Danse Macabre at Mono Lake

 Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

Autumn is the time of decay and death, as the old year dies to make way for the new year, and October at Mono Lake was no exception.  In honor of Hallows, I present a small gallery of the macabre that I encountered with my camera.

Before the workshop participants gathered for the first time, I spent my morning and early afternoon wandering around a portion of the lake’s shore.  This feather caught my eye, standing out against the autumn colors:

and of course I took a picture of it. As I looked at it, the realization grew upon me that this wasn’t just a wind-borne feather that fell off a bird. No.  I’m a birder. I knew, if I turned, the rest of the bird would be nearby. And it was, behind me…but not in the position one would expect:

On our final morning, after going to the South Tufa portion of the lake at dawn, we went to an abandoned house for a photo shoot.

Here’s one corner of this house:

It was awesomely creepy.  The floors were in very intriguing, multi-layered stages of decay…such as this kitchen floor:

And the bathroom floor:

Dried blood? Or paint? Your guess is as good as mine. I’m opting for the former, of course.

Yes. I know I’m a little strange when it comes to the macabre. As we walked to the house from the road, the lady in front of me stopped to look at something, with a look of repulsion and disgust on her face. Of course I had to look.  Of course I said, “Oh, cool!” and whipped out my camera. And the look on her face was priceless, reaffirming my affinity for the strange and macabre.

Now, Raven is my totem animal and I took these pictures to honor this raven. As we left the house, I took another picture scant moments before the morning’s golden light stole the cool, quiet shade shrouding the raven’s head:

Walking along the Lee Vining Creek trail, I encountered this log decaying into many shades of brown and silver-grey:

I departed at 4:30 or 5 am, but the moon’s haunting appearance had me stopping and capturing it:

The afternoon before, I quite fell in love with these autumn colors:

Happy Halloween and a blessed Samhain to all of you!


  1. Sue, great photos once again- Happy Halloween!

  2. Lovely photos Sue. I especially like the one of the moon. I think I’m a moon person. I must learn to photograph the moon. lol Love your photos.

    • Margaret Harwood says:

      Absolutely gorgeous Sue. You captured the essence of Samhain beautifully. A blessed Samhain to you.


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