Dawn Sky and Marsh. San Joaquin Valley, California. November 24, 2013. © Copyright 2013 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.
Fog-filled dawn sky above a California Central Valley marsh
This is another photograph that sits on the interesting (to me, anyway!) boundary between wildlife/nature and landscape photography. I was here to photograph migratory birds – at least that is what I told anyone who was interested in my goal – but it is often a bit more complex than that. The sources of the complexity range from the question of just what a wildlife photo should/could be, to the relationship between wildlife and landscape in my photography, to the role of opportunism in photography… and the practical matter of what to do when the birds are not where you are!
I began this morning’s photography with some scenes with nearby bird in the foreground water and the sun rising through dense fog in the distance. Then I decided to move along through this area a bit, initially hoping to find cranes and certain other birds along a west-facing section of this wildlife reserve. The birds had their own ideas about where to be and what to do on this morning, and they apparently did not include settling in near or flying directly over my position. But as the early morning fog drifted in and out, it revealed the muted color of the dawn sky so I stopped and made a few more photographs that were (maybe) more about the landscape (and atmosphere and light and, in my mind, sounds) than about the birds themselves. If you look closely, though, you will see a trio of sandhill cranes passing over the marsh and if you look really close you might notice a lot of other smaller birds here and there, too.
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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