Lenticular Clouds at Sunset Over Lamarck Col, Sierra Nevada Mountains, California

Lenticular clouds (Altocumulus lenticularis) are stationary lens-shaped clouds that form in the troposphere, normally in perpendicular alignment to the wind direction. Lenticular clouds can be separated into altocumulus standing lenticularis (ACSL), stratocumulus standing lenticular (SCSL), and cirrocumulus standing lenticular (CCSL). Because of their shape, they have been offered as an explanation for some Unidentified Flying Object (UFO) sightings.

The Sierra Nevada is a mountain range in the western United States, between the Central Valley of California and the Basin and Range Province. The vast majority of the range lies in the state of California, although the Carson Range spur lies primarily in Nevada.

The Sierra runs 400 miles (640 km) north-to-south, and is approximately 70 miles (110 km) across east-to-west. Notable Sierra features include Lake Tahoe, the largest alpine lake in North America; Mount Whitney at 14,505 ft (4,421 m),the highest point in the contiguous United States; and Yosemite Valley sculpted by glaciers out of 100-million-year-old granite. The Sierra is home to three national parks, 20 wilderness areas, and two national monuments. These areas include Yosemite, Sequoia, and Kings Canyon National Parks; and Devils Postpile National Monument.

The character of the range is shaped by its geology and ecology. More than 100 million years ago during the Nevadan orogeny, granite formed deep underground. The range started to uplift 4 Ma (million years) ago, and erosion by glaciers exposed the granite and formed the light-colored mountains and cliffs that make up the range. The uplift caused a wide range of elevations and climates in the Sierra Nevada, which are reflected by the presence of five life zones. Uplift continues due to faulting caused by tectonic forces, creating spectacular fault block escarpments along the eastern edge of the southern Sierra.

The Sierra Nevada has a significant history. The California Gold Rush occurred in the western foothills from 1848 through 1855. Due to inaccessibility, the range was not fully explored until 1912.

Lenticular Clouds at Sunset Over Lamarck Col, Sierra Nevada Mountains, California

It was clear early on that Jerry Dodrill was not cut out for a desk job. His career as an adventure and landscape photographer has fostered a lifestyle that the average person might call unconventional. An avid climber of twenty years, he feels equally at home in a rocky bivouac or a soft bed. In college he dropped pre-med classes in favor of fine art and spent weekends scaling Yosemite’s granite walls. Photography was at first a by-product of many adventures, but quickly became a goal of its own as he captured each experience with a concise aesthetic and spiritual light quality that reveals a sense of inspiration and captures the imagination.

Jerry’s adventures have led around the globe. He has climbed all the major walls in Yosemite Valley, at crags across the West, close to a hundred summits in the Sierra, and peaks in Bolivia, Argentina and China. Full embrace of the many disciplines of climbing have led to many adventures and tales best told late at night around a raging campfire.

In 1997 Jerry achieved degrees in both fine art and photography at Pacific Union College (Napa Valley) then worked under acclaimed photographer Galen Rowell in Berkeley. He was soon managing Galen’s gallery and workshops, an amazing experience (akin to a photographers bootcamp), but spending way too much time in the office. After several years he left to pursue his own projects.

Jerry’s dedication has not gone unnoticed. He has won several international awards and has been exhibited in fine galleries such as the Ansel Adams, Mountain Light, Mumm Napa Valley, and Banff Center for Mountain Culture. His clients include The North Face, Vanity Fair, Sunset, Men’s Journal, Outside, Alpinist, Rock & Ice, and Climbing magazines. His work has been featured in many ad campaigns, books, and publications and is represented by Aurora Photos. After running a gallery on California’s North Coast for the past five years, he now resides in the Sonoma County town of Sebastopol, California.

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