Episode 4: Bishop, California - We Are Chasing Darkness

About Episode 4: For this adventure, Jeff and Jack wanted to showcase a location that not only had clear views of the Milky Way but also one that wasn’t difficult to reach. Unlike their trips across Alberta, Oregon, and Northwest Territories, which involved remote locations, the entire Bishop, California, video was filmed within a five-hour drive of Los Angeles.

In the northern hemisphere, July and August are largely considered the best time to view the Milky Way Galaxy. Throughout the summer, the milky way galaxy stretches across the sky in the evening.

With that in mind, Jeff and Jack traveled to Bishop, California, in August to capture the Milky Way at its peak.

Trip Highlights: For this film, They used Bishop as our basecamp, but the majority of filming took place in the Inyo National Forest that stretches from Mt Whitney to Mammoth Lakes. The eastern sierras are beautiful and a striking contrast to much of California. Inyo County is both the second largest county and the second lowest population density. Despite being located just a short drive from Los Angeles, the area has almost no light pollution and incredible views of the night sky.

Sabrina, North and South Lakes quickly became favourite locations. During the day, the areas provide access to popular hiking routes into the Eastern Sierras.At night, the areas were nearly deserted and, thanks to calm winds, the lakes mirrored the night sky. Check out the video for some stunning Milky Way reflections. 

Biggest Challenges: The location does come with a few unique challenges. While frostbite had been a legitimate concern in our four other Chasing Darkness locations, the opposite was true in Southern California. In August, temperatures soar above 100F during the day. The hot temperatures made scouting locations difficult; however, overnight temperatures hovered around 80F, which made for pleasant shooting conditions.

The area is quite arid, too, but heavy rainfalls can cause flash flooding risks. Although we never encountered rain, we saw several rainstorms in the distance and were forced to change plans near North Lake after it was temporarily closed because of flooding concerns. 

We'd planned our trip just as Sigma launched its 14mm ART series camera lens. We were two of the first photographers in North America to test the lens and, we can confidently say, we were the first to destroy one. On just our second night shooting, we accidentally submerged a camera and lens in Mary Lake while composing a shot. It's unclear who is truly to blame for the accident. 

Photographing the Milky Way: In the northern hemisphere, July and August are largely considered the best time to view the Milky Way Galaxy.

Throughout the winter, the Milky Way is too low on the horizon and its core isn't visible in the Northern Hemisphere. From April  through June, it's still low on the horizon; however, it becomes visible late at night. In July and August, the Galaxy stretches across the sky in the evening, which makes it the best time to view and photograph its dramatic core. 

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