Summer Grass, Receding Ridges. Diablo Range, California. August 3, 2013. © Copyright 2013 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.
Late summer dry grass in golden hour light with distant hills receding into the haze
I made this photograph on what we sometimes refer to around here as a “random ride,” on an evening when I wanted to photograph something but didn’t have time or inclination to get to some of the usual spots. I formed a vague plan to head up towards the Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton, above the Santa Clara Valley. I have a long history with Mount Hamilton. Since I was brought up in the Santa Clara Valley (now known to many as “Silicon Valley”), we used to head up this road when the occasional snow fell in the Diablo Range. Today they close the road when there is snow, but back then the authorities were less restrictive, and many families found their way up there to make snow men and have the rare snowball fights. Later, during a long period when I was a very serious bicyclist, I used to regularly do the 60 or so mile round trip from the valley to the summit and back, often as a morning ride. It is literally true to say that I know many of the twists and turns of this road like I know the back of my hand. As I drove up there on this evening I could still anticipate what the road would do a couple of blind turns beyond where I was.
I think I had a general idea of some photographs including oak trees and grass land, perhaps with evening vistas beyond. But as I drove it seemed like the right wasn’t quite right in most of the promising locations, and where the light was good the subjects didn’t appeal so much. But this turned out to be one of those trips on which I wasn’t anxious about whether or not I would get photographs, so I continued on and even explored a bit. In fact, when all ways said and done, I photographed exactly one subject – making several photographs of this bit of grassy ridge with the sunset light behind it on the receding hills.
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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