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G Dan Mitchell / 318 items

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Panamint Mountains, Spring. Death Valley National Park, California. April 2, 2014. © Copyright 2014 G Dan Mitchell - all rights reserved.

Cloud shadows pass across valleys of spring-green high desert plants in the Panamint Mountains of Death Valley National Park

I like to think of this photograph as one that may offer a more truthful presentation of the character of Death Valley. As photographers, almost all of us to looking for the extraordinary—momentary instances of astonishing light, brilliant color towering clouds, dramatic light, and more. And, of course, there is nothing remotely wrong with that. It is these things that draw us to these places and which drive our search once we get there. We will often put up with, sometimes patiently and sometimes not, hours or days of what some call "blah" light in order to be able to photograph brief instance of something atypically powerful. But we must be aware that what we find and show in this brief slices of time is often special precisely because it is unusual.

A few years back I started thinking more about my relationship with the landscape of Death Valley and the surrounding terrain. I have been focusing on the extraordinary—and I still do—and on the way to such places I often passed through other areas, sometimes without taking the time to think about what I was seeing in those moment of passing through and being "on the way." I think that it partially out of frustration that I arrived at the idea of trying to see these subjects more clearly and try to figure out how to photograph them. After all, I knew—at least once I stopped to think about it—that my love of this places was not limited to just the unusual and extraordinary moments, but that it also included midday quiet in the heat and subtle colors of sage country, a series of simple overlapping ridges, a bit of rock. And once I recognized this I started to think that these things, and not just sunrises and sunsets and impressive formations and unusual clouds, might make worthy subjects if I slowed down and tried to understand them. And this is one of those photographs. There is no single, impressive subject in this frame. Instead we have the almost uniform pale green of the arid mountain plants on an early spring day after rain, when the plants produce a subtle but surprising green coloration that varies as the land alternates between gullies and the tops of low hills and clouds from a cleaning storm move across the landscape.

G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer and visual opportunist whose subjects include the Pacific coast, redwood forests, central California oak/grasslands, the Sierra Nevada, California deserts, urban landscapes, night photography, and more.
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Text, photographs, and other media are © Copyright G Dan Mitchell (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from G Dan Mitchell.

Tags:   death valley national park panamint mountain range high desert gully valley spring plants green cloud shadows landscape nature california usa north america travel scenic stock license print

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Green Shop Doors. Mare Island Naval Ship Yard, Vallejo, California. April 5, 2014. © Copyright 2014 G Dan Mitchell - all rights reserved.

Green doors to an immense industrial shop building, Mare Island Naval Ship Yard

I'm intrigued by doorways, especially doorways painted in interesting colors, or which suggest a size different from their reality, or which hint at something beyond the doors. These doors, both the obvious small door at the left, and the larger three section doors to its right that you'll see if you look a bit more closely, are along the front of a gigantic shop building at Mare Island. Many years ago they were, no doubt, devoted to work related to the ship construction that went on here for many decades. That work ended decades ago, the facility was decommissioned, and much of it was left vacant for a long time.

More recently things have begun to move again on the island. While some areas still lie dormant and others have succumbed to weather and vandals, many others still stand and quite a few of them are now used by small operations. Looking through the windows on this night, portions of the interior were dimly lit and it appeared that a few workers were busy inside. Incongruously, it looked like at least one computer screen glowed on a desk near a window.

G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer and visual opportunist whose subjects include the Pacific coast, redwood forests, central California oak/grasslands, the Sierra Nevada, California deserts, urban landscapes, night photography, and more.
Blog | About | Flickr | Twitter | FacebookGoogle+ | 500px.com | LinkedIn | Email

Text, photographs, and other media are © Copyright G Dan Mitchell (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from G Dan Mitchell.

Tags:   mare island naval ship yard minsy green metal doors windows light immense shop building interior wall vallejo california usa north america historic industrial stock license print nocturnes040514

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Forest, Fog. Yosemite Valley, California. March 2, 2014. © Copyright 2014 G Dan Mitchell - all rights reserved.

Fog drifts among the trees of a Yosemite Valley forest on a winter morning

A winter morning is almost always a good time to seek out fog in the meadows of Yosemite Valley, but things did not look too promising on this particular morning. We were up very early—well before dawn—and out and about. Since we had photographed from a higher spot with expansive views the previous morning, today it seemed like a good idea to look for more intimate scenes, so we began to check out a few of the centrally located meadows where the fog often forms. However, first looks revealed perfectly clear air. We wandered a bit more and eventually ended up near Curry Village where there was one fog-filled meadow. As far as we could tell, Stoneman Meadow was the only place in the Valley with the conditions we were looking for.

In much the same way that valley-filling fog can move back and forth, thicken and thin, rise and fall, the fog in this meadow was constantly changing. At first the rapid changes made it seem that the fog might be dissipating, so I began shooting fairly quickly, hoping to get something before it was gone. But soon there was a surprising resurgence of the fog, which drifted across the meadow into surrounding trees, rose higher, and hid the view. As it again began to thin I turned my attention to a bit of nearby dense forest and photographed the trees, late and small, as the fog gradually faded away.

G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer and visual opportunist whose subjects include the Pacific coast, redwood forests, central California oak/grasslands, the Sierra Nevada, California deserts, urban landscapes, night photography, and more.
Blog | About | Flickr | Twitter | FacebookGoogle+ | 500px.com | LinkedIn | Email

Text, photographs, and other media are © Copyright G Dan Mitchell (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from G Dan Mitchell.

Tags:   yosemite valley national park sierra nevada mountain range forest tree trunk green morning mist drift nature landscape scenic travel fog winter california usa north america stock license print

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Purple Trillium. Muir Woods National Monument, California. March 14, 2014. © Copyright 2014 G Dan Mitchell - all rights reserved.

A purple trillium flower against a background of green leaves

Visiting Muir Woods National Monument to photograph trillium flowers is almost a late-winter tradition for me. It is also close to becoming a tradition to forget that it is time for trillium, and then realize just in time that they are in bloom. I week or so ago I realized that my previous trillium photographs from this location had been made in early March... so it seemed like now would be the time to go! In this California drought year — now the third in a row — I wasn't sure what I would find. Some recent rains had finally brought some water to the area, and the creek through the monument was flowing and the ground was actually a bit wet. New plant growth was beginning, though it appeared less lush than I am used to seeing in this coastal redwood forest.

We did find blooming trillium plants. There were far fewer than in some recent years, and many of them seemed to have already blossomed, but with a bit of looking I was able to find some worthy of photographing. This year I decided I wanted to photograph them very close up, so I used a piece of equipment that often lives in my bag for months without ever coming out, a simple extension tube. I was able to position the camera almost directly over this flower, which let me make a background that consists entirely of the larger leaves of the plant.

G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer and visual opportunist whose subjects include the Pacific coast, redwood forests, central California oak/grasslands, the Sierra Nevada, California deserts, urban landscapes, night photography, and more.
Blog | About | Flickr | Twitter | FacebookGoogle+ | 500px.com | LinkedIn | Email

Text, photographs, and other media are © Copyright G Dan Mitchell (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from G Dan Mitchell.

Tags:   california usa north america wild flower foliage plant trillium nature flora muir woods national monument golden gate recreation area ggnra bloom blossom green stock license print

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Forest and Valley Fog. Yosemite Valley, California. March 1, 2014. © Copyright 2014 G Dan Mitchell - all rights reserved.

Thick winter fog drifts among Yosemite Valley trees

Yes. Another foggy photograph. And perhaps not the last from this visit to Yosemite Valley at the beginning of March, though perhaps the final one from this particular vantage point. No guarantees, though. ;-)

At the risk of repetition, this fog drifting among the forest trees on the floor of Yosemite Valley and occasionally sloshing back and forth and rising up in front of cliffs, waterfalls, and domes was in continuous motion. While the big scene changed more slowly, the smaller vignettes within it changed very quickly. At times I would spot a potentially interesting bit of foggy landscape, swing my camera in that direction and frame up a composition... only to find that it had disappeared as quickly as it had arrived. While some landscape photographs may be carefully and slowly and thoughtfully composed, this moody subject seems to require a lot of quick, instinctive shooting. Here I quickly rotated the camera to a vertical position so that I could include near and far trees, adjusted the focal length to keep an interesting combination of trees and fog in the frame... and keep some other extraneous elements out. I often wonder how people see an image of a scene at which I was present, and how different their impressions and interpretations might be. Mine were related to the dampness in the air, the muted light, the overall quite and stillness of the scene, and the nearby presence of several friends who were also shooting here on this morning.

G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer and visual opportunist whose subjects include the Pacific coast, redwood forests, central California oak/grasslands, the Sierra Nevada, California deserts, urban landscapes, night photography, and more.
Blog | About | Flickr | Twitter | FacebookGoogle+ | 500px.com | LinkedIn | Email

Text, photographs, and other media are © Copyright G Dan Mitchell (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from G Dan Mitchell.

Tags:   yosemite valley national park fog mist drift cloud winter trees forest season sierra nevada mountain range landscape nature california usa north america green stock license print


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