Tree, Fog, Dawn Sky. San Joaquin Valley, California. March 9, 2013. © Copyright 2013 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.
Dawn light on a solitary tree in a foggy pasture under morning clouds, San Joaquin Valley, California
Spring seemed to arrive too soon (for me, anyway) this year in California. I like spring, but I think I like winter more, and I would be fine if spring took its time arriving. However, what started out as a wetter and colder winter than usual here, ended seeming like a very short and mostly mild season as our winter rains more or less stopped in January and February and the hoped-for “March Miracle” of late season rain never came. Instead, as I write this in mid-March, we are experiencing beautiful, sunny weather with temperatures more typical of April than of March.
Against this backdrop I decided to make at least one more trip to some of my favorite San Joaquin Valley migratory bird refuges to photograph geese, cranes, herons, ibises, white pelicans, egrets, and whatever else I could find. Arriving in the Valley very early, in the first dim light I could see that it was a clear morning. I prefer a bit of fog, but dawn light is good light in any case. But as I got closer to the refuge, I was surprised but pleased to see some fog forming over this very wet and marshy area, and before long there was some quite nice fog filling in as the sun began to light the high clouds above. The effects of early morning light in fog can be quite subtle, but a favorite sort of light is that which comes faintly through partially clearing mist, casting a bit of light on features like this tree and parting enough to reveal the sky overhead. Because this light and atmosphere were so appealing – and because it can be darned hard to photograph birds in fog! – I took a break from bird photography and spent a bit of time shooting elements in this foggy 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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