Conway Summit, California, USA by Kyle Jones

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California is not known as a hotbed for fall colors. The main exception to this rule is the Eastern Sierra along Highway 395. This was from my first trip to the area to see the aspens around the town of Lee Vining near Mono Lake. I started the day exploring areas to the south, including the June Lake Loop. I made my way north from there to Lundy Canyon and spent some time in the ghost town of Bodie as well. There were beautiful golden colors all around. Later in the day I started seeing reports of an early winter storm moving through the Sierra. The passes over the mountains started to close and I had to start thinking about how I would get back home to the San Francisco area.

As I passed by Conway Summit I knew I had to stop and take just a few more shots. Access to this spot is easy: just stop along Highway 395 and start pressing the shutter. The trees were showing peak color and the incoming storm was becoming visible over the mountains. I took some shots and then began packing up my gear for the drive home. While walking back to the car I saw the light change again and rushed back to the spot I had picked. The light was now highlighting both the foreground trees as well as a grove close to the mountains. This was the image I wanted. Processing was straightforward, with mostly just some contrast adjustments and some dodging and burning to help control the light.

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