3 Comments | Report
Absolutely beautiful
Thank you so much!
markgossman Sep 16
Love this shot ! Nice colors and depth is great !


Post sunset over the hot springs of Mammoth region in the Eastern Sierras of California. You can see the steam coming out of the spring...and the water runs in...
Read more
Post sunset over the hot springs of Mammoth region in the Eastern Sierras of California. You can see the steam coming out of the spring...and the water runs into a stream reflecting the colors of the sky.
Read less





Staff Favorite
Peer Award
Top Choice
Superb Composition
Absolute Masterpiece
Outstanding Creativity
Magnificent Capture
All Star




Behind The Lens

This photograph was taken near Mammoth Lakes, California above a place called Hot Creek Geological site. This particular shot was taken from above the canyon formed by the creek that runs through. From the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service: "Hot Creek is a place to marvel at geology in action. Boiling water bubbling up from the creek bed, fumaroles and periodic geyser eruptions at Hot Creek attest to the chamber of hot magma which lies about three miles below the surface of the earth in this area. The steam you see along the Hot Creek drainage is created when water percolates deep into the ground and enters a complex underground plumbing system. The water is heated and pressurized before it rises to the earth's surface. It is believed this journey takes around 1000 years. Earthquakes can cause sudden geyser eruptions and overnight appearances of new hot springs at Hot Creek. Water temperatures can change rapidly, and so entering the water is prohibited." I believe, from the accounts of two people who have frequented this place in the past, up to 500 people would be found in the streams of the hot springs at any given time. However, the place is now out of bounds for people, because some years back, a few people were scalded by the hot waters of the spring.
As I left Mammoth Mountains to come down to CA highway 395 after a day filled with fluffy white clouds that lead to dark purple angry clouds, thunder and lightening, and eventually rain, I had no hopes of capturing the sunset since the clouds obscured the sun. However, as I drove south and east, the skies to the west just lit up with colors and I had to rush to this spot, over some rough terrain, to catch the sky. I wanted to capture the creek and the hot springs, where you can see the steam rising. I am told that in the winter, the steam is quite profuse. The area is in the eastern Sierras and due to the high altitude and rainfall and the cold conditions at night, the colors were changing with the approaching spring.
The setting sun lit up the canyon as well as the purple blue mountains, and of course the sky. There is still some snow clinging to the sides of the mountains, more on the western side. But with winter approaching, more snow is expected and this scene will change for sure.
I shot with a Nikon d750 camera, Tamron 24-70 mm/f2.8 lens, a variable neutral density filter, a wireless shutter release, and a tripod. This was a 30 sec. shot at f4.5, ISO of 50 , at 24 mm, and a ND5 filter, with the camera mounted on a tripod and using an external shutter release.
I had shot the Milky Way over this exact same location on two consecutive nights and just was amazed by the scene created by the canyon, the creek, and the rising steam from the hot springs. I love the mountains of the eastern Sierras, and the sunset created these purple mountain 'majesties'...that was irresistible!
The RAW image required very little post processing, in fact, I had to tone down the colors a bit. The purples and yellows of the setting sun were very deep and vibrant.
In my camera bag
I carry pretty much all the equipment I used in this shot. Additionally, to the variable neutral density filter, I carry fixed ND filters of various strengths.
As with any long exposure, a tripod is a must, and having a shutter release, preferable a remote/wireless one, is very important. Also a ND filter is useful since there's still plenty of light in the sky and if one has to capture all the clouds and color, a filter can definitely add to it. And of course, composition is very important. Having said that, there are in my opinion, no hard and fast rules about the composition other than following the basics. I think the composition is a photographers artistic expression. Same goes for the post processing. You have to follow your heart and your emotions. I shoot with my 'heart' and hope that shows through my photographs!

See more amazing photos, Follow kamalavenkatesh