George Labaria (@glabaria) — Applied Math PhD candidate at UCSC | photographer | climber
UC Berkeley alum. Go Bears!
📍 Sunnyvale, California, USA
⛰️"The mountains are calling...
UC Berkeley alum. Go Bears!
📍 Sunnyvale, California, USA
⛰️"The mountains are calling...
This is a strange photo. What is it? It is a photo that I took of the partially eclipsed sun over Half Dome as seen from Mirror Lake in Yosemite Valley on August 21, 2017. This photo took a year and a half to grow on me. To get this shot actually took a lot of planning. Although California missed totality, the August 21, 2017 eclipse still offered a rare opportunity to photograph a partial eclipse in Yosemite. I first had to find out the timing of the of the partial eclipse as visible from Yosemite, and I wanted it to be at its maximum. Then I had to find out where the sun would be in the sky during the maximum partial eclipse. The main concern for me was that the sun would be blocked by Half Dome as seen from Mirror Lake in the Valley during the maximum eclipse time. Simple use of trigonometry allowed me to figure out that all of the partial eclipse event could be viewed from Mirror Lake without being blocked by Half Dome. Although it wasn't totality, the partial eclipse event was still amazing to see. And to top it off, I got to see it in my most favorite place on Earth, Yosemite National Park. The next opportunity to photograph such an event in Yosemite will be on October 14, 2023. Unfortunately, a total solar eclipse whose path of totality crosses Yosemite will not occur until at least after the next 1000 years. Taken with a Nikon d810 with Nikon 105mm f/2.8G lens at 105mm, ISO 64, f/8.0 using two exposures: (i) 1/400s and (ii) 30s. Both exposures were taken with a solar filter that I crudely attached with some cardboard and tape to my lens*. Tripod mounted. The two exposures were merged together in Photoshop and the composite was then edited in Lightroom. Mirror Lake Trail, Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California, USA. August 21, 2017. *Never view a solar eclipse that is not in totality directly, especially through the viewfinder of a DSLR. Severe eye damage will amost certainly occur. Always use a solar filter.
It's been well over a year and half since this climb, but I still think about this pitch a lot--especially during rainy days and busy school weeks when I don't have time to get out as much as I want to. Here's me following up the spectacular pitch 6 dihedral of the North Arête route (5.7, grade III) of Matterhorn Peak (12,285 feet) during a 6 day mountaineering course from @international_alpine_guides Seen prominently from Highway 395 near Bridgeport, CA, Matterhorn Peak is the tallest mountain in the Sawtooth Range. Shout-out to Joe, Ross, and Dave for guiding us up and down this mountain and to Ross for taking this awesome video. Pitch 6, North Arête route (5.7, grade III), Matterhorn Peak (12,285 feet), Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest-Yosemite National Park border, California, USA. June 25, 2017 Picture / video 📸📽️ credits: @adventure4life.rdh
I really needed a winter picture, so here's one of Matterhorn Peak in the Sawtooth Range. Okay, I'm just kidding, I took this in June of 2017. California can be tricky sometimes. If this really was taken in winter you'd see a heck of a lot more snow! But this looks somewhat close enough. Pictured here is Matterhorn Peak reflected off of a small tarn. At 12,280 feet, Matterhorn Peak is the tallest mountain of the Sawtooth Range, forming an imposing border along the northern end of Yosemite National Park and the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. The Sawtooth Range dominates the skyline from Highway 395 around Bridgeport, CA. I took this picture early one morning during a 6 day mountaineering course from @international_alpine_guides. The next day, we summited Matterhorn Peak via the 7 pitch North Arête route (5.7, grade III) which is visible in the photo. What an awesome adventure! Matterhorn Peak, Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest-Yosemite National Park border, California, USA June 24, 2017
Definitely missing Mono Lake. One of the most unearthly, alien places I've ever seen. This was taken several years ago, when I first discovered my passion for photography. Although it's one of my first photographs, actually containing quite a few technical flaws, it remains one of my favorites. Mono Lake South Tufa, Mono Lake, California, USA July 25, 2013
That awesome feeling of standing on a relatively comfy ledge after getting through the crux. A bomber #1 DMM hex placement on the crack where my left hand is also made this a good mental rest before pushing through the final few moves to the anchor. "Myers Crack," 5.7, TJ Swan Cliff, Mammoth Lakes, California, USA September 15, 2018 Photo 📸 credit: @m2lanthier
The Roof of Yosemite Here's a re-edit of a photo that I took on July 12th of last year during a backpacking trip to the Lyell Fork of the Tuolumne River. I brought out the reddish hues of the sky to more accurately reflect what I saw that morning as I remember it. Here's the original description: Mount Lyell, Mount Maclure, and the Cathedral Range during sunrise as seen from the Lyell Fork of the Tuolumne River in Yosemite National Park. The right-most peak is Mount Maclure (12,886 feet / 3,928m) and the peak immediately to the left of it is Mount Lyell (13,120 feet / 3,999m), the tallest mountain in Yosemite National Park. Also seen in the photo is the Lyell Glacier, which feeds the Tuolumne River--eventually flowing in the Hetch Hetchy reservoir, providing water to all of the San Francisco Bay Area. I have this location marked on my GPS, and I have been coming back to it year-after-year. This, in my opinion, is one of the most photogenic spots to see Mount Lyell, Mount Maclure, and the southern end of the Cathedral Range. It is such an awesome feeling coming back to this spot and seeing it change throughout the years. I always find the towering, glacial-carved peaks of Yosemite so inspiring. It is humbling to think that even the tallest structures that we have built will shink to insignificance when placed beside them. Taken with a Nikon d810 with Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G lens at 48mm, ISO 64, f/11. Two exposures: (1) 0.6s and (2) 2s. Tripod mounted. The two exposures were blended together in Photoshop and the resulting composite was edited in Lightroom. Lyell Canyon, Lyell Fork of the Tuolumne River, Yosemite National Park, California, USA. Elevation: 8,850 feet / 2,697 m. July 12, 2018
The Milky Way over an unnamed lake and unnamed peak in the John Muire Wilderness of the Inyo National Forest. The bright, reddish lightsource to the left of the Milky Way is Mars. The night I took this shot, it was very cold and windy. The temerature was in the 30s (F) and the wind was at about 30mph. I had to be very patient and shoot the exposures in between the wind gusts to even have a hope at a sharp photo. It definitely seemed like a questionable decision to be out here, given that my relatively warm tent and sleeping bag was about 200 feet to the left behind a small grove of trees, but in the end it was worth it. This photo is a composite of two exposures taken at ISO 3200, 14mm, f/2.8 at (1) 36s and (2) 60s. The two exposures were merged in Photoshop and then edited in Lightoom. Taken with a Nikon d810 with Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G lens. Tripod Mounted. Unnamed Lake, Upper Spur of the Golden Trout Lakes trail, John Muir Wilderness, Inyo National Forest, California, USA. Elevation: 11,200 feet. September 13, 2018.
Selfie on the South Ridge of Dragon Peak (12,995ft) from September. Going through my phone and reminiscing through warmer days in the high Sierra from this past summer. Although on this day we were getting blasted by 30mph+ winds on the ridge. I should probably learn how to ski, so I can actually go outside in the winter. South Ridge Route, class 4 John Muir Wilderness, Inyo National Forest, California, USA. September 13, 2018.
Fall colors along the June Lake Loop near Grant Lake. Fall colors might be gone in the High Sierra, but snow is on the way! Taken with Nikon d810 with Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G lens at 116mm, f/9, 1/25s, ISO 400. Tripod mounted. Near Grant Lake, June Lake Loop, June Lake, California, USA October 19, 2018.
"From a high ridge... we had a fine view of a very prominent exceedingly grand landmark through all the region, and to which the name of Cathedral Peak has been given... The majesty of its form and its dimensions are such, that any work of human hands would sink to insignificance if placed beside it." - California Geological Survey, 1863. Cathedral peak is one of my favorite mountains in Yosemite. The spire-like summit remained uneroded from the last ice age as it was tall enough to be above the glaciation. Cathedral Peak, at 10,911 feet is one of the most prominent landmarks around Tuolumne Meadows. This is a re-edit of a photo that I originally took in August 2, 2014. Nikon d5200 with Nikon 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G lens at 11mm, f/22, ISO 100, 2s. Tripod mounted. Lower Cathedral Lake, Yosemite National Park, California, USA. August 2, 2014.
Mike following up "Mullah," 5.10a in the California Ridge area of Castle Rock State Park. "Mullah" features an interesting roof near the start and some delicate slab towards the end. Immediate exposure from the get-go makes this climb really enjoyable. Lead by @m2lanthier To get this shot, I lead up an adjacent trad route called "Band Aids on Road Rash," 5.6 and built an intermediate gear anchor mid-route. I then cloved myself in to relieve my belayer of belay duties while I get this shot. This allowed me to get this perspective on the "Mullah" climb. This location gets wonderful sunrise light. I'll have to repeat this some other time with more optimal lighting conditions. Taken with Nikon d810 with 50mm f/1.8G lens at 50mm, f/6.3, 1/640s, ISO 200. Handheld. "Mullah," 5.10a, California Ridge, Castle Rock State Park, California, USA October 26, 2018
I can't get enough of the fall colors in the eastern Sierra. Here's a shot that I took a couple weeks ago. Most areas are past peak color, so you'll have to wait until next year for the higher elevations. It's too bad that the windows are boarded up. Why miss this view? Nikon d810 with 70-200mm f/2.8G lens at 200mm, f/16, 0.8s, ISO 64. Tripod mounted. Silver Lake, June Lake Loop, June Lake, California, USA. October 20, 2018.
If you think California doesn't have fall colors, then you need to leave the city and check out the eastern Sierra. Very few places in the world feature glacially-carved lakes with aspens lining its banks and towering peaks in the background. This was from a fall colors trip with my girlfriend @c_harmany Go now! Before it's too late, and you'll have to wait until next year! Fall colors reflected off of Silver Lake (elv 7,654 feet) during sunrise. The prominent mountain in the center of the frame is Carson Peak (elv 10,909 feet). In the high Sierra, fall arrives slightly earlier due to the colder temperatures, and peak color season is typically around early-to-mid October or earlier. Taken with Nikon d810 with Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G lens at 24mm, ISO 64, f/11; two exposures: at (1) 1/8s and (2) 1/2s. Both exposures were blended together in Photoshop and then edited in Lightroom. Tripod mounted. Silver Lake, June Lake Loop, June Lake, California, USA October 20, 2018
A throw back to nearly a month ago. High up on the South Ridge (class 4) of Dragon Peak (12,995ft) in the John Muir Wilderness, Inyo National Forest with @doedoe_dan Can't wait to get back out there. #themountainsarecalling South Ridge route, class 4 Dragon Peak (12,995ft) John Muir Wilderness, Inyo National Forest, California, USA September 13, 2018
Shark Fin Cove at Sunrise. 🦈 I actually took this back in January. For some reason, the sunrises along the coast are best in the winter, at least based on my observations (they are also way easier to get up for). Shark Fin Cove is a small beach located north of Santa Cruz, California on Highway 1 just before the small town of Davenport. The rock formation is the obvious namesake. Shark Fin Cove, Davenport, California, USA January 28, 2018 Nikon d810 with Nikon 14-24mm lens at 20mm, f/13, 3s, ISO 64. Tripod mounted. Edited in Lightroom.
Dragon Peak (12,995ft/3961m) and an unnamed alpine lake at sunrise with a brush turning fall colors in the foreground. By mid-September, fall colors are typically well underway in the High Sierra. In the higher elevations, the weather is cooler, and Fall arrives earlier than at sea level. On the morning of this shot, I had to get out of my tent, ignore the pounding headache and nausea that accompanies altitude sickness, the near freezing low 30s degree temperature, and 35 mph winds with bitterly cold 50 mph gusts to get in position to have a chance at this shot. With high winds, I was not even sure that a decent photograph would even be possible. You can imagine the will-power needed to get out of a warm and relatively comfortable sleeping bag to do something that might very well not pan out. In the end, whether the shot was a failure or a success, the experience alone is worth it. I don't feel more alive and inspired, anywhere on Earth, but in the mountains. To get this shot was complicated. The photo you see before you is a composite of five individual exposures. Typically, in situations in which the background is brightly illuminated by one-to-two stops higher than the foreground, two exposures are necessary--one for the background and foreground. But due to the closeness of the foreground elements, I had to focus stack to get all of the leaves in focus. The greater ISO and shutter speed was to compensate for the fact that the leaves were never still due to the wind. The foreground frames are composed of four exposures, each whose focus point is ever farther in the frame; each exposure was taken at ISO 1250, f/11, 1/100s. The background exposure for the mountains was taken at ISO 64, f/11, 1/4s. Both groups were at 24mm focal length. The five total exposures were merged together in Photoshop and the resulting composite was edited in Lightroom. Captured using a tripod mounted Nikon d810 with Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G lens. Unnamed Lake, Upper Spur of the Golden Trout Lakes trail, John Muir Wilderness, Inyo National Forest, California, USA. Elevation: 11,200 feet. September 14, 2018.
Fall colors are well underway in the High Sierra. In the high elevations, the weather is cooler, and fall arrives earlier than at sea level. Here's a little behind the scenes action of a photo that I am currently working on from a backpacking / climbing trip that I was on last week. Pictured here is my Nikon d810 with 24-70mm f/2.8G lens in front of a bush, turning fall yellow and gold. The prominent peak in the background is Dragon Peak (12,995ft /3961m) and the relatively smaller crag to the right of Dragon Peak is "Dragon Tooth." The day before this photograph was taken, my climbing partners and I attempted to summit Dragon Peak via its class 4 South Ridge route. Even behind the scenes photographs do not document the full experience of wilderness landscape photography. To get to this location, I had to hike 3.5 miles with over 2000 feet of elevation gain with a 50 pound pack--full of backpacking, climbing, and photography equipment. Much of the trail on this approach was ill-defined and involved a lot of class 2 cross-country to establish basecamp at about 11,200 feet near this unnamed alpine lake surrounded by towering 13,000 foot peaks. On the morning of this shot, I had to get out of my tent, ignore the pounding headache and nausea that accompanies altitude sickness, the near freezing low 30 degree temperatures, and 35 mph winds with bitterly cold 50 mph gusts to get in position to have a chance at this shot. In the end, the experience alone is worth it. I don't feel more alive and inspired, anywhere on Earth, but in the mountains.