This is a journal of images by California photographer Skip Moss. The places, people, and events caught through my lens. Photographs of the Central Coast and mountains of California, the landscapes of the Western U.S. and travels abroad.
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All images © 2015 Skip Moss.


Eastern Sierra Fall Colors and the Full Moon Eclipse Attempt

Late September and a trip to the Eastern Sierra for the Fall colors and the overhyped super eclipse moon was a great reason to go.
So where do you go for the ultimate eclipse? Mono Lake, South Tufa, along with forty or so other crazy photographers. We pointed our lenses, and there were some really big lenses, in the exact direction the Ephemeris app on our phones told us to. We waited. The guy who flew in from Ohio, the couple who just drove six and a half hours from San Francisco, the man and wife with telescope lenses too big to lift, two women from the Bay Area, two from Santa Cruz, one from Europe, thirty others. We waited.
The darkening clouds obscured the moonrise, but the sunset in the West was so brilliant that everyone turned away and shot the color.
The sun set, we waited. Many packed it in, the big lenses left, Ohio left, it was just down to four or six of us.
The moon showed up a bit, still covered, but deep red and big.
A newlywed couple in their early twenties showed up at full darkness. In their broken Chinese English they approached me to shoot the moon with their camera. I had a Nikon, they had a Nikon, we were best friends. Handing me their brand new D800  in the dark I reset all the settings, placed it on a rock, and set the timer, they got the shot of the night. I can now say I have good friends in Beijing. My results were less memorable.
Needless to say the experience was worth the time and effort and we all had some good laughs.
Fall colors were spectacular, and we were treated to an ultimate evening alpenglow session at Glacier Point in Yosemite two days later.
Enjoy the images, they will open larger if you click on them.

Virginia Lakes

Upper Rock Creek
Looking for the Super Eclipse you take your chances

Hoping for something better

Waiting with the big lenses, it should be over there

A sunset will be the next best thing 

South Tufa, Mono Lake

And everyone packs it in

Supermoon eclipse with a landscape lens

Above Mammoth

Night sky and camp

Mammoth Crest

This is real color from Glacier Point

Alpenglow, Glacier Point

Highway 41, east of the Temblor range

Ranch Gate, Parker Creek, above Mono Lake.


August in the Eastern Sierra

Almost a year to the day without feeding the road trip bug I managed a four day venture into the Eastern Sierra mountains to a few of our favorite haunts. Four unplanned months have passed without any aerobic activity, the longest stretch I have known. To say that the mountains are rejuvenating is far too understated.
A friend reminded me that Edward Abbey and John Muir had it right, going to the mountains is like going home. Snow flurries, a great thunder and lightning storm, brisk winds, bright sunshine and the beauty of the high places made me physically and mentally whole again.
California is three years into a severe drought. I expected to find normally wet areas dry and dusty. The Sierra has received a very large amount of rain this summer, consequently many of the lakes and streams are hanging on. Levels are at record lows, but not what I expected. Flowers are in bloom, plants are green, and trails are dampened.
I unknowingly captured images of wet places, of storms and streams. "Atmospheric" a friend has said. It was perfect.

All of these images open for a larger view.

Light filters through storm clouds and smoke, Mammoth Lakes.

Evening along the Sierra Crest

The Western Shore of Mono Lake.

Early August Snowstorm, Virginia Lakes Basin.

Sunrise in the Pines, Mammoth Lakes area.

Evening Burst above the Minarets.

It's nice to be here.

30 feet below normal levels, Lake Sabrina.
Almost Empty, Horseshoe Lake, Mammoth Basin.
Normally below water level, these rock structures expose what once was.

Bridge No. 4800049

Evening Quiet along Bishop Creek.

Trout are thriving under the banks.

Oils from underground? Sunscreen? Soaps?

Unnamed Lake below Virginia Lakes Pass

Blue Lake

Mack Lake, Rock Creek.

Just off the well worn trail, a perfect swimming hole.

Roadside Aspens, Sabrina Basin.

Once again I managed to find the first Fall color in August.


Chalise Village, Relief Distribution and Report with photos before and after the earthquakes.

Hello friends,

Many many thanks to all of you here in California, on Facebook, and beyond who have pitched in with over $13,000 to support our Nepali friends. Chandra Gurung visited his village of CHALISE and has sent many photos and one video of the area.
The first relief flight sent food and medicine we bought and an assessment team to the villages. After that tools and work supplies were purchased to start rebuilding the 3 day trail to the area. 
When the second earthquake hit, many were working on the trail, and some lost their lives.
Chandra then bought tarps, food, food staples like salt and cooking oil, lentils and rice, and delivered them via helicopter to his home. The link below show images of where your generous donations have gone, they have gone to the families you see, and to bring people to hospitals, and to help them keep their hopes up. Thank you from everyone of them.

Included is a Google Earth map detailing the location of Chalise below the high Himalayas. There are also before and after images of the school we have been supporting, and photos from a happier time for them two years ago.
As the 3 month monsoon season is about to start, Chalise and Sertung are completely cut off by road and trail, the only access is by helicopter, and the rains will put a stop to that. 
Sadly, the government is overwhelmed by and estimated 500,000 homes destroyed in rural villages like this, with 3 million people facing the same problems.
Our hope is that Chandra can get enough supplies and medicines up there before the rains.

All of the photos can be enlarged by clicking on them. 

The remote view North including the Sertung Valley, Chalise Village, and the Himalaya towards Tibet.
I labelled the high peaks to locate the area and give scale.
These villages are completely isolated.

Two years ago all of the people enjoyed a distribution of school supplies for 60 or more students.
The school after the first earthquake.
The school after the second earthquake.

Celebrating at the school two years ago.
Even the youngest children received supplies.
Note the school building in the background.

Chandra and team arrive by helicopter with relief supplies.

  1. Delivered earthquake relief to Chalish Village , Tarpaulin, Salt, Cooking oil, Soap, Lantle, Matches, cloths and Cooking powder etc for every houses, through sky way.

Chandra's house before and after

Other structures, homes, granaries.

Chandra transported his grandmother and another elderly woman to the hospital in Kathmandu.

Chandra's report text from his email tonight:

Earthquake Report 
Title: - Relief Fund for Remote Chalish Village 2015
25 April 2015 massif 7.9 and second 7.1 magnitude rector earthquakes are in Nepal. Due to these mega earthquake many monastery, temple, school, University, Hospital and many houses are destroyed in beautiful Himalaya Nepal in 2015.
Chalish Village Dhading is 100km from center point of earthquake 7.9 magnitude rector. So Chalish Village also not saved by earthquake; where school and all remote traditional villages were destroyed in 25 and 29 April 2015. “CHALISH VILLAGE” also totally destroyed, Chalish is remote village of Nepal it takes 1 day drive and 2 days walk in hilly region of Nepal.  The needs of Nepali people are actually too great for their government to cope with and small villages are not a priority for the government or even International Organization due to geographical far distance not access of road to deliver rebuilding things. I am promise to rebuild my village and this is where I am decided to do something, contribute and make it my promise as much as I can.
Your helping hands make happy to rebuild for earthquake victims of Chalish village. Your personal or collective contribution to assist the Nepalese people with a guarantee that the money will go directly to the people without administration expenses, then you should consider donating here and i will personally ensure the funds reach the village of Chalish. 
See Photos of chalish village after earthquake; I visited whole village when I was there for relief materials distribution. 

  1. Deliver 6500kg Rice for Chalish Sertung VDC.

  1. Earthquake Relief distributed to all Chalish villagers and near villages of Chalish those are staying in Kathmandu and victim from earthquake; 10650kg rice, blanket, salt and oil etc.

His temporary home in Kathmandu

Thank you!

lives on the Central Coast of California. These photographs are an attempt to share the story of a place, a person, a moment as it happens. Sit back, take a deep breath, and spend some time enjoying the images.