Valley and Palisades

Split Mountain over Deep Springs

One of the great scenic pleasures of living in Deep Springs is the view. Every clear day, when I step outside I look towards the Palisades, a particularly tall and scenic group of Sierra Nevada peaks, looming above the ridges to the west, their alpine heights soaring 9,000 feet above our mile-high valley. A little below are a set of convoluted granite ridges that extend southward into the valley like fingers reaching down from the White Mountains. For almost four years now, I’ve been trying to capture the appeal and scale of this view in a photograph. It seems like it should be easy, but something in the arrangement of the peaks and ridges keeps defeating me, giving me disappointingly unbalanced compositions. But after January’s massive snowstorm, I tried a new viewpoint, chosen mainly because it was somewhere feasible to drive and hike at sunrise with mostly impassible roads and deep snow on the ground. Wide-angle compositions here were lackluster, which is why I’d neglected the place, but through a long lens the peaks and ridges at last lined up satisfactorily. These two images are now my favorite illustrations I’ve managed of the relationship between Deep Springs Valley and the High Sierra.

Palisades over Deep Springs

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7 thoughts on “Valley and Palisades

  1. These are both beautiful images, Jackson! I know what you mean about an image finally coming together. One thing that’s really striking here is the sense of scale–you wouldn’t know the Palisades are clear across the Owens Valley in this image! Truly amazing.

  2. Climbed Middle Palisade with your grandfather, Ken Davis, and Warren Davis in the late 1950s. Ken Davis was on the Atomic Energy Commission at the time, and had been spending a lot of time behind a desk in Washington, so he was a bit out of shape. As I recall, one of the things we packed up to our base camp was a Crenshaw melon, which got heavier and heavier as we progressed…

    • A very different era of backpacking food! And I expect Grandpa gave the rinds to the marmots. Eli has a notion that he really wants to climb Split Mountain. I keep telling him to practice hiking hard for a few more years.

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