Pine Tree, Granite Slabs, Evening Light

Posted on 15 September 2014 | Comment

Pine Tree, Granite Slabs, Evening Light

Pine Tree, Granite Slabs, Evening Light

Pine Tree, Granite Slabs, Evening Light. Yosemite National Park, California. September 8, 2014. © Copyright 2014 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Evening light rakes across stained granite slabs and pine trees

I spent the first ten days of September in the Sierra Nevada back county of Yosemite National Park, with a wonderful group of friends and photographers who share a long love affair with the Sierra in general and with this park in particular. Lucky me, and lucky us!

Near one of our camps there is a large bowl of glaciated granite slabs, stained with red mineral tones and marked by water flow and seepage lines. Such slabs are not only among the primary visual markers of the Yosemite Sierra, but they are places of incredible diversity if you look closely. The rock varies from flat or sculpted glacial polish to fractured and exfoliated slabs. Wherever there is a crack or a bit of organic material has collected, small plants and hardy trees take root. And the light plays across this terrain in myriad ways. Here the final moments of evening light glance across the granite and bowl and a small tree.

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.

Sierra Fall Color Speculation (Morning Musings 9/14/14)

Posted on 14 September 2014 | 4 comments

Aspen Color, North Lake

Aspen Color, North Lake

For those of us who chase aspen color in the Sierra Nevada every fall, speculating about the potential of the upcoming aspen season is an annual obsession. Will the season start early or late? Will the colors be spectacular or less so? How will the past season’s weather affect it? What are the early signs telling us? When will the peak arrive and when will the show be over?

I’ve been playing this game — with enthusiasm! — for some years now. A few years back I think I finally figured out that I cannot really tell what will happen until it actually happens. As often as not, my “predictions” turn out to be less than perfect and/or immediate conditions (arrival of an early storm, wind, rain, etc.) throw me a curve.  The real game is in being flexible and quick to respond to evolving conditions, and to have enough experience with the subject that you have some intuitions about what to do when you encounter the conditions on the scene.

Early Autumn Snow, Eastern Sierra

Early Autumn Snow, Eastern Sierra

Yet, I still can’t help but look at Sierra conditions here in September and try to extrapolate forward a bit. As I make my guesses — and frankly, guesses is what they are — about the upcoming Sierra aspen season, a few things are on my mind: Read more…

Streetlamp, Bridge, Buildings

Posted on 14 September 2014 | Comment

Street Lamp, Bridge, Buildings

Street Lamp, Bridge, Buildings

Streetlamp, Bridge, Buildings. Chicago, Illinois. August 2, 2014. © Copyright 2014 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Elements of downtown Chicago architecture

And now, a new subject for me: Chicago. I had been there before, but on other business, such as attending conferences in the downtown area, but this August was my first opportunity to photograph there. Midway through our train trip from the San Francisco Bay Area to New York City, we paused in Chicago for a couple of days. I can’t say that I “know” Chicago yet, but I can say that I’m starting to understand and like the place. (Though our impressions may have been skewed more than a bit by being there while the streets were filled with “Lallapaloozers.”)

From this and earlier visits, I’ve come to partly think of Chicago as being like New York, but with more space and light. I think that this is one reason that I found myself so often photographing juxtapositions of Chicago’s tall buildings and the way light and reflections play across them — the larger space between them and the more open light make this possible. This photograph was made from a boat (the “architecture tour,” if you wondered) as it passed beneath of the many bridges across the Chicago River. The basic elements of the photograph – a bridge, a street lamp, and the surfaces of tall buildings — seem to characterize the place for me.

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.

Meadow Fire Smoke Plume – Morning Musings for 9/13/14

Posted on 13 September 2014 | Comment

Meadow Fire Smoke Plume

Meadow Fire Smoke Plume

Meadow Fire Smoke Plume. Yosemite National Park, California. September 7, 2014. © Copyright 2014 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Thick smoke from the September 2014 Yosemite National Park Meadow Fire drifts over the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne, blotting out the afternoon sun.

Today’s “Morning Musing” post will take the form of a second “photo of the day,” but with a bit of back-story about what you are seeing.

Last weekend a wildfire suddenly appeared in a popular area of the Yosemite backcountry along the Merced River drainage above Yosemite Valley, roughly between Half Dome, Clouds Rest, and Mount Starr King. I was not in the area of the fire, but further north in a different backcountry area, where our group of photographers had been camped for several days on a high ridge area. On this morning we did see a small “puff” of smoke coming from over the shoulder of Clouds Rest, but it was no larger than other fires that, as is typical this time of year, were burning in various areas of the backcountry.

Our plan was to pack up camp and follow a more-or-less cross-country route into a canyon and on to a new camp that night. We loaded up and set out, and by the time we were half way to our goal the smoke plume has begun to stretch across the sky above our position, thought it was still quite diluted. However, very soon the winds whipped up to a surprising degree and the smoke suddenly became a lot thicker and began to blot out the sun and drop ash on us. By this time we were in a valley and could no longer see the location of the fire, but it was plainly apparent that this fire was roaring and likely to become a very serious matter.

This photograph has not been color corrected at all. This is, in fact, what the atmosphere in and above the canyon looked like! Fortuitously, later that evening as we sat around in camp, we saw a flash in the sky and heard thunder… and before long light rains arrived and continued into the next afternoon.

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.

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