Aspen Tree in Transition

Posted on 20 October 2014 | Comment

Aspen Tree in Transition

Aspen Tree in Transition

Aspen Tree in Transition. Hope Valley, California. October 9, 2014. © Copyright 2014 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Aspen tree with leaves beginning to change from green to yellow

This fall I think I hit the timing just about perfect for aspen color, as I visited areas between Lake Tahoe in the north and Bishop Creek Canyon to the south. The colors were generally intense in the middle elevations, not completely gone yet at higher elevations, and beginning to come on strong down lower, where the aspens mix with cottonwoods and other foliage. By moving a bit north or south, or to higher/lower elevations, I was able to find just about every stage of the fall aspen color transition, from groves that were still green, though every phase of intermediate color, to bare trees that had already lost their leaves.

I was also reminded, yet again, that the specific spots you go to find Sierra fall color probably don’t matter as much as staying alert, thinking about the conditions, and watching for color wherever you happen to be. Yes, there are a few especially notable places. But it turns out that there are absolutely wonderful trees to photograph almost anywhere you travel at this time of year. This tree is perhaps a case in point. I was, in fact, in one of the prime aspen color areas near Lake Tahoe. However, on this evening, when the sun was dropping behind ridges and the light was softening, I simply happened to pull over at a wide spot in the road near some creek. I got out of my car to look at the trees, which were much like the trees filling the rest of this long valley, and it happened that one of them exposed the skeleton of its branch system against a background of mostly green leaves that were just starting to change. I’m quite certain that it would be nearly impossible for me to find this particular tree again — but why would I? It is just one of the uncountable trees in the range, and everywhere among them there are beauties to be photographed.


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.

Morning, Riverwalk

Posted on 19 October 2014 | Comment

Morning, Riverwalk

Morning, Riverwalk

Morning, Riverwalk. Chicago, Illinois. August 2, 2014. © Copyright 2014 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Two men on the Chicago Riverwalk in the early morning

Let me begin by telling a story on myself. The last time I was in Chicago, which was some years back, I was there for a conference related to my work as a college faculty member. I flew in to town, went straight downtown, and spent three or four days engaged almost entirely in conference stuff at the hotel, mostly eating there with the exception of one dinner out in a place I’m sure I could not find my way back to. It was November, and at one point I thought I would go out for a walk. Silly California boy! I believe that I walked out one hotel doorway and made it as far as the next one before the cold and wind convinced me to think of a different activity. The point of all of this is that I really did not see the city and, in fact, I was so unaware that I managed to get my directions off by about 90 degrees.

This has happened to me elsewhere, most notably in Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite National Park. I normally have a very good sense of direction, but when I arrive at Tuolumne, to this day my world rotates (incorrectly) by 90 degrees. In the case of Chicago, the problem for me was that I got the idea that the Chicago River headed through town in a southerly direction — and, as any Chicagoan knows, that is absurd… it goes east. Perhaps if I had actually gone out and walked the Chicago Riverwalk, like these two guys, on that earlier visit I would not have spent the first day or so of this visit trying to rotate my mental map by 90 degrees!

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.

East Madison Street

Posted on 18 October 2014 | Comment

East Madison Street

East Madison Street

East Madison Street. Chicago, Illinois. August 2, 2014. © Copyright 2014 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Afternoon light on East Madison Street, Chicago

We had been in roughly the Millennium Park area for a good part of this day, wandering around and looking at stuff and visiting a museum, and we were (if I recall correctly) heading back toward our hotel in the late afternoon, planning to perhaps take a break before figuring out where to go for Chicago style pizza. (One goal on this trip was to have both Chicago and New York pizza. After all, pizza research is a solemn duty.)

I’ve noted elsewhere that Chicago’s tendency to combine tall downtown buildings with more open space allows a lot of beautiful light to reach down to ground level and it sometimes permits clearer views up and down streets. As we walked past this intersection, marking the end of East Madison, the late light was coming straight up the street from the west, though slightly hazy and soft atmosphere, striking the sides of buildings and silhouetting people and vehicles on the street. This was light to stop for!

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.

Bare Trees, Wall of Leaves

Posted on 17 October 2014 | Comment

Bare Trees, Wall of Leaves

Bare Trees, Wall of Leaves

Bare Trees, Wall of Leaves. Eastern Sierra Nevada, California. October 10, 2014. © Copyright 2014 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

A row of bare aspen trees stands in front of a grove of colorful aspens

This photograph was almost an afterthought at the end of an evening of shooting up high in an east-side Sierra canyon where many of the trees had lost their leaves, and the rest were at the brilliantly colorful phase that comes right before the leaves fall. When I came up the canyon I took a little gravel side road that passes through another grove of small but interesting trees before heading on up to the end of the road “just because it was there.” This is not an obvious photographic spot, since the trees are not large and because it can be difficult to find the right backgrounds.

There is something special about soft, evening light on fall foliage, and especially on aspens. It can produce a very intense quality of color, and the soft light shines into shadows and lowers contrast. As I moved slowly up this small roadway I could see that there was a band of quite colorful trees along the banks for the creek, and that  between me and this color there was a thinner line of trees that had already lost their leaves. This let the stark trunks and branches of these trees stand out against the wall of color from the trees that still hadn’t lost their leaves.


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.

older posts »



Optimization WordPress Plugins & Solutions by W3 EDGE