"It was very odd paddling California's Mono Lake in the middle of winter.
The water is so salty it doesn't freeze. After spending one night alone on Paoha Island, snowbound at over 6,000 feet (1,829 meters), I started this two-mile (three-kilometer) open-water crossing back to shore. Here, the mist hovered low at the base of the 13,000-foot (3,960-meter) peaks of the Sierra, while dark clouds enveloped the basin. I was only a couple hundred yards out when a windstorm whipped the lake into whitecaps from all directions, taxing my paddling skills to the limit."
Brian Ernst, 42
After snowshoeing a mile (1.6 kilometers) with his kayak in tow to put in at Mono Lake, this Loomis, California resident (aka Buck Forester) was immersed in the landscape that inspired shooters Ansel Adams and Galen Rowell. Ernst, a seasoned backpacker and paddler, intentionally seeks bad weather to add drama to his photographs. But his technique is not without consequences: The windstorm on this trip blew his tent into the lake.
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Photographs by Brian Ernst
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