A Story in Red Rock

Posted on 28 November 2014 | Comment

A Story in Red Rock

A Story in Red Rock

A Story in Red Rock. Utah. October 23, 2014. © Copyright 2014 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Broken rocks spread across a layer of sandstone in evening light

This is another photograph from my first evening on this trip in this particular part of Utah, from a day when I had met up with friends and traveled out to find a campsite where we would stay for the next few days — our base camp for exploring red rock and canyons and for sharing meals and conversation. After setting up camp and settling in, we headed out for our first evening of photography, and would up in a nearby landscape of sculpted sandstone.

We began shooting mostly together, finding and exploring some obvious and quite impressive subjects — each working on his or her own photographs but staying mostly in a group. Eventually we began to split up and wander off to do our own individual exploration. Later in the evening I ended up in an area of massive sandstone benches and ridges and potholes, and as the dusk came on and the light turned red/burgundy I was above a small sandstone canyon descending toward the sagebrush country below. This is a simple scene, but I like to think about a few secrets that it may reveal. It is easy to see such landscapes as being static, but the fact is that they are always changing, though mostly on a time scale that is much longer than that of our lives. But occasionally there are obvious clues, and here the clearest is the scattering of fractured rock that has failed from the seemingly solid face in the upper part of the scene, a hint about how it came to be that the lower flat surface runs into the upper wall.


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.

Cottonwood Trees, Gulch

Posted on 28 November 2014 | Comment

Cottonwood Trees, Steep Creek

Cottonwood Trees, Steep Creek

Cottonwood Trees, Steep Creek. Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah. October 26, 2014. © Copyright 2014 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Cottonwood trees in full autumn color line a gulch as it passes between sandstone hills

I came upon this beautiful cottonwood-filled valley on a short drive I took out of Boulder, Utah while waiting for my late-afternoon check-in on my first day in a motel after a week of camping. As you can imagine, I was looking forward to this change in accommodations and the chance to get a shower and sleep in a real bed!

My drive took me a short distance out on the Burr Trail, which ends in Boulder. I’ve been over a good portion of this route (which is a road, despite the “trail” in its name) a few times in the past, using it to get to Boulder from a somewhat isolated area of Capitol Reef National Park. My goal on this little drive was a long, narrow sandstone canyon that is just a few miles out of town, but it turned out that the canyon was less interesting in the light I had to work with than this stretch of cottonwoods was. I came upon this site in a spot where the road descends through a sharp set of hairpin turns as it drops toward the valley. Along this section there are turnouts that provide open views into the valley and along its course as it winds into the distance. From this spot the valley was filled with more cottonwoods than I usually see around such a creek — typically they line up along its banks, but here the filled the valley between the red rocks from side to side.


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.

Within the Grove

Posted on 27 November 2014 | Comment

Within the Grove

Within the Grove

Within the Grove. Eastern Sierra Nevada, California. October 11, 2014. © Copyright 2014 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Filtered light inside an eastern Sierra Nevada aspen grove with fall colors

This photograph reminds me that I like to encourage people to find their own special places when they go out looking for photographs or just to look. It is easy — and we all do it — to focus too much on the famous “places you must see,” even though there are places that may be just as beautiful and with which you can create personal relationship that is yours alone. After years of traveling in the Sierra, I have collected many such places — a rock I like to sit on here, a particular little peninsula next to a lake there, a nondescript aspen grove somewhere, a particular view.

This spot could be one of the newest on my list. It is just an aspen grove which, like quite a few in the eastern foothills of the Sierra, grows along the length of a stream dropping down from the mountains and into the eastern foothills. Several times I had looked up that way and noticed several thin lines of color in the fall and wondered what I might find, and this time I spent a little time exploring and found this grove. I’m quite serious when I say that it isn’t any more special in a general way than any other similar grove, but it is now one of “my” groves! Along the spectrum of Sierra Nevada aspens, these trees lean toward being a lot taller and straighter than the average, and the foliage beneath the canopy of aspen leaves is thick and overgrown. At first I thought that I would walk right into the grove, but when I tried I found it heavy going and I settled for a photograph made just inside its perimeter.


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.

Streamside Foliage, Autumn Color

Posted on 27 November 2014 | Comment

Streamside Foliage, Autumn Color

Streamside Foliage, Autumn Color

Streamside Foliage, Autumn Color. Zion National Park, Utah. October 29, 2014. © Copyright 2014 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Colorful autumn foliage along a Utah stream at the base of sandstone cliffs

This photograph includes several things that attract me. For one thing, the subject is visually very complex — and I enjoy the challenge of trying to create a coherent composition from such subjects. For another, it includes several visual elements that I like a lot. One is the juxtaposition of foliage and red rock, which is found so frequently in the Southwest. Another is the state of the fall color transition here — it is at the interesting point where there are still quite a few green leaves, but where the transition is unmistakable. On top of that, the varied foliage includes a wide range of original colors, from bright green (and the autumn hello) of the main trees to the blue-green and dusty colors of the smaller plants at the bottom of the frame.

This little vignette is found along the Virgin River in Zion Canyon, where the river provides water along its course to support a lot of rich vegetation. More specifically, here the river makes a curve at the base of a very tall section of sandstone cliff, a bit of which is seen beyond the trees. The cliff is so high and the canyon so deep that little direct sunlight makes it down to this spot, and instead there tends to be a lot of beautiful soft light.


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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