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Looks Like the Eastern Sierra Fall Color Season is Toast

UPDATE October 3: Inyo National Forest and certain others are now OPEN again.

With the Creek Fire* only 30% contained and till making a huge stinking and dangerously unhealthy mess over near Mammoth Lakes in the Eastern Sierra Nevada, much of the prime fall color season is toast unless we get a nice dousing storm soon—which is also what tends to rip all the leaves off the aspen around the first week in October in many areas. Still, I’ll take the rain and wind any time over the unpleasant and unhealthy smoke.

Creek Fire Sept 22: Weather conditions encountered over the past 2 days will continue. Warm and dry air with southwest winds will continue. Daytime heating and southwest winds will continue to push the smoke upslope towards the Sierra Mountains. Nighttime cooling in the higher elevations will continue to push the smoke back down into the valleys with light down-sloping winds from the northeast

* Being still “under investigation” 18 days later, I’m betting that it was started by human stupidity.

I’m waiting for a break in the conditions, to see the smoke clear out of the White Mountains, where there are some gorgeous stands of aspen known to few—maybe I can get a few days or even a week there with a little luck, and if the Inyo National Forest reopens (closed until Sept 25).

View air quality near Bishop, CA—there are PurpleAir sensors on White Mountain Peak (14252 ft) and Barcroft Research Station (~12200 ft), just to the east. [note: Safari won’t display the map, but Chrome does]

On my to-do list are the Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 GM and comparison with a bunch of alternatives. It’s going to to a tricky job to get right given pronounced focus shift with several of the lenses along with field curvature, but when done I hope that my readers will be able to shortcut a steep learning curve and immediately get the best out of the 12-24mm or its alternatives, by understanding the behavior.

I’ve also received a 2nd copy of the Sigma FE 85mm f/1.4 DG DN Art and it seems slightly better than the first sample. So I’ll give it a workout, though I’m still stunned at its godawful pincushion distortion, which is inherent to the optical design. Shame on Sigma for cutting corners so badly and marketing sharpness that cannot be achieved in reality, once distortion correction is applied.

Lloyd on Pine Creek Trail, 2019
f8 @ 1/30 sec electronic shutter, ISO 100; 2019-10-10 09:06:50
Sony A7R IV + Sigma FE 14-24mm f/2.8 DG DN Art @ 14mm
ENV: Pine Creek Trail, altitude 7600 ft / 2316 m, 28°F / -2°C
RAW: Enhance Details, LACA corrected, push 1.3 stops, +100 Shadows, -100 Highlights, +33 Whites

[low-res image for bot]
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