Category Archives: Photographers

Macro Photographer, Death Valley

Macro Photographer, Death Valley
Photographer Patty Emerson Mitchell at work photographing the small things in Death Valley

Macro Photographer, Death Valley. Death Valley National Park, California. March 29, 2016. © Copyright 2016 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Photographer Patricia Emerson Mitchell at work photographing the small things in Death Valley

This is perhaps the typical photographic pose for my wife, Patty Emerson Mitchell, when out photographing — down on the ground, intently photographing some small thing that I probably wouldn’t have even noticed. Her speciality is in “seeing” flowers, often not as literal objective depictions of these things but as vehicles for exploring color and line and texture and shape and curve. A flower is a wonderful thing, but sometimes it can be many other things, too. On this morning we had stopped near a section of the Death Valley playa where there is a bit of water, and I had wandered off to photograph mountains and sky and the playa. She walked down toward the playa, photographed that stuff a little bit and then headed back toward the car as I continued to work.

Eventually the sun was high enough and I and had photographed here long enough that it was time to head back myself, too. I figured that she might be waiting in the car, but then I remembered, “No, she will be crouched down in the gravel, lens an inch or two from something interesting that I probably stepped over, making photographs.” I had photographed in Death Valley for quite a few years, not unaware that there were flowers, but not paying them all that much attention. On the first trip there that she took with me, for the first time I saw — or, more accurately, was shown — that there are small flowers and plants almost everywhere you look, even on the apparently rocky surface of a dry playa or even under a light snowfall.


G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer and visual opportunist. His book, “California’s Fall Color: A Photographer’s Guide to Autumn in the Sierra” is available from Heyday Books and Amazon.
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All media © Copyright G Dan Mitchell and others as indicated. Any use requires advance permission from G Dan Mitchell.

Rock, Water, Trees — A Photographic Folio

Rock, Water, Trees — A Photographic Folio
Rock, Water, Trees — A Photographic Folio

Eight of my photographs will be part of “8 by 10 —The Folio Show” at Stellar Gallery. In association with the show I will produce a limited edition of 12 folios containing the 9″ x 12″ prints from the show. The photographs from “Rock, Water, Trees” focus on these three primary elements of the Sierra Nevada landscape.

"8 by 10" — The Folio Show
“8 by 10” — The Folio Show

8 by 10 – The Folio Show, June 13th through July 12th 2015
Gala Reception on Saturday, June 20th
Eight works by ten extraordinary photographers.
Stellar Gallery, Gallery Row, Oakhurst, California

Jonathan Bock
Jerry Bosworth
Cathy McCrery-Cordle
Michael J Costa
Franka M Gabler
G Dan Mitchell
Steve Montalto
William Neill
David Hoffman
Nancy Robbins

Each artist will present a series of eight images sharing a common subject, theme, or approach.

Works will be presented in a standardized format, matted and framed at 12 x 16 inches. Whatever happens within the rectangle is anyone’s guess!

Works will be presented in boxed folios, available as complete sets with special pricing, or individually.

Pick the Right Friends… (Morning Musings 9/29/14)

G Dan Mitchell Photographing in the Sierra Nevada
G Dan Mitchell Photographing in the Sierra Nevada

If you are ever in the wilderness and you want someone to take a photograph of you, you could hand your smartphone to the nearest person and hope for the best. However, I have a few suggestions (slightly tongue-in-cheek) that might improve the odds:

  1. Arrange to be in the company of one of the best landscape photographers working today. (Yeah, that’s you, Charlie Cramer.)
  2. Make a photograph of him at work and hope that this inspires him to photograph you doing the same thing.
  3. Be sure to place yourself so that dramatic golden hour light hits you in partial profile.
  4. Be sure to position yourself against an appropriate background.
  5. Gaze attentively and thoughtfully into the distance. ;-)

Bonus hint: Be sure to level your tripod first, or your photographer friends may never let you live it down. ;-)

Here’s a photograph of Charlie at work, too

Photographer Charles Cramer
Photographer Charles Cramer

In all seriousness, when you are out shooting, do photograph your fellow photographers. Each of us needs photographs of ourselves, and a photograph by a friend (or of a friend) is a special thing.

Thanks, Charlie!

Morning Musings are somewhat irregular posts in which I write about whatever is on my mind at the moment.


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.

Morning Musings: Secret Lives of Landscape Photographers (9/12/14)

Secret (Banjo) Lives of Landscape Photographers
Secret (Banjo) Lives of Landscape Photographers

Secret (Banjo) Lives of Landscape Photographers. Sierra Nevada, California. September 5, 2014. © Copyright 2014 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Landscape photographers relaxing with a little midday banjo music. (Scot Miller, Charles Cramer, Annette Bottaro-Walklet, Mike Osborne, Karl Kroeber, G Dan Mitchell)

I know the romantic notions about the daily lives of landscape photographers: days full of stunning golden hour light, incalculable beauties everywhere at every moment, the sublime life, rainbows, unicorns, etc. But the truth is more complex. Up before dawn and out into the cold without breakfast, shooting for hours until the light turns “blah,” then a long, boring midday period before the beautiful light returns hours later, then photographing into the frigid darkness.

It is often a struggle to find something useful to do in the backcountry during those midday hours. There are meals to eat, tents to tidy, and naps to take, but the hours are still long. We think we’ve found a solution. There’s nothing like a few hours of backcountry banjo ensemble music to make the time pass more quickly. Here the group nears the conclusion of the Adagietto movement of Mahler’s Symphony #5.

So, the next time you are in the Sierra Nevada backcountry and you pass a group of heavily laden photographers with tripods, folding chairs, and banjo cases on their backs, stop and say “hi.” ;-)

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.

“Philip Hyde Books” – Q.T. Luong

Q.T. Luong has shared an insightful and well-written tribute to photographer Philip Hyde: Philip Hyde Books.

Philip Hyde has been described as one of the most important members of the mid-to-late twentieth-century generation of American landscape photographers – in Luong’s article he is described as being a member of a trinity that includes Ansel Adams and Eliot Porter. Of the three, Hyde is the least known – perhaps not so much because his work wasn’t seen but, rather, because it was often seen in the service of other things, mostly environmental causes. His son, David Leland Hyde, who carries on his father’s legacy, has said that his father may have regarded the value his photographs had in the campaign to keep two dams out of Grand Canyon National Park to be his greatest success – not a bad legacy, I’d say!

Hyde’s work was featured in the early Sierra Club “coffee table books” on environmental and wilderness subjects. Today, even as role of actual books fades and online imagery (in some ways, unfortunately) increases, we still take these sorts of books for granted, and we perhaps forget just how important they were. How many of use had our first profound experience with the power of photographs through these books? I know that I and many others who began doing photography during the latter half of the 1900s certainly did. In his article, Luong acknowledges that he formed much of is own orientation to photography before he knew about Hyde, but he also acknowledges an affinity he feels for Hyde’s work. This is no accident. The influence of Hyde’s way of seeing the natural world has, I am certain, affected many photographers (and others) who are unaware of the source of this influence – precisely because the effect of his work and of the books through which it was shared was so widespread and pervasive.

I know that I saw Hyde’s work when I was much younger. I worked in a book store for some years and managed to purchase just about any Sierra Club book that we had on the shelves. But I’m afraid that I didn’t connect what I saw to Hyde himself at that time, though the power of the photographs certainly affected me. When I first photographed in the Sierra and elsewhere in California, it was these images (along with those of Adams and Porter and Weston and others) that I held in mind as a model of what I wanted my photographs to do.

A few years ago I stopped at the Mono Lake visitor center and wandered into a side room where there is a small (and, unfortunately, somewhat neglected) gallery of photographs.  Among the images in this gallery are several of Hyde’s photographs. As I looked at them, I “saw” them for the first time and recognized a source of the way of seeing that is pervasive in the work of so many who photograph the natural world. (Needless to say, I now visit that little gallery almost every time I’m near Mono Lake.)

‘G Dan Mitchell Featured Photographer’ Interview at Aperture Academy

I would like to thank Aperture Academy for making me the subject of their June “Featured Photographer” interview. (Thanks are also due to photographer Brian Rueb for setting up and conducting the interview.) As some of you know, I’m rarely at a loss for words… so the interview is long – but you might enjoy reading a few things about me that I probably have not mentioned here at the blog.

While you are there, take a look in the sidebar to see the list of previous interview subjects. I’m honored to be on a long list that includes the following photographers: Bret Edge,  Alex ModyColby BrownBrian RuebRichard BernabeGuy TalQT LuongStephen W. OachsJoshua HolkoArt WolfeDylan FoxRod ThomasIan PlantSteve SierenMiles MorganJay & Varina PatelJon CornforthPaul MarcelliniNeal PritchardRyan DyarFloris van BreugelElleene “Ellie” StoneDavid CobbSean BagshawAdam Attoun, and Jesse Estes. You could probably spend half a day reading all of these interviews!

G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer 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.

Arthur Tress, De Young Museum

Arthur Tress, De Young Museum - Arthur Tress discusses his photographs with a group of photographers at his exhibit at the De Young Museum, San Francisco.
Arthur Tress discusses his photographs with a group of photographers at his exhibit at the De Young Museum, San Francisco.

Arthur Tress, De Young Museum. San Francisco, California. March 9, 2012. © Copyright 2012 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Arthur Tress discusses his photographs with a group of photographers at his exhibit at the De Young Museum, San Francisco.

Back in early March, Adobe invited a number of San Francisco Bay Area photographers to meet with photographer Arthur Tress at his show at the De Young Museum, “San Francisco 1964.” (Thanks, Adobe!) After we assembled in the lobby and had a moment or two to speak to some of Adobe folks, including some working on the just-released new version of Lightroom, we adjourned to the gallery. In this photograph, the group listens to Tress (barely visible at the far side of the taller) as he walks through the gallery and talks about his work.

Tress and a photography curator introduced us to the show and shared some back-story and perspectives on the work it includes. The photographs are all black and white images shot in medium format during a period when Tress first came to the west coast in 1964, a year when a lot of interesting stuff was happening in The City – including the first US concerts by the Beatles, the “Goldwater” Republican convention, civil rights demonstrations, and more. Tress’s photographs are interesting on several levels: as a record of aspects of the period that we might not realize we have lost (especially to this photographer who was a child living in the Bay Area at that time), as a record of actual events, and as an often-witty commentary on much of what he observed.

G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer 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.