Week Two Feature - Tufa Images
Gallery: Tufa Towers
The Tufa Towers are an odd place above water. These "towers" of limestone only form this way underwater when calcium from underwater springs mixes with the carbonates in the lake and creates calcium-carbonate limestone. Since these towers are only formed underwater seeing them above water is a strange and sad story. These towers located in Mono Lake, CA are impressively tall only because of the impressive amount the lake has receded since the 1940s. The lake, due to diverting water for LA and long droughts from climate change, has lost a huge amount of fresh water. The water level dropping so drastically that the salinity of the water is quite devastating to the native ecosystem (not to mention anything you put into the lake, unless you feel like moisturizing the next few days don't go for a dip). However the drop of the water level has revealed these alien tower formations that attract thousands of tourists and aid in the conservation of the lake.
When we went to the lake to check out the towers the majority of the tourists were photographers themselves, as these formations are fun to photograph. I wanted to get a more unique perspective than the hundreds of shots taken each day so we launched our kayak out and braved the salinity! Once we made our way out to the other side of the towers I had to find stability for not only the kayak but a place to drop a tripod down into the water (sometimes down further than 4 feet to find a small amount of limestone). What ensued was a chain of human limbs, kayak oars, tripod and camera delicately balancing within the waves and wind of Mono Lake. Though I don't recommend doing this solo, as I had the expert help of my girlfriend, I do recommend pulling up a chair and watching someone's attempt. We stayed out on the Lake for around 3 hours, thanks Lindsey, and have only 3 shots to show for all the effort. Although I am an love with the smooth water from long exposures and the alien formations the towers offer. Be sure to check them out along with some behind the scenes here: