Monday, April 20, 2009

Rainbow Falls

It has turned suddenly very hot here in Southern California, so I thought I should dig up an image that feels cool and refreshing. Apologies to any of you still getting snowed on.
These falls are located inside an area known as the Devil's Postpile National Monument, just west of Mammoth Lakes & Mammoth Mountain ski area in the eastern sierras. There's only one dead-end road in and out this place and it usually doesn't open until mid-June, the road being impassable due to deep snow. 
"Rainbow Falls" gets it's name from the fact that at the right time of day when the sun is high, you can see a perfect rainbow in the mist created by the falls. We didn't have enough time to hang around and find out... this was actually shot early in the morning, while still mostly in shadow. I managed to avoid it pretty well, but there is considerable mist all around and the force of the water creates it's own wind, which of course sends lots of droplets towards the lens of your camera and ruins your shot; also if the light catches it wrong you get an ugly glare. It took me an hour of climbing around on these rocks and using my hat to shield the camera to get something useable.
You have to hike in about a mile from the parking at the very end of the road through a recently burned out section of forest (see the above shot, courtesy of my wife), arriving along the upper right edge of the gorge seen here, then climb down a short but steep section to reach the bottom. Maybe it's a little hard to judge the scale of the fall, but it's 100 ft. tall and the water really roars through with a lot of energy until later in the summer when it quiets down a bit.

"Rainbow Falls" - Eastern Sierra

14 comments:

Russ said...

Beautiful shot! Looks a treacherous area.

earthtoholly.com said...

Wow, Mark, gorgeous. You captured such beauty there. Who'd guess that rock and water could be so colorful and alive?

Thank you for risking life and limb for this one! :o)

donnie said...

such a ridiculously beautiful waterfall and pic

Patrick said...

Mark,

If i remember well, the first comment you left on my blog was about waterfalls and you said it was one of your favorite subjects.

This one is beautifully composed and we can devine and feel the *vapor*.

Mark Alan Meader said...

Russ, Holly:
It's not really that hard to get to.. in the summer you'll see families with kids enjoying the water and having picnic lunches. Climbing on the rocks with a tripod trying to avoid the spray is the hardest part.

Donnie: thanks a lot.. good luck with your book. I'm curious to see it... great idea.

Patrick: I do love waterfalls.. they are each unique and kind of rare around these parts, so you really have to search for the good ones, although they are usually pretty impressive when you do find them. Thanks.

betchai said...

another beautiful and stunning photo. I would have to show this to my husband, my cousin, my niece and my brother in law who all voted against my desire to continue to Rainbow Falls After Devil's Postpile last summer. When I told them we continue, they frowned on me, and said, "waterfalls again?" I guess they felt like they saw too many waterfalls in one trip already since we came from Sequoia and Yosemite and hiked to several waterfalls. I really like to go back here, next time.

betchai said...

ps....by the way Mark, I am now blogging here in blogger, no longer at Today

roentarre said...

This waterfall is soooo artistic and beautiful. The flow is so silky smooth like a curtain with that serenity in the atmosphere

Excellent composition with the use of rock to complment the setting.

Michelle (artscapes) said...

Breathtaking shot. I am particularly moved by the contrast between this waterfall and the starkness of the burned landscape

Lynda Lehmann said...

Well worth your efforts, Mark. I would like to see it with the rainbow.

I know how hard it is sometimes, to climb around these areas with a camera around your neck, toting other equipment, as well.

You know of a lot of good spots. Maybe you should do a book on scenic places of interest in the USA?

Mark Alan Meader said...

Betchai: Sorry you missed.. it's actually a highlight of the area. I got nothing useable of the Postpile itself.. totally wrong time of day when we got there. Next time I'll know. Minaret Falls is fantastic also, but had similar problems there, although I might post one of those. Looking good on the new blog.

James: Thanks so much.. You've been showing some great waterfalls lately, too.

Hi Michelle: I didn't talk much about that, but the sheer size and scope of the burn area is really scary to see after the fact. You realize the uncontrollable power that can be unleashed in an area like this so suddenly.

Lynda: Thanks.. I've been trying to think of a workable theme for a book, but it wouldn't be on such a grand scale as that. I know my little corner of the country and fortunately it is a fantastic "little corner" but there are way too many places I've yet to explore if you extend to the whole country. Working on them one by one, though. Maybe National Geographic will call one of these days and offer to pay me to travel all over the world:)

storybeader said...

looks so refreshing! Those greens really pop!

Corker2 said...

WOW! Very nice. You did an outstanding job on this one!

Miah Laborte said...

wow such a beautiful falls...