California's East Slope

First Adventure in September 2014

I became interested in aerial photography with drones after I had made plans for my September trip to June Lake, California to photograph the Fall foliage in the canyons and around the beautiful lakes. I hasten to say that I am a cautious beginner at flying cameras, but see great potential for it.

Drones have difficulty with the thin air at high altitude and with winds—both of which are features of this area. I did manage to get the drones airborne several times, including two trips to the site of the abandoned Chemung Mine. The first visit was rainy and cold, but I had excellent weather the second time I visited there.

I carefully put the Phantom2 Vision+ up on other days when I stopped at scenic lakes. Lake Alpine and Pinecrest Lake had little wind and good sunshine during the flights.

Comparing the shots from beach level with what the drone sees from above is instructive.

I didn't quite realize it when I went there, but Big Virginia Lake is nearly 10,000 feet above sea level. When the Phantom went up, it was higher than 10,000 feet and suffered a spectacular swan dive after taking the scene shown.

Which explains why I didn't fly the drone out over the water…

Please also visit our non-drone galleries at California East Slope

Fall 2017 Return To An Old Favorite - California’s East Slope

I visited this area just East of Yosemite National Park twice before, in the Spring and Fall of 2014. 2014 Videos are at the bottom of this page.

I was a brand-new drone pilot in the Fall of 2014. Consumer drones had just come on the market, and they were minimally suited to high altitudes or wind.

Three years later, the drones are heavier and stronger, the pilot is leavened by experience and even the weather was benign.

Because of a major shooting competition I covered during the first week of October I arrived in California rather late in the season. When I arrived the aspens were still wreathed in bright yellow. A few days later, they were a somber orange. Headed for brown. And then barren.

One of my California friends sent me an article, which said that the Fall foliage season had occurred late this year. My guardian angels pulled it off again!

The June Lake Loop lies below Yosemite National Park near the entrance road up the mountains into the park. June, Gull, Silver and Grant Lakes lie along the loop, and on the map Lundy is the unnamed lake to the upper left of the loop.

Mammoth Lakes lies twenty miles South on Route 395, and has six lakes and a waterfall outside of town, with Convict Lake not far away. The entire region is a photographer’s Paradise.

Bridgeport and the Sonora Pass lie 30-40 miles North of June Lake, with Leavitt Falls, Chemung Mine and the northern set of Twin Lakes near each other.

I did not return to the lakes on the Sonora Pass Road because I had covered them pretty well in 2014.
That allowed me to have more time in Mammoth Lakes.

I wish I had been here a couple of weeks earlier, when the colors would have been at this stage!

June Lake Loop

Mammoth Lakes

McGee Creek

Mono Lake

Lundy Lake

Along Highway 101

Convict Lake

Leavitt Falls And Sonora Pass

Twin Lakes In Bridgeport

Chemung Mine Fall 2014

Lake Alpine Fall 2014

Mono Lake Fall 2014

Pinecrest Lake Fall 2014

Virginia Lake Fall 2014

Carl Roessler
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