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Mono Lake Basin as seen from the Northwest Coulee by Joel Baldwin

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About This Gigapan

Taken by
Joel Baldwin Joel  Baldwin
Explore score
19.24 Gigapixels
Date added
Jan 19, 2011
Date taken
Sep 11, 2010

Epic 100 + Canon Rebel XSi + T...


It's hard to photograph the Mono Lake basin and convey the size of it.

The smaller things in and around it are pretty easy. You travel there, you walk or hike to them, you photograph them. The Mono Lake basin though is different, its HUGE and flat. Well . . . ok, not perfectly flat. The slope that is going down to the lake is so gradual that you don't notice it for miles. This means that by the time you're high enough to see much, you're too far away to see much. There are very few places that are close AND high that will give a good panoramic view.

The vista point above the Whoa Nelli Mobil gas station at the junction of highways 120 and 395 ( gigapan.org/gigapans/40138/ ) has a pretty good view. It gives a good view of the Lee Vining area and the west side of Mono Lake. However while taking the above linked Gigapan shot I knew I could do better. I had never been to the Mono Lake Tufa State Reserve on the south shore of the lake. I could see the Tufa. And nearby were the northern most of the Mono-Inyo craters. These craters where near the lake, and were high enough they should have a quite good view of the lake and basin.

The next year I set aside a day to explore the southern shore and Tufa area of Mono Lake. I had decided to check out a hill near the Northwest Coulee. It looked like it was the closest and highest point in the area. It would have Panum Crater and the Tufa in the foreground with the lake and basin in the background. I parked in some very loose sand on the side of the road and made sure the car was on a down slope. The loose sand was worrisome. I was concerned the car might get stuck and hoped the slope would help should I have any trouble. After a quick packing of my gear I headed up the slope. A fire had recently gone though the area. I wouldn't have had any trouble going through the normally sparse vegetation, but the fire made it even easier than it would have been otherwise. I took my time and enjoyed the view stopping for occasional breaks as the slope steepened. The soil I was walking over was fascinating. It was volcanic ash mixed with pumice and occasional pieces of obsidian. It was very clear that this hillside was the result of a violent volcanic past. I finally made it to the top and wandered looking for the perfect spot, setup the equipment and started the Gigapan. 1 hour 45 minutes and 2527 shots later this Gigapan was finished.

One disappointment with this shot is it's too BIG. It's over 400K pixels wide. That's too large for Photoshop to open! This is the first Gigapan I've ever uploaded without editing first. I'm now at a point where that is going to be the case for many of my future Gigapans.

Gigapan Comments (2)

Toggle Minimize gigapan_comment
  1. Ron Schott

    Ron Schott (January 21, 2011, 05:26PM )

    A Masterpiece! So much great geology here...

  2. Illah Nourbakhsh

    Illah Nourbakhsh (January 20, 2011, 12:58AM )

    Excellent description. Well done!

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Stitcher Notes


GigaPan Stitch version 1.0.0805 (Windows)
Panorama size: 19235 megapixels (403836 x 47632 pixels)
Input images: 2527 (133 columns by 19 rows)
Field of view: 274.7 degrees wide by 32.4 degrees high (top=11.1, bottom=-21.3)
All default settings
Original image properties:
Camera make: Canon
Camera model: Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XSi
Image size: 4272x2848 (12.2 megapixels)
Capture time: 2010-09-11 11:47:31 - 2010-09-11 13:30:10
Aperture: f/0
Exposure time: 0.002
ISO: 200
Focal length (35mm equiv.): 0.0 mm
White balance: Fixed
Exposure mode: Manual
Horizontal overlap: 25.3 to 36.9 percent
Vertical overlap: 9.2 to 40.3 percent
Computer stats: 8191.3 MB RAM, 4 CPUs
Total time 133:47:27 (3:11 per picture)
Alignment: 123:43:54, Projection: 1:19:27, Blending: 8:44:07
(Preview finished in 128:56:16)

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