My autumn trip to the US Eastern Sierra is now complete. I am excited to unveil this latest intensive photo journey, with a total of 4,000 km traveled, including mountains 3,400 meters tall. Initial photo processing has concluded and all that remains is picking the best images to showcase. There are over 10,000 raw images and around 900 will be selected for public view. I will feature some best photos here with highlights from the trip.

© Son Gallery® Co. Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

About the photo journey :

In San Francisco, I stayed for a few days with friends and attended a wedding. I made time to take shots of a favorite site, the Golden Gate Bridge. I continued my trip to the Eastern Sierra alone, from I-80 through Lake Tahoe and all the way down on US-395 to Bishop. Along the way, I stopped through sites including: Mono Lake, Mammoth, Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, Lake Sabrina, North Lake, Yosemite, and nearby areas. Far from being a newcomer to these sites, I took the time to capture autumn scenes and night skies rather than the desert subjects of my previous visits.

GPS track log of my trip to US in Oct 2015. Total of 4,627 km traveled.
GPS track log of my trip to US in Oct 2015. Total of 4,627 km traveled.

Featured Works :

1. The Milky Way, from Lone Pine, CA

Yes, it was sometimes frightening to shoot in the darkness alone. On the other hand, I knew staring into the sky full of stars that it was worthwhile. As you can see, the photos are amazing.

Milky way - Son Gallery
Photographed at : Lone Pine, CA. Camera : Nikon D810A, Lens : AFS 14-24mm f.2.8, Unguided, Date : Oct 2015

I never set out to shoot a subject of this magnitude. I knew that would require a depth of knowledge, skill, and patience that I might not have done justice. Then one night in Hong Kong, in 2009, I pointed my camera to the sky. It was just a whim, but then a sprawling image of bright dots appeared almost unexpectedly on my camera’s view screen (Photo below↓). It was the Milky Way. I fell in love and committed to explore the subject more deeply. It was not until the fall of 2015 in Lone pine that I captured a Milky Way photo worthy of its innate beauty (Photo above↑). This inspiring image won’t stop the quest; it only confirms that I must continue exploring.

Milky way - Son Gallery
My first milky way photograph captured in 2009 in Hong Kong with Nikon D700. The photo is noisy, but it captures the essence of the grandeur.

Despite camera limitations (poor noise control) and lack of experience in 2009, my first Milky Way photos were acquired by Tencent Inc., China’s largest internet service portal. The photos became the official default wallpaper of Tencent’s social network site, Tencent QQ Zone and have remained such for many years. That encouragement was incredibly valuable.

© Son Gallery® Co. Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

2. Star Trail, From Mobius Arch in Lone Pine, CA

Star Trail at Mobius Arch - Son Gallery
The red rocks create a frame for the sky with curved star paths overhead. Photographed at : Mobius Arch, Lone Pine, CA. Camera : Nikon D810A Lens : AFS 14-24mm f.2.8 Date : Oct 2015

There was perfect weather – warm, low wind and a clear sky. It was a great opportunity to shoot the scene as darkness took hold.

The Milky Way was easily visible, even to the naked eye. I set up my camera and took a composite shot of the Mobius Arc. I planned the path of the stars and turned on the timers. Then, I relaxed on a big rock and studied the sky. It was genuinely impressive.

Noises from wild animals or howling wilderness kept me a bit uneasy. I wasn’t sure what they were or where they were coming from, but stayed anyway. I let the stars tell their stories.

Star Trail at Mobius Arch on iPad Pro - Son Gallery
Now, I have the perfect wallpaper for my new iPad Pro – a reminder of that magical evening.

3. El Capitan, From Yosemite

Apple’s new OS X, El Capitan promotional photograph impressed me so much I decided to shoot my own version. I had my opportunity on the way back to the city.

Wilson version of OS X El Capitan photograph
A detail view shows the fine ridges of the mountain under the contrasting light and shadow of the sunset.

I setup my camera before dusk and it was slightly overcast with light showers. On account of the conditions, I didn’t expect to see the mountain shadow cast in the sunset. Just as I was about to strike my equipment, the moment struck. And now, I have my own El Capitan likeness.

4. California Countryside

On the way back to the city, I made a detour (as is my tendency). I was attracted by the golden hill and cattle. I took an exit at random and came to a place full of farmland and cattle. As the sun descended, the scene and lighting became simply magical. This place is unique to the United State and these lands of promise cannot be found so easily in other countries.

I will pull over as often as I have to for shots like these.

A evening view of a country side in California - Son Gallery
A peach rippling ribbon crosses the sky above lush green lands.
© Son Gallery® Co. Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
Cattle march in order across their golden grazing grounds.

5. Richmond-San Rafael Bridge (I-580), From San Rafael

After coming back to Richmond, I told my friend I should have planned for a longer trip. It was that wonderful and I had a great time being there. He took me seriously and called the airline to change my flight. He didn’t even tell me until I was on the way to the airport. He gave me the gift of two more days.

On the next morning, since I didn’t have any plan for the day, I woke up early thinking I would catch a sunrise shot near the Golden Gate Bridge. It was just forty minutes away. However, the sky started to light up while I was on the San Rafael Bridge. I thought to myself, “It would be too late when I get to the Golden Gate Bridge. So, I took the next exit and found a spot where I could see the bridge.

Richmond-San Rafael Bridge - Son Gallery
A vivid slash across cool evening waters. Photographed at : San Rafael, Camera : Nikon D800E, Lens : AFS 24-70mm f/2.8
© Son Gallery® Co. Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
The wallpaper is stunning on an iPhone lock screen.

6. More works and behind the scene

More works will be upload soon. Keep checking in to see the newest postings and stories. Be sure to share so all can enjoy.

Wilson Lee, Son Gallery, 2015

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