Gary Yost seized his solitude.
For the past two years, the longtime Mill Valley photographer has volunteered through the Marin County Fire Department to man the Gardner Fire Lookout on Mount Tam, spending lengthy shifts high above Marin County.
In his recent overnight stints as the only person high up on the East Peak, Yost has been a busy bee, hoping to create a short documentary on the fire lookout through timelapse photography. From Aug. 16-18, “It was pretty much full-on shooting all night, with little naps during the 2-3 hour shooting periods,” Yost says.
Yost, a native of Bergen County, N.J. who moved to the Bay Area in 1978 and lives in Cascade Canyon since 1997, says he’s simply following through on a longtime fascination with the lookout and serving his community as a volunteer staffer in the process. Yost is among approximately 30 volunteers who volunteer through Marin County Fire to staff the Gardner Lookout and the Dickson Lookout in Woodacre from mid-June to the end of fire season.
“It just felt like the perfect way for me to spend some time during the summer giving something back to my community by putting my eyes in a place where they could be useful.”
Once he was shown inside, “I was instantly attracted to its comfy hovering-over-Marin-county feel,” he says.
During his first year as a lookout volunteer, Yost says he made a few simple videos but found them unsatisfying because “I couldn't capture the most magical time on top of the mountain: the middle of the night. “
So during the winter, Yost says he stepped up his game, acquiring new skills and adding some new equipment that would allow him to do night-time astronomical timelapse photography.
The result from that weekend is the raw footage you see above. Yost intends to use to craft a short documentary on the Mount Tam fire lookout. Stay tuned!