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Thread: Road to Mt. Williamson photo location

  1. #11

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    Apr 2004
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    SF Bay Area, California, USA
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    Re: Road to Mt. Williamson photo location

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    If you go to Examples etc and look at the repro of that image, you'll see that the line which you should draw goes from that foreground boulder up through the middle of a deep stream canyon toward a distant point at the skyline, BETWEEN two lower tent-like pseudo-peaks each a little over 9000 feet high - and NOT aligned high point to high point like you have drawn it. From memory, I think I can identify what each of those are.
    As I hintedóbut perhaps not strongly enough, I donít think the actual summit of Mount Williamson is visible in Adamsís photograph. I think the two sharp peaks near the center of the image are somewhere along the ridge line leading up to Mount Williamson. But they definitely are in the vicinity of Mount Williamson rather than seven miles to the south.

    It would be helpful to revisit Manzanar and exactly locate the big boulder in question as a reference. At the visitor center they no doubt know exactly where it is, and might even have formally identified on some outdoor trail by now.
    I tried to do this many years ago, but found the road (near Shepherd Creek) pretty dicey for a low-clearance vehicle, and didnít pursue it too aggressively. A Google search shows many photos taken from the actual location. Unlike Adamsís image, some of them have clear skies, making features easier to identify.

    the aim is distinctly south of Williamson and further back, and to something smaller and more pointy than anything identifiable on the long summit ridge of Williamson itself. TROJAN PEAK would be the most likely candidate
    Estimating the camera position to be near Shepherd Creek, Iíd say the aim is close to directly at Mount Williamson. But the actual summit is occluded by the ridge. Trojan Peak is considerably lower and noticeably to the south, though itís visible in Adamsís image. Playing with this in Google Earth, itís fairly easy to get a rendition of the Sierra ridgeline thatís pretty close to Adamís image.

    Otherwise, you seem to understand how I spoke of the location of Willamson relative to Manzanar in the intuitive manner that we think of Hwy 395 in its labeled north or south direction, while it really trends somewhat diagonal in that area; likewise the orientation of the steep eastern front of the Sierra itself parallel to the highway.
    If we treat US 395 as running northĖsouth (which is usually how I think of it, much like El Camino Real or SR 101), Mount Williamson is approximately due east of Manzanar.

    So the actual summit of Mount Williamson may not be visible in Adamsís image. But the image faces in that direction, so I donít think Adamsís image was disingenuous.

  2. #12

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    Mar 2008
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    Re: Road to Mt. Williamson photo location

    There is a Lexus car video with John Sexton, visiting some of AA photographic locations. The Mount Williamson being one of them. They drove to the exact location. Even found the green ammo box supposdly left by Ansel.

  3. #13
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Road to Mt. Williamson photo location

    Hmmm. You're referring to the dirt road from the "north"? Yeah, perhaps it washed out somewhat during winters storms and didn't get re-graded yet. These days, it always helps to stop at the official Forest Service office at the intersection at the south end of Lone Pine and inquire about current side road conditions, or call them.

    Otherwise, there are all kinds of stories about AA confusing the names of different mountains from the highway. If one has time in the summer, drive up to the signed overlook on the road into the Bristlecones on the other side of Owens Valley, where there's a great panoramic view of the Sierra skyline. You'll be parallel to the Palisades there, rather than the Willamson area to the south; but many fourteeners will be in the general view from there, including Williamson as I recall.

    And again, one must distinguish convention from compass specifics. Climbers refer to the exposed East face of Willamson, when it's really somewhat compass diagonal, just like Hwy 395 in that area. One has to turn the map itself to the intuitive position, rather than keep it true north-south vertical orientation wherein, looking due west, Williamson is hidden behind lesser frontal rises, just like it is from the Manzanar townsite position.

    Trojan Peak isn't attached to Willamson at all, or classified as a sub-summit of it, but is the first conspicuous high summit to the south of the Willamson fourteener cluster. I don't think Mt Tyndale is visible from 395 at all, at least from that portion of it. Historically, it's the most fun one of them all, because Clarence King of the original survey party concocted a tall tale about them straddling a giant forty-foot long icicle like a telegraph pole in order to climb it. Good for selling books. Well, they did in fact make that first ascent; but it's basically just a long ramp hike-up from the west. Then, to embellish his story even more for readers, he told how they all hiked out of the mountains over high divides, and all the way down into the Central Valley, over the rocks and through the snow in bleeding bare feet the whole way. John Muir was another person who sometimes dressed up otherwise true stories with a heaping dose of BS to make them sound especially adventurous and sell well.
    Last edited by Drew Wiley; 14-Apr-2022 at 11:36.

  4. #14

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    Re: Road to Mt. Williamson photo location


  5. #15
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Road to Mt. Williamson photo location

    Well, that brings up another mystery - what was an ammo box doing out there? - was Ansel stealing something from Mananar guards for sake of poaching bighorn sheep?
    More seriously, a number the background hills and canyons in that particular stretch are seasonally off limits to climbers and hikers because it's where the last remnants of the Sierra Bighorn subspecies were still hanging on. Domestic sheep diseases down below got to them, and now even mountain lions in that area have to be collar monitored, and if pursuing sheep rather than deer, get relocated. Bighorns have in more recent years been either deliberately introduced to some of their former area further north, or have recolonized portions on their own. But they're still considered endangered, with the largest herds still in the stretch between Little Onion Valley and somewhat south of Willamson. The desert bighorns, like above Death Valley on Telegraph Peak, or around Lake Mead and elsewhere, are a different genetic variety.
    Last edited by Drew Wiley; 14-Apr-2022 at 17:14.

  6. #16

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    Re: Road to Mt. Williamson photo location

    Gary, go to https://www.alanrossphotography.com/ and ask if Alan can give you precise directions or a GPS plot to the boulder location. I believe he took a Ansel Adams Gallery workshop group out there 10+ years ago.

    Ch

  7. #17

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    Re: Road to Mt. Williamson photo location


  8. #18

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    now in Tucson, AZ
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    Re: Road to Mt. Williamson photo location

    I seem to recall a story about how someone or some group found the exact spot and put up a historical marker, only to have some vandals damage or destroy it. I can't offer any reference, but I'm fairly certain that it's not a figment of my imagination.
    Would be interesting to visit the spot- not to try to repeat Adams' picture, but to consider what made him choose that particular spot along that (no doubt) rough dirt road?
    Of course in a perfect world I'd travel there in a '39 Pontiac woodie wagon with an 8x10 camera... I'll stop now; just some fantasies expanded by a glass of Irish whisky late in the evening.

  9. #19
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Road to Mt. Williamson photo location

    GPS coordinates were invented for the sake of spray can-taggers, vandals, and trash-left-behind off-roaders. Curse those devices!

  10. #20

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    Re: Road to Mt. Williamson photo location

    Click image for larger version. 

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    https://i.postimg.cc/QdzKLhkz/SO01907-01909-2x1hy.jpg

    A few years since I posted on this board folks. I moved on from LF 4x5 film to the much lighter APS-C A6000 in 2014 when it came out that I uniquely use with a tripod mounted, column row stitching head and also focus stack all frames. Have accumulated a large body of strong digital work since that one can view at upper right on my home page under "20xx Trip Chronicles" sub-links. Within the next year as large 8k pc monitor displays finally become available given Display Port 2.0 hardware (not 8k tv's), I expect to start exhibiting on multiple such displays.

    https://www.davidsenesac.com/

    In 2019 at age 70 years this 135 pound guy carried about 65 pounds of gear over Shepherd Pass on a solo 10 day backpack per the below link. What I did beyond that within Sequoia National Park is not described except for images I purposely have posted out of sequence to make understanding where I might of shot from difficult. Sure Ansel did the same at times haha.

    https://www.davidsenesac.com/2019_Tr...er_2019-7.html

    On my second day at 9080 feet after camping at the trail's Symmes/Shepard divide saddle, I awoke at dawn then climbed up on the easy rocky knob just east to take the image above in less harsh dawn light before sunrise. A bit slow to set up, was only able to get 3 shots off before sun began hitting the crest that ended the 10100x3500 pixels 2 frame 2 column 1 row 3 image stitch blend taken with my Sony A6000 and Sigma 30mm prime. A subject I'd like a second try at as superb detail is possible fit for large format, however as an octogenarian am increasingly feeling my age so that likely won't happen. The above is a downsized to 2000 pixel web version. Arguably one of the better views of Mt. Williamson possible that apparently others haven't noticed because by time one does the waterless 2190 foot climb on the 58 switchbacks to reach that ridge saddle, taking photos is not of concern, but rather the next mile to the first water. To realistically make a dawn image one needs to camp right there as I did.The forum software would not load the 2000 pixel version so I posted a link below the puny forum thumbnail.

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