a real photographic treat!
Coming from Quebec City, I love chilly weather! I much prefer such weather than anything over 25 Celsius or over 80 Fareinheit!
Regarding wind, this indicates that, in spite of the extra weight, I should really bring my regular tripod (Gitzo GT3541LS + Markins Q20) as opposed to the tiny and light travel tripod (Benro Travel Angel C-069 M8 + Markins Q3). This means about 2 pounds heavier overall and putting the tripod in my checked luggage (risk of arriving late or loosing it) rather than my carry-on. This also likely means sacrificing one lens (macro + fisheye?). My flying bag is ThinkTank Ultralight V2.5 and can't fit in the 3541LS.
Since it may be windy and it is a sandy area, I should also bring my ThinkTank Hydrophobia 70-200 I guess!
Sounds like it is goint to be a busy sunrise for you. The fisheye sounds like a cool way to get some original images from an often photographed site. I am sure there will be plenty of shots to choose from at sunrise but even that early morning light will be a pleasure to work in and fall light should be special.
Here is a shot of the safe .. it's inside the bank but in a dark vault area and a flash is paramount if I remember correctlt for getting an image of it.
Tue 13-Sep-11 02:44 PM | edited Tue 13-Sep-11 02:59 PM by Kit Sims Taylor
It was some years back, but I was at Bristlecone in late afternoon, which gave some dramatic lighting. I can't think of any reasons it wouldn't be safe after dark, but don't know if it is gated off or not. It is pretty high elevation and likely to be quite cold once the sun goes down.
As I recall, you will need to go through Bishop to get to Bristlecone, so try to leave some time for a stop at the Galen Rowell gallery, Mountain Light: http://www.mountainlight.com/
I've visited the Bristlecone Pine Forest - Schulman Grove only this past June. There is construction of a new Visitor Center on-going. Adjacent to the VC site, there is a moderate-difficulty one mile trail around and through the pines. It's certainly worth the effort (bring water). In the dark, I wouldn't be wandering about on this trail for steepness reasons and even for animal activity reasons.
On the road to the Schulman Grove (up the mountain), there is a nice vista point that may provide opportunity for star trails. I have a picture in my Gallery of me & the wife from this point so you could gauge the openness; it's in the Eastern Sierras Album... front cover.
Also, there is a 12-mile gravel road that continues to the Patriarch Grove from the Schulman Grove. This road may also be a good location(s) for star trails. Now there is not much (like none) civilization along this road so, at dark, I wouldn't wander too far from the vehicle. We were on this road this past June on our way to the Patriarch Grove but it was closed, by barricade, due to snow. We were rather disappointed as we had checked with the Bishop Visitor Center (for up-to-date info?) and we're told that the road was "just" opened.
As far as the time of day, my feeling would be early evening to be better as you would be on the west side of the mountain. I have been there and will be there in the afternoon.
You will be at 9,000 feet (Schulman) and perhaps 11,000 feet (Patriarch) so dress accordingly... especially mid-October.
As already mentioned, the Galen Rowell Gallery is worth a visit, just amazing work!
I've just added the Devil's Postpile to my eclectic itinerary.
Ah Ah Ah, same for me here! There are 5 millions visitors per year in Quebec City (where I work) but I always lack time to do real photography in this fantastic city! I always postpone to later times while I don't for those places where I travel as it often is a "once in a lifetime" visit! I believe we are all the same with this regard!
Mon 19-Sep-11 02:21 AM | edited Mon 19-Sep-11 03:03 AM by Golfster
Hello Yvan... I have just returned from Bodie, Devils Postpile, Bristlecone forest, and sadly, Friday at the Reno Air Races.
Bodie is terrific and just a wonderful place to photograph. Definitely do bring a flash and a wide angle lens. I thought that we would spend about an hour but we stayed three hours... just a interesting place.
The journey to the Bristlecone Pine Forest is a drive up and down mountain roads. The "road" to the Patriarch Grove is 12 miles of rocks, dirt, and some gravel... very bumpy and slow-going. We traveled this road in an SUV and the round-trip drive-time was one hour. If you drive from Bishop, the trip to Schulman Grove is about 1.5 hours, perhaps two hours at Schulman, then one hour (RT) driving the Patriarch "road", one hour at the Patriarch Grove, and the 1.5 hours back to Bishop which results in 7 hours. That's a full day for me and remember that the groves are at 10-11,00 feet.
Hope this helps. And as promised, I will post a couple of shots from Bodie... just need to work through a few things.
Mon 19-Sep-11 11:13 AM | edited Mon 19-Sep-11 11:14 AM by newbird
Thank you so much Dennis!
The agenda I presently am trying to put together would be to go to Schulman Grove on PM (arrive around 3PM) and then stay for star trails at CARMA satellite dishes if open to public (if not, will do star trails with pine trees). Does it make sense?
Is it OK to drive back at night in these roads?
I won't have an SUV but a compact rented car. So, is the road OK to Schulman Grove with a compact car?
I'll probably have to give up Patriarch because of the road condition for a compact car. Is Patriarch truly worth going or is it better for me to spend that time somewhere else to diversify my photo topics (since I'll have already spent some time at Schulman) ? I have several other places I'd love to photograph around but I must make trade-offs
Hope to see your photographs soon!
edit: the Reno accident truly is a sad event! I know that a former Air Canada pilot is amongst the victims. My thoughts go to the families and survivors.
Tue 20-Sep-11 01:05 AM | edited Tue 20-Sep-11 01:10 AM by Golfster
Hello Yvan... With a rental car, whether subcompact or not, I wouldn't attempt the "road" to Patriarch Grove. I don't know where the CARMA satellite dishes would be exactly; there is a communication facility a mile or so on the road to the Patriarch.
Although the distance up the mountain to Schulman is 10 miles, the road is very winding and hilly. I was upshifting and downshifting often (and I have an automatic transmission). I would not make the drive at night. There is also a gate just above the Sierra Viewpoint and below Schulman. As there is construction at the Visitor Center, I don't know if the gate and the Grove are closed at night.
A few moments ago, I posted a few photos from Bodie in my Eastern Sierra's Album. It has been rather busy about the house after our recent trip; I still have many photos to review.
My wife and I left the Air Race/Show just before the accident; we were on the shuttle bus. Although we didn't witness the horrific accident, it is tough to look at my Reno pictures knowing what was to happen. I did happen to catch The Galloping Ghost in a foreground position of two pictures under going maintenance on the flight line during one of the heats. Our seating was in the grandstands Section B last row, and I estimate about 300 to 400 yards away from the crash site. Just glad that my left arm was too sore from holding my camera and lens for six hours and decided to skip that race.
Thanks again for the info. Your photos of Eastern Sierras and Bodie are nice !
The Carma dishes are right at the intersection of the White Mountains Road and Route 168. You probably didn't see it as there seems to be a small hill on Google Earth between the route 168 and the dishes. Search for CARMA in Nikonians galleries and you'll see great pictures of stars + dishes in the foreground.
I assume that at this place, the road is OK and it would be a nice place to make star trails if open tu public.
Hello Yvan... and thanks for your kind comment about my Bodie & Sierras' pictures.
The intersection that you mentioned is in the "lowlands" and just at the start of the climb up the mountain (White Mountain Road). As I recall, there are small hills, but I think that you could easily find a spot to set-up your equipment.
I did check-out the star trails photos and thanks for the reference.