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Heavy Snow Remains in Sierra in Places + Trout Dead From Spawning Attempt?

See my Sony wishlist.

I’m back home with a lot of Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 GM and Sony 12-24mm f/4 G field shots to process, including comparisons with the Zeiss Batis 18mm f/2.8 and the Zeiss Loxia 21mm f/2.8.

I would have processed more of them in the field in my Mercedes Sprinter photography adventure van while using the NEC PA302W and so on, but I spent a week or so completing two new Zeiss Lenspire articles, to be published in a few weeks.

See the growing Sprinter Photography Adventure Van section at

Hard winter, heavy snow

The winter of 2016/2017 set an all-time record for snowfall over much of the Sierra Nevada. Below, Dana Lake #3 still has snow up to 40 feet thick in places— 4 days later in the season in 2016 I camped just over that rocky area, but last year’s campsite is till covered with snow! And last year, the last traces of snow had disappeared by that time.

This year, wildflowers bloom with abandon in every canyon in the 10,000+ elevation range, whereas last year the scrub blueberries were already turning bright red a week from now. Those wildflowers this year might get a rude shock if an early September frost hits—many are blooming as if is still springtime, having emerged from under the snow only a few weeks ago.

As shown below, that “hole” at far right is about 30 feet high from water to the top of the snowpack with the snowpack even deeper just uphill a bit. I theorize that the 50 feet of snowfall became more like 100 feet in this area, blown in by wind. But even so, many areas just still have a great deal of snow. This snow below will not melt away this year, much of it is there to stay until 2018. I say this because I saw this about three weeks ago, and the melting has progressed but clearly not fast enough to beat the oncoming cold season.

Extreme Snow Depth in August, Dana Lake #3
f9 @ 1/100 sec, ISO 100; 2017-08-16 16:40:38
Sony A7R II + Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM @ 35mm

[low-res image for bot]
Extreme Snow Depth in August, Dana Lake #3
f11 @ 1/125 sec, ISO 100; 2017-08-16 17:21:35
Sony A7R II + Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM @ 22mm

[low-res image for bot]

Death from too much water? (temporarily)

The low number of trout in Dana Lake #2 had puzzled me. I figured some winter mortality, and later in the day I found the reason.

Below in this grim image, I theorize that during peak melt, these hapless golden trout made their way from Dana Lake #2 part way to Dana Lake #3 in an attempt to spawn—excepting 2017 I have *never* seen surface water flow between the two lakes. I counted twenty (20) dead golden trout, and that is only the ones I could see. There could be many more among the rocks under the thick but undermined sheet of snow just below which had been undercut by water.

Dead Golden Trout
f11 @ 1/20 sec, ISO 100; 2017-08-16 18:11:19
Sony A7R II + Sony FE 12-24mm f/4 G @ 24mm

[low-res image for bot]
Scary Golden Trout
f11 @ 0.3 sec, ISO 100; 2017-08-16 18:03:50
Sony A7R II + Sony FE 12-24mm f/4 G @ 24mm

[low-res image for bot]

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