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   This is an archived copy of the Oct/Nov 2016 Field Trip Planning Page  
Eastern Sierra Fall Colors and a mid-October Super-Moon
to be focus of Field Trip slated for October 14th to 19th.

The California Highway 395 Corridor on the Eastern Sierra from Mono Lake to the Alabama Hills will be the focus of the Club’s annual Fall Color Field trip scheduled to take place from October 14th to the 19th.

The Eastern Sierra is California's showcase for Fall Colors and provids photographers with great opportunities to capture beautiful images of yellow, gold, and orange aspens against a backdrop of spectacular mountain peaks, streams and lakes.


In addition to the Fall Colors, the trip is also being scheduled to take advantage of a “Super Moon” that will reach its maximum fullness on the evening of October 15th at precisely 9:23 pm. 

Super Moon

Wikipedia defines Super Moon as “the coincidence of a full moon or a new moon with the closest approach the Moon makes to the Earth on its elliptical orbit, resulting in the largest apparent size of the lunar disk as seen from Earth.” It’s BIG and bright folks.

The website,, has a dramatic graphical presentation that illustrates just how much larger the Super Moon can be.


Check it our here:

Those making the trip will have a variety of opportunities to photograph the moon as it rises and sets over some of the more iconic landscapes that abound on the "Other Side of California".


These opportunities include:

  • Moonrise over Mono Lake on the evening of October 14th.

  • Moonset over the Sierra Crest from a variety of locations near Bishop CA, and the Alabama Hills near Lone Pine, CA on the morning of October 16th.

With the Moon being at its maximum brightness during the trip, the group will also have an opportunity to try their hand at photographing under Moonlight in the Alabama Hills on the nights of October 16th and 17th.


Milky Way Galaxy

As a bonus, the group wil also have an opportunity to photograph the Milky Way Galaxy over the Alabama Hills and the Sierra Crest on the night of October 17th.  The Galaxy will be visible for approximately 97-minutes from 7:40pm to 9:16pm.

The Galaxy photograph may be possible because the Galactic Core (brightest part of the Galaxy) will be in the Southwest while the Moon will be rising in the Northeast. To Photograph the Galaxy, the camera will actually be pointing away from the Moon toward the darker portion of the sky.

A Menue Approach


Trip participants enjoyed a pre-trip planning party at the home of Field Trip coordinator Les Thomas on Thursday, September 8th.  A Field Trip planning and information package was distributed to help trip goers prepare for the trip.

The trip itinerary and info package identified specific times and locations for two primary celestial photographic opportunities i.e., Moonrise over Mono Lake on 10/14, and the Moonset over the  Sierra Crest on 10/16. 

The package also included information to help participants prepare to take photographs at night under the light of the Super Moon.

Detailed location maps were also included to enable participants to set their own time table based upon their interest.


The package includes information for the primary locations for photographing Fall Color such as Convict Lake, Rock Creek Canyon, Lake Sabrina, and South Lake Road among others.  

The Above photo Moonrise over Mono Lake by

Bob Baikauskas was photographed in October of 2013.

The Above photo Moonrset over Lone Pine Mt. and Mt. Whitney

by Bob Baikauskas was photographed in October of 2013.

The Above photo Fall Colors - Intake II 

by Allen Adler is typical of the scenes during October.

The Alabama Hills is also a photographic wonderland with unusual rock formations and dozens of photogenic arches, the most popular of which is the Mobius Arch also know as the Swan.  This area will serve as the subject for the Moonlight Photography activity on the nights of 10/16 and 10/17.

For maps & Info package handouts go to our  Field Trips Page  HERE 

If you have any ideas, questions, or suggestions regarding the trip you can email them to Bob Baikauskas  HERE  

A detailed trip itinerary and information package was produced to assist those who have signed up for the trip.

You can view and download the major components of the information package from the list below.

Administration- click icons to view and download pdf file

Itinerary - check back often as it will be updated periodically

This is the initial Trip Itinerary to use as a guide for planning out your trip.

It provides a menue of photo opportunities including the Moonrise over Mono Lake and the Moonset over the Sierra Crest from both Bishop, CA and the Alabama Hills near Lone Pine, CA

Equipment Checklist

Here is a detailed checklist of items you should consider when preparing for your trip.  It includes suggestions for everything from chapstick and batteries to powerstrips and gloves

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Instructional Materials- click icons to view and download pdf file

List of helpful Websites

This is a list of websites covering a wide range of topics from How to photograph in Moonlight, where to find the best locations for photographing Fall colors, to websites that give periodic reports on the state and condition of the Fall Colors along the Eastern Sierra.  The list included hot links to the websites, so you don't have to do any typing... just click.

Daytime Light Definitions

Ever heard of Astrological Twilight?  No, well it's important if you are planning to do some Moonlight photography.  This document will help explain terms like Golden Hour, Blue Hour and it will have representative photos that illustrate the various types of light that occurr in the morning and evening hours.

How to Photograph in Moonlight

Excellent overview on how to photograph in moonlight.  It offers methods for quickly and simply determining  the optimum exposure settings and for getting your focus sharp.  There is a link to a website which is the source of the information complied by John Aldred  and a video by Karl Taylor that demonstrates the techniques described in the article.

Moonlight and Night Photography Specific Websites

Here is a list of websites that focus on Moonlight photography and photographing at night.  It's worthwhile investigating these sites in preparation for the October Field Trip.

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Planning Materials - click icons to view and download pdf file

Aerial View of Alabama Hills with Information Overlays

If you are not familiar with the Alabama Hills, this is something you should check out. This planning aid provides an Aerial View of Alabama Hills taken from a 7-minute YouTube video shot by Mark Hammon using an Aerial Drone.  It includes a copy of the view with information overlays depicting the route of Movie Flat Road and a few of the locations you might want to consider in planning your trip.  It also contains a link to the YouTube Video... well worth viewing.

Sun and Moon Schedule for October 14th through the 19th

This pdf will provide you with background information and a detailed schedule of Sunrise/Sunset and Moonrise/Moonset times along with Golden Hour, Blue Hour and Astrological Twilight for both morning and evening. Along with the scheduling information, the document also provides the Azimuth data for all rising and setting times for the Sun and the Moon.  The times were calculated using the location of Bishop, CA as its central location is applicable for all other locations within a minute or two and withing a few degrees of Azimuth bearing.

Highway 395 Overview Map - Bridgeport to Bishop

This is an overview map designed to help you get a sense of where the various photographing locations are situated along Highway 395.  Shooting locations are listed in Red Type.  Detailed planning maps have been prepared for some of the locations where there is a specific photographic scene, e.g., a Sunrise photo at Convict Lake.

Hot Links to Promotional Brochures that you can download

Many of the Counties and Municipalities along Highway 395 publish highly informative brochures that describe the many activities and sites to be enjoyed on the Eastern side of the Sierra Nevada.  These include a guide published by Inyo and Mono Counties that provides a great overview of the premiere locations for photographing Fall Color

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Location Maps- click icons to view and download pdf file

Mono Lake Moonrise Overview

The evening of October 14th marks the optimal day and time to capture the Super Moon rising over iconic Mono Lake which is located off Highway 395 just South of Lee Vining, CA.  This is the day before the Moon is 98.1% full for all intents and purposes it will look full.  The reason the 14th was selected is that the Moon will be above the horizion during Golden Hour and Blue Hour which means that their will be ample light to illuminate the foreground objects, which in this case means the tufa formations that distinguish this iconic location.  The pdf provides GPS data and some preview of potential photos.

Mono Lake Moonrise Map

This is a detailed map showing the location of the South Lake Tufas and the possible camera locations.  It contains the GPS coordinates and all relevant Sunset and Moonrise timing and positioning.

Sunrise Location Map for Convict Lake

This map provides GPS coordinates, Sunrise and Moonset schedule, Azimuth data and location of the map with directional overlay depicting the path of the Moon and Sun.  It also has a phot overlay which features a photograph that was taken from the location indicated by the GPS data.

Little Lakes/Rock Creek Canyon Map

Little Lakes Valley is recognized as one of the most beautiful high Alpine Valley's on the entire Eastern Sierra.  It is a three-mile long box canyon that is surrounded by 13,800+ mountain peaks and features a string of high alpine lakes that are tied together by streams that ultimately empty into Rock Creek Lake.  The trailhead lies at 10,300 feet and the entire elevation gain from trailhead to the back end of the valley is roughly 600 feet.  A favorite destination for photographers, fisherman and day hikers, access to the valley is via Tom's Place off of Highway 395 about 26-miles North of Bishop.  Rock Creek and Rock Creek Rd. is lined with Aspen trips along the 9-mile drive from Tom's Place to Rock Creek Lake.

Town of Bishop, CA Overview Map

Bishop, CA will be a central location for many of the photo opportunities that abound in the area.  The shows the general location of areas like the Petroglyphs, Bishop ponds, route to Lake Sabrina and etc.  The map will help in planning how your day's shooting schedule.

Bishop Ponds Map

The Bishop ponds lie just East of downtown Bishop off of E Line Street which changes its name to Poleta Rd.  The map provides the GPS coordinates and includes an inset photo taken from the location where the photo was taken.

Lake Sabrina, Intake II and South Lake Road Map

This area is one of the premiere locations for photographing Fall Color in and around Bishop, CA.  The locations are Southwest of downton Bishop off of CA Rt. 168.  The map also includes some inset photos of Fall Color images taken from Intake II Lake and South Lake Road.

Sunrise and Moonset over Mount Tom and the Sierra Crest

One of the better locations to photograph the Sunrise (and possible Moonset... depending upon the day) on Mt. Tom and the Sierra Crest is situated at Brockman Lane.  The Lane is just east of a in-town meadow that is edged by a row of cottonwood trees and is often populated with cows.  The map provides the GPS coordinates for metal access walk-thru mid-way on the Lane heading North.  The wak-thru allows people to pass thru, but blocks livestock.


This is a to scale map showing the location and GPS coordinates of some of the ancient petroplyphs inscribed by Native Americans.  The map features inset photos of the Chalfant and Chidago sites.

Mt. Williamson and Manzanar

Manzanar, the WWII Japanese Internment Camp lies South of Bishop off 395 aproximately 10-miles North of Lone Pine. It is a Historical Site and includes a museum and some of the remaining buildings to represent how individual live out their internment.  Ansel Adams documented the Life and Times during WWII and one of the iconic images was one of Mt. Williamson which is due West of the Internment Camp.  The map show a quick route the the Camp Cemetery with its Oblisk monument.  The Map also includes an inset photo of Mt. Williamson taken from the Cemetary.  The Map also includes GPS coordinates.

Moonset Over the Sierra Crest at Alabama Hills

The morning of October 16th will mark the optimum day and time for photographing the Moon setting over the Sierra Crest from the Alabama Hills.  The map includes the GPS coordinates for camera placement (give or take a radius of 30 to 40 yards) and a inset photograph of the moon setting over Lone Pine Mt. and Mt Whitney.  The location is South of Whitney Portal Road and is necessary in order to get the moon setting near Mt. Whitney.  Any location North of Whitney Portal Road can place the setting moon well North of Whitney.

Alabama Hills Arches Map

Besides being the gateway to Mt. Whitney, the Alabama Hills unusual rock formations also host several dozens of natural arches... most notably the Mobius Arch which is also known as The Swan.  The Map show the general location of many of the arches.  Bill Kress has also posted more detailed information on the location of some of the other notable arches here on this website.  You can check them out in our Locations section of this site. 

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