Sunday, April 28, 2024

Descending Tioga Pass (and Hiatus 2024)

This is the last video for a while. I am going on hiatus. A bunch of reasons, but a lot of it has to do with me being burned out of social media and its abuse. We are constantly being pounded each day with a lot of the same images and videos combined with ads. A lot of the artistic ideas and fun has been taken out of the creation process because of this. I have mentioned this over and over again in the past years. I did again at the beginning blogs of this year. 

Every time I log into something I feel like saying, "Just back off a little." This is this the reason I like to space stuff I do out over weeks. But that is me, and not others. The other part is I want to do other things than what I have been doing. That takes time and money. So you might see a few blog entries this year, but in the big picture of things I am taking some time off to find other things I can do in the long term for this blog and videos that I find fun.

This video is on the day I flew the drone at Saddlebag and Tioga Lakes. The sound was really loud, bad, and noisy. I added music, but you might want to just turn it off or listen to the radio or wherever you get music. I hope you enjoy:

Saturday, April 27, 2024

Flying Over Saddlebag

 This is the last of this series I will be doing for a while. It is also the one I think I had the best conditions for this flight. Originally, I wanted to takeoff from a spot closer to the lake near just past the trailhead. However, when I got there I saw a sign that said "No Drone Zone." I knew something was not right about that since I know the rules of flying in areas like this. I had done my homework ahead of time. Yet, the reason I did not take off from there was I did not want a bunch of people asking me if I had seen the sign or worse calling someone on me. Basically, the sign refers to flying over the boundaries of a wilderness area. At this time, the wilderness area starts on the other side of the lake. I'll get back to this, but I had already checked my drone apps on flying in all the areas I had done so I knew I was legal. 

This is Saddlebag Lake. I have shown a bunch from this area before. The conditions for this were amazing on a sunny day. About a month before this the area was covered with snow. In fact, I do not think the people connected with Saddlebag Lake ever officially opened because of the how long the winter was in 2023. So, the lake was really full. I have been here in the past (some past blog I showed early on) where the lake was really low and those times make it really sad around here.

The color of the lake was really beautiful. 
Just past the end of the lake is Greenstone Lake. I have lots of good memories here. My dad, cousins, and friends have all fished this lake. If I remember correctly there is a least one big rock under the water that the water gives a green look to.
I had forgotten Mt. Conness was the one on the upper left. I thought it was the one front and just above the middle of the picture (North Peak). In any case, this was about my limit on the flight because the wilderness area boundary is right near Greenstone Lake. There was a little more I would have like to have done around this lake, but I did not want to take more chances of doing something stupid here. 

If you watch the video you will see that I came back here again for a second look. The first time I took a bunch of pictures and just wanted to fly with the video uninterrupted the second time around. 
On the way back, I wanted to get a few shots of Mt. Dana in the background. In the video, you can see someone hiking in the snow on the right side.
This is about half-way back.
The dam. 

I was so excited about the conditions here that I told my brother we need to come back and hike the areas the following week. The next week we came back and the area was starting a major storm at the trailhead! I was so disappointed as we got closer to the trailhead. We just turned around. As I always say, nature does not play by rules! 

This will be the last of the drone flights for a while. I had a few others, but maybe some other time down the road or I will redo them in different conditions. 

Flying Over Saddlebag (Youtube Video)

Friday, March 29, 2024

Off-Road and Flying Over Lobdell

 Happy Good Friday and Easter Weekend! 

We are getting near the end of everything I intend to show from what I did last summer. Over this special weekend I am releasing a bunch of videos I took on the way, at, and coming back from Lobdell Lake.

Lobdell is a slightly mysterious lake that is out in the middle of nowhere in the Eastern Sierra. It is east of HHY 395 which usually means it is going to be a lake more in a desert atmosphere. That is not totally true here. While I would not consider the lake that beautiful compared to others, it is in a beautiful isolated environment. 

The reason it is isolated is you pretty much need a 4-wheel drive to get there with the dirt roads the way they are. If you don't have that type of vehicle, you will get stuck! While heading there it reminded me of something when I was younger.

I must have been around eight years old when my dad and grandfather drove me to Lobdell Lake at around 4am or so in the morning. I was pretty much scared the whole way through because I could not see anything other then what the headlights showed, and we were constantly bumping around. I had forgotten about what freaked me out on that drive until we did it again this last summer. My brother told me stories he remembers of my dad telling of some friends getting stuck at the final few hundred feet ascending to the lake during either the late 1940s or 1950s.  

The lake is at about 9,300 ft. of elevation. It used to be a good fishing lake when I was younger. I could not tell you know how it is, but I will get back to this below. I do remember when I was a little kid seeing cattle wondering around the lake. There was evidence when I was there last summer of cattle eating and drinking around the lake. 

I took a bunch of pictures with the drone flying around the lake. I am just going to have these two here. You can check out the video to see every angle I flew.

I got a laugh out a website that called the road to this lake "totally unpaved and pretty rough." I thought I have to used that for the titles of these two of the videos I will be releasing. Below my links I will link to an article that talks about a mysterious fish that used to be in the lake and the reason why fishing ended there for a while. I am still not sure how it is there now. We did encounter some people on the way that said they were coming back to fish.

OKAY! So this is how this weekend is going to work with my three videos. If you come here for my videos you are privileged to get them before they are coming out publicly. I will be releasing them through the weekend, but right now you can access them as unlisted. I do not care if they are shared right now or anything like that. I just did not want to created three separate blogs for this so here we go:

Video #1:

"Totally Unpaved and Pretty Rough" (aka Off-Road Drive: To Lobdell Lake) Youtube Video

This is a GoPro video that shows about fifteen minutes of video footage on the way to Lobdell. So about half the drive and not with all the crazy bumps.

Video #2:

Flying Over Lobdell

This is the drone footage I took flying all around the area. The problem with this one is the first two minutes the autofocus was stuck and not adapting. It is not bad and looks like old SD footage, but at the two minute mark I moved the camera on the drone and then the autofocus started to work correctly. This is the only time I have had this issue, and it was only something I realized when I started looking at the footage at home.

Video #3:

"Totally Unpaved and Pretty Rough Too" (aka Off-Road Drive: From Lobdell Lake)

This is the GoPro video I took on the way back. It is probably about 99% of the drive which takes about thirty minutes to get back to HWY 395. I think I might have changed batteries at one point, and we did have to move off the road to allow some off-road vehicle group get by us. It is shown in the video.

Finally, these two links are the items I referred to above:

1)Article about the road to Lobdell Lake.

2)Article about fishing at Lobdell and the grayling at Lobdell Lake.

Sunday, March 17, 2024

Flying Over Tioga Lake

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

 During the summer of 2022 I flew an older drone at Tioga Lake. I liked it since no one was around, but it was early:

The downside was I did not have a enough light. I ended up doing a hike that morning after this, but when I got home I looked at the pictures and video. The pictures I knew could be worked on like the above, but I wanted to go back and get better pictures and video. So, I had already vowed to come back in 2023.

And, I did come back a year later. Also, closer to noon than just a few hours after sunrise. No hikes were planned. Just do this! 
This shot above is close to something I had uploaded on here before. 
This time I wanted to be sure I got picture from all different parts of the lake. 
This is close to the one I did the year before.
Finally, I had to get the top of Mt. Dana in on the upper left high point! 

Tioga Lake is probably my favorite lake in the whole Eastern Sierra. I have great memories of it when I was kid when my dad and I would fish there. Years back I did scramble up to the top of Mt. Dana. I have been working on some old video footage I took from the top with the current A.I. technology. Not sure I will upload it publicly, but you never know. 

The day was the best weather conditions I had last summer. It was perfect. I have another drone flight I will show sometime next month on the same day. It was my favorite flight. 

As an aside, when I was here people were going into Yosemite's Eastern Entrance like usual. Then while I was flying my drone you can see on the upper right side in the video that the line started to get longer. By the time I left it was near where my brother parked at the end of the lake. Just something I wanted to point out. You will see it in another future video I will show next month.

One last thing in the video is I went by twice the area where the stream comes into Tioga Lake. I wanted to get more video footage of that, but people ended up having a picnic there! Lol! So, no I wasn't trying to "spy" on them, but I just did enough and kept going. I was going to fly lower and stick around, but decided that would seem like I was spying on them. 

Flying Over Tioga Lake (Youtube Video)

Friday, March 01, 2024

Flying Over Silver Lake

 So after June Lake I drove over to Silver Lake. There was something special I wanted out of this one, but unfortunately I was a week or two late in getting it. Still went ahead anyways to fly around this lake.

I have shown Silver Lake in the past because it is a great spot for fall colors. I've never been quite satisfied with anything I have done here because of a sunlight. I show why in the next few pictures. 

So, I have had this type of picture before in the fall. The issue in the upper left hand corner is a lot of sunlight hits this area in a way that comes across as haze or smoke. I purposely flew the drone a lot more to the left to do the best I could to avoid the angle that gets that, but you can see it is still there. I meant to come back here in October to get a shot like this again, but that did not work out this time. 

Trying to get the right time of the day and best season for this shot is challenging for me in flights or just taking normal pictures on the ground. However, this shot was really secondary to what I was trying to achieve at this lake.

 The above is Horsetail Falls which I have hiked by to Gem Lake back in 2010. This was sort of the goal of my flying around here. The water had been gushing out from Agnew Lake during the month of July; I believe that was controlled by man made mechanisms and not something from nature. They were releasing water that had been snow/ice back there. I saw pictures of it and hoped to get this huge amount of water gushing over on video. I was too lake and this was what I got. Still it was fun doing this. Btw, in the video, this is the reason I hang out over here for a while. 

Finally, this is the other shot of June Lake I wanted from the other side:

Not bad. I took a few other pictures. Lots of water around, lots of boats fishing, etc. I was very relaxed doing this one.

Sunday, February 18, 2024

Flying Over June Lake

(For the Love of the Eastern Sierra) 


For the next two months or so I intend to put up a bunch of these drone flights I did every few weeks. They are simple flights I did last summer with my drone. This was the first one I did during the summer. 

I have shown June Lake before by my drone, but this is one where I covered the whole lake rather than trying to take pictures of the just the lake. This is what I saw when flying to the end of June Lake: Gull Lake! 

Then turning around I looked back on June Lake:

This is looking east to the 395. Whenever I fly my drone at June Lake I have encountered the remains of some nearby fire. There was some haze during this day in the distance in both directions. Had I been here about a week later I might have had clear conditions as you will see with some other drone flights.

Of course, I ended with this shot that I have taken a few times. 

Friday, February 16, 2024

Do Your Own Thing!

I have said something like this before and a version of this is in my FAQ. The point of this blog is not to copy me in areas you visit! That is not going to impress me. What is important is you go out and find your own areas.

Where do I figure out where I want to go or find some movie spot? I use books and watch movies. It is simple as that. I love reading history books and then trying to find out where some of the events took place. 

Getting ideas off of social media is NOT something I recommend for a bunch of reasons.

One thing that has happened over the years on social media is people copying each other over and over again. I get this every time I log in to one of the sites I am on. I start seeing areas, animals, or whatever I have uploaded at one time done by other people.

It is like the algorithm thinks, "Well, if you uploaded that, then you like that and want more of it!" Which I have to laugh at because I can only handle so much of my own stuff at a time. I have to take time away from my own projects I do on here and do other things otherwise I seriously burn out.

Yet, the way the modern algorithm works seems to be programmed into overkill! I get pounded every time I log into one of those sites. They work on our worst temptations and bad habits to keep us on these sites. They want to keep us on their sites as long as possible. 

The big issue is it is not art to do exact copies of others work. This is the way I feel about Ansel Adams photography. I have shown a few locations where he took photos, but I do not think it is right to copy his photo locations to take the same type of picture and then claim it as your own. 

While I would not consider it social media, I get the AAA magazine as I am a member. They usually run contests for the best pictures each year. As is typical, most of the pictures are the same each year. Oh sure, there might be some photography technique used with great outdoor conditions used, but it is the same places year after. The current magazine cover is one of an area I have been to a few times on here and seen others take similar pictures. 

Then just recently I saw a comment made on Instagram that on someone's channel dedicated to California. The comment was like, "The state of California should hire you to for tourism!" I did not say anything since it was not my channel, but I wanted to tell the lady that she has not tried looking enough around the internet. What I saw of this person's pictures (could be an A.I. grabber too which is another story) was really obvious places. 

So people trying to stay relevant on the algorithms have to keep uploading things and that encourages the copying, but other issue is I see bad behaviors being encouraged. Like, most people are giving out directions for everything: "Here are the directions to five of my secret hikes I do." It is really bad to do this. Not everyone should be encouraged to drive to areas or do hikes so easily. How many times have we heard about "experienced hikers" getting lost somewhere out there? 

It has been a few years, but I saw something that was obviously influenced by something I had done on here. It was one of those that I warned that the average person should not take this place and hike lightly. What did the person do? "I highly recommend this hike to everyone!" When I heard about this I just wanted to slam my head into the ground. 

There are other issues with social media giving out information too easily, but my main points are:  (1) find something unique to visit and share. Also, (2) be responsible with the rules, both written and unwritten, and what your audience will understand. Remember, social media caters to the lowest of intelligence and wisdom of all ages.

With that said, I intend to start sharing more of my drone flights about every other week or so for the next two or three months. It is my "Flying Over..." series, but I like to think of them as "For the Love of the Eastern Sierra" (#FTLOTES).

Thursday, February 08, 2024

Adding Rumble Account

 So I am finally adding my Rumble account as an official part of this blog:

TheGreatSilence Rumble Channel

In the past I decided it is a good idea to branch out to a few other sites to give YouTube some competition and also make sure some of my older content is not deleted for whatever reason.

In this case, my Rumble channel has only my last 16+ videos that I have shot in GoPro. My other 1080p videos can be found on YouTube and Odysee. Those go back to 2009 or so. My Bitchute channel has just the past few years on it.

As I see it right now, Youtube is still clearly the best when it comes to videos. The closest competition is Rumble that allows 4K (2160p). Odysee and Bitchute are stuck in 720p and 1080p respectively. My GoPro cameras can go as high as 5k video, but no one is doing that right now. As it is with big tv's, 4K is pretty much the standard I see for now. 

Again, I think my old 1080p videos are okay to watch, but they are good at smaller screens or cell phones. When you watch on smaller screen or at smaller box on a web browser they work the best. However, my recent GoPro videos are designed for bigger screens. 

In any case, follow me on this blog, or one of the other channels. Whatever is easiest for you and fits how you like to view things. The one thing I always mention is this blog is basically my main area where I let people know what I am doing and shows links to everything else I do. It is true that I have some other sites I have done side experiments on or use to communicate with family, friends, or business partners in the real world. However, those are not part of what I do here on the blog. Please do not try to contact me on other sites not listed here if you see me on them. You would think this is common sense, but...I have had people try doing this before that could just as easily leave a comment below on my most recent blog, but for some reason want to communicate with me somewhere else. Of course, my e-mail connected to this blog is always listed.

As an aside, I purchased a 4K UHD blu-ray player for myself during Christmas. I ended up buying a bunch of 4k movies I mostly already had as dvd or blu ray. There is a whole other set of reasons I do this instead of watching streaming channels which I will not go into here, but I am at the stage in life where this will probably be the last time I purchase movies I have already purchased before. If in ten years we are at 8K or something higher we will see, but I think I am pretty much done repurchasing movies. I have hundreds of rare movies on dvd and blu-ray I have watched, but some I have watched maybe once in the last 15 years or so. That takes up space.

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Slowing Moving into 2024

I do not have very much that is "new" to say right now. I am starting to think of things I want to do this year. I do have a bunch of simple drone flights that I want to edit and upload.

One note is that I have added my video channel on to my link section. I will explain more on that on some other blog post in a week or two.

What I said a year ago in my "Housekeeping 2023" blog pretty much covers the same ground as I feel right now. Refer to that, but I just want to emphasize again the following because I have had people still asking me something I do not do anymore.

That is, I do not give out GPS coordinates or specific directions to locations anymore.  

I'm sorry, but it is not 2006 anymore. For many years I felt okay in doing this, but I do not like what I am seeing. Vandalism, taking things from the land, leaving trash, and just too many people going to what are meant to be isolated areas with limited traffic.

What I have seen this last year, and for about ten years before, is that I will probably be on the losing side on this issue. I have seen official social media accounts encouraging certain behaviors that in the long run I fear are going to cause more harm than good. 

One thing hundreds of people have told me over the years and I have seen comments for social media sites is something like, "My family and I have been going to 'X' since 'P'. 

X = some location (for example, Yosemite)

P= some date or era (for example, the 1960's)

This is a way people try to establish common ground (no pun intend) with each other. I have done it on this blog several times as a way of letting the reader know that I have the knowledge and experience of the area over the years. A good percentage of what I have talked about on this blog goes back many decades. However, if you were to meet me out in the wild I probably would not mention this unless someone asked.

When people tell me they have been going to a certain area since some date in time I am usually not very impressed, nor I am really snotty about it either. However, if they have some good insights about the area, or explain things that they do to benefit the area then that will impress me a little more.

That is kind of the goal that I have set for this year. I've done this in the past, but I want to make it known publicly as well. Let me state it this way:

What can I do to make the area I spend my time at better than when I got there?

Taking bags with you to pick up trash is a good start. I have done this several times over the years. Lots of things can be said, but many people take what may seem "free" for granted. I am not going to get into property taxes, insurance, and other fees that many of us locals deal with, but maybe donating money to the places you visit helps. 

Just some ideas. I am going to come back and again talk about the problems I see with social media in my next blog post.

Sunday, December 31, 2023

Thanks and Looking Back at 2023!

I just want to give a "Thank You!" for those who have followed this blog or my work on Youtube (or other video sites). It is not important to me to have thousands of people following what I do. If I only get a handful of people that enjoy what I do that is fine. With that said, I do appreciate those that share what I do with others. My motivations for doing this are a lot different than many other content creators. I do it for the love of it, not for money or as an instrument for something else.

I have learned a lot in the past six months or so. I kind of know the direction I would like to take this blog going further. Yet, at the same time, to do this takes a lot of my own time. It feels like since August I have been working on videos every few days, correcting mistakes in them, and then I wonder where the time has gone. 

So, I intend to take a few weeks off from this. I still have a bunch of drone footage I want to show and some other things in the next couple of months. 

In the meantime, please check out my last video of the year (and any others I did this year if you have not seen them):

Flying Over Aurora (Youtube video)

Have a Happy 2024!