About to head home. Was in DV yesterday. Drove in at night, hit some flood damaged section of the the road and my Jeep Cherokee went airborne, all 4 wheels off the ground. Cool. They sure do build those Jeeps tough. I rattled around on washboard so bad for so many miles that when I got up to shoot in the morning, parts of my Canham 8x10 had vibrated off so I had to reassemble part of it<g>.

I went to Eureka Dunes, but they've closed off the areas where you could drive up close. So, I found serendiptdity. Not only did the floods bring jeep-launching ramps, but they brought really cool cracked mud beds. I found one big one right alongside the road about 200 feet long and 20 feet across. The mud cracks were about 5 inches deep, realy gorgeous. So I spent the afternoon shooting straight down at mud and not up at the 600 foot dunes. Go figure.

I did catch the food at the Lee Vining Gas station. Very good food, but it was pricey, like everything in that tiny place.

I caught some very nice clouds at Mono Lake one afternoon. I was still fumbling around with the Cooke XVa and I think I forgot to change the aperture ring when I switched elements around and may have ruined a few negatives. Ouch.

I also got up to Bristlecone Pines and the Westgard Pass area for rick abstracts. I found one boulder and spent about 2 hours shooting it. It had an amazing surface on it. I think my friend got the best shot of it, though - a very nice abstract. Then we went up to Brsitlecone and photographed the landscape. There is an area where you can stand on a ledge and look right out over Bishop to the Eastern Sierras. We watched (and photographed) the sun set behind the Sierras. On the drive down, some bighorn sheep ran right in front of the Jeep. We got out and watched them watch us and the ran off after a while - beauitful sight. We drove down the 4WD road to Bishop in the dark - my friend was glad he could not see what was in the pitch black out there!

I am pretty convinved that that Cooke XVa is an awesome lens. It has everything I need. I can shoot 8x10 and 7x17 with it, it is very sharp, beauitful wide open, easy to use. I have only used one other lens on this trip and that is the 240mm Dagor. That Cooke is a great lens. If anyone is holding out, all I can say is that I love mine.

-Mike