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G Dan Mitchell / 239 items

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Plants, Canyon Wall. Death Valley National Park, California. April 1, 2014. © Copyright 2014 G Dan Mitchell - all rights reserved.

Plants grow from thin cracks in the rock wall of a desert canyon, Death Valley National Park

I found this little scene in a well-known Death Valley Canyon, where the walls become vertical, hundreds of feet high, and quite close together. Canyons like this are some strange combination of beautiful — with soft light, colorful rock, shade — and harsh — with the clear evidence of flooding that periodically sweeps through and rearranges everything, against a backdrop of more typical aridity, and a terrain almost entirely consisting of rock.

In these places I am always intrigued by where and how plant life manages to survive. This is nowhere more true than in such canyons in Death Valley National Park, where the usual challenges are made worse by extreme heat and dryness. Here two kinds of plants have managed to find a foothold, but in must be a very tenuous one. The grow from thin cracks in solid rock, a good distance above whatever water comes during the periodic flooding of the wash, in an environment in which the light is most often muted yet in which extreme temperatures are common for much of the year.

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:   plant foliage desert canyon wall rock thin crack grow titus death valley national park california usa north america landscape intimate nature stock license print

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Double Bass, Backstage. San Jose, California. May 14, 2014. © Copyright 2014 G Dan Mitchell - all rights reserved.

A double bass rests back stage during a break in a rehearsal of Symphony Silicon Valley

This is a photograph from my ongoing project related to classical music performing groups and the musicians who belong to them. It falls into a category I have mentioned before, namely photographs of people and things that happen to turn up in the small areas of interesting backstage light that I have discovered. As I have worked several venues over the past two years I have gotten to know many things about them intimately, and one of those things is the location of the many little unexpected pools of interesting light. Sometimes I "stalk" those spots, just waiting for someone or something to happen there, and I always check them as I walk around the theater with my camera.

This is, obviously, a visually simple image—just a double bass lying on its side during a break in a rehearsal. (I was attracted by the contrast between the warm colors and interesting textures of the instrument and the "industrial" surroundings with their signs of heavy use and even minor damage.) From my point of view, however, it could lead to thoughts of a whole range of other things. I'm fascinated by what an instrument is and what it isn't. Instruments, musical and otherwise, are often remarkable things in that they allow us to do things that we can't otherwise do with our minds and bodies alone. The instruments of classical (and many other types of) music are fundamentally pretty simple things and often the result of some really "primitive" technologies, yet they are remarkably adapted to the purposes for which they are intended, generally as a result of a long and complex evolutionary process. But in the end, I would argue that even the most beautiful and sophisticated instrument is no more than a tool, and the really interesting things are how the tool is used by a person or persons to produce something far more meaningful and interesting than the instrument itself.

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:   symphony silicon valley orchestra rehearsal musician artist double contra bass string backstage wall california theater musical instrument stock license print San Jose USA

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Curves, Desert Canyon. Death Valley National Park. April 1, 2014. © Copyright 2014 G Dan Mitchell - all rights reserved.

Small dry plants grow in a curving crack in a two-toned desert canyon, Death Valley National Park

Passing through this deep and narrow canyon, I always watch the rock walls for little odds and ends of shape and form and color and occasional surprising bits of vegetation. If you had asked me about this section of canyon after my first passage some years ago, I might well have mentioned how narrow and deep it is and perhaps how dusty. I might have commented on the way the bottom remains in shade even in the midday heat. But repeated visits have shown me that there is much more to see, and the fact that I still see new things on every visit tells me that there is far more yet to be discovered.

On one hand this is a pretty plain photograph of some rocks with cracks running through them. On the other hand, I think there are some stories behind the elements of the photo that are interesting to contemplate. At least I thing so! If you look closely you will see some very dry plants that have grown in this curving crack. It is hard to imagine a more inhospitable place for a plant to grow—perhaps a dozen feet up the nearly solid rock wall of an arid and hot desert canyon. Yet somehow these plants found a way, as did and do many other plants throughout this desert landscape. Behind the small, delicate, and even intimate element of these plants is the backdrop of a small section of a massive rock wall that towers out of sight above the frame of the photograph. Here is a boundary between two sorts of rock—I'm not enough to a geologist to make technical observations, but I do note that the upper layer is darker and more solid while the lower is lighter and has more cracks in its surface. From the upper left a crack follows the junction of the two rock layers, but for some reason the crack leaves the junction and curves back upwards into the darker rock, and it is in this surprising bit of geological dissonance that the small plants took root.

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 | Facebook | Google+ | 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:   death valley national park california usa north america desert landscape nature titus canyon cliff rock wall crack plants two-toned 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

B 915 C 0 E Jun 13, 2014 F Jun 16, 2014
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Poles and Shaded Wall. San Francisco, California. June 13, 2014. © Copyright 2014 G Dan Mitchell - all rights reserved.

A curving arrangement of metal poles leads to the shaded front of an industrial building at a Port of San Francisco pier

I'm always fascinated by the juxtapositions of things - sometimes the ways that the forms of the natural world come together, but also the little surprises in the human world where things that might not have been thought of as being connected turn out to be. I also love seeing and understand how the camera sees differently that we do with our eyes.

This is just a section of warehouse loading docks along a commercial pier on the San Francisco waterfront. While walking along the shoreline I happened to see a road and pathway leading out onto the pier so I ambled that direction. The way was lined on both sides by the long buildings. On one side they were slightly in sunlight, and the angle of the light created an interested relief on the windows and doors and other textures. In this direction the walls were still in shadow, and the objectively somewhat white walls were subjective very blue—or perhaps I have that backwards!. Until you have seen what the camera sees in this kind of light you don't realize just how blue the shadows are, but here I decided to "embrace the blue" and let that colored shadow light be what it is. The curving arrangement of metal posts struck me as surprising. In a location where most things are arranged in very linear patterns, this curve seemed to stand out, and I enjoyed the pattern of their shadows on the asphalt.

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:   pier dock loading poles metal curve shaded doors wall asphalt industrial street structure san francisco port california usa north america stock license print


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