Category Archives: Photographs: Architecture

Detail, Tower Bridge

Detail, Tower Bridge
Detail, Tower Bridge

Detail, Tower Bridge. London, England. July 3, 2013. © Copyright 2013 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Detail of the Tower Bridge, London and the River Thames

Earlier today we were talking about how it has been too long since we’ve been across the Atlantic — our last trip was back in the summer of 2013. We started in London, spending nearly a full week there, enough time to feel like we were beginning to get past the most obvious things — but not nearly enough time exhaust the possibilities of the place. Making that trip extra special, we managed to meet up with a bunch of family members there, and then continue more or less together as we continued on to Germany for about a another two weeks.

As I like to do in American cities, we wandered a fair amount while we were in London. While I know that planning is very useful when going to a new place and having limited time, I know that I also like to just follow my nose a bit and get out and walk around and see where I end up — in some ways I feel that this may eventually give me a better sense of a place. Not that this location is exactly off the beaten track! In fact, this photograph shows details of one of the best known iconic bridges, with bits of the River Thames visible in the background.


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.

Courtyard Window Reflections

Courtyard Window Reflections
Courtyard Window Reflections

Courtyard Window Reflections. Getty Center, Los Angeles, California. March 28, 2015. © Copyright 2015 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Curving window reflects the courtyard of the Getty Center

This curving wall of tinted windows is a favorite subject of mine at the Getty — I have photographed it several times, in fog and rain, with people in front of it, with people behind, and the structure alone. People often move across the courtyard area in front of it on their way to other places, so I can catch people in motion against this background. In fact, one other series from this visit includes a child jumping and hopping his way across. Frequently people will appear momentarily between the columns leading into the distance at the right, too.

This was a very clear day, so the light is crisp and the reflections are very visible in the curving glass. The color of the glass almost reminds me of the water of a swimming pool, and I wonder if the architects thought about this when they designed this aquarium-like rounded building with its many windows.


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.

Man at Railing

Man at Railing
Man at Railing

Man at Railing. Getty Center, Los Angeles, California. March 28, 2015. © Copyright 2015 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

A man looks over a railing at the Getty Center

This photograph includes a section of the structures facing the central courtyard at the Los Angeles Getty Center, high on a hill above the Los Angeles area. We visited on a sunny day, that the stark light illuminated the geometrical architecture forms — at upper right are curved surfaces lit by direct sun, and to the left are shadowed areas that are lit by the reflections.

The architecture here seems quite complex to me, with the smaller details of square window panes and stone and metal creating the outside surfaces, and the larger forms angling together in all kinds of interesting ways. The lone figure, a Getty security guard taking a break, was the first thing to catch my attention here, but in the end I think that the buildings themselves are the central subject.


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.

Window Shades

Window Shades
Window Shades

Window Shades. Getty Center, Los Angeles, California. March 28, 2015. © Copyright 2015 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

A walkway with window shades, Getty Center

I visit the Getty Center (perhaps once or so each year) as much to photograph the architecture as to see the art. The overall effect of the space, on the large and small levels, is stunning. It sits on top of a ridge with long views over the Los Angeles basin and out to see near Santa Monica. The Center sprawls along the top of the ridge, with many levels to the buildings and with an unusual garden below. The details are also fascinating — among other things, rectangular forms are reflected in almost all aspects of the design, yet there are things that are set off at odd angles from this regularity.

I made this photograph in a small interior area, more or less a sort of hallway and stairway with a walkway crossing in front of a wall of windows that are covered by translucent shades. As I looked at it I thought of it as a sort of cubist subject, and I found the colors (the various transparencies and the strips of muted blue sky beyond) and varying decrees of opacity/transparency very interesting.


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.

Abandoned Umbrella

Abandoned Umbrella
Abandoned Umbrella

Abandoned Umbrella. Getty Center, Los Angeles, California. March 28, 2015. © Copyright 2015 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

An umbrella lies abandoned, Getty Center

Perhaps every year or so I get a chance to visit the Getty Center in Los Angeles. This striking facility is on the top of a ridge that runs along highway 405 as it passes Los Angeles. I first visited quite a few years ago when our oldest son was at UCLA, then later when our daughter was a UCI, and since then on other visits to the area. The collections and exhibits at the center are always worthwhile, and many of the photography exhibits are especially notable.

In addition to the content of the Center, the architecture itself is very interesting and provides a compelling photographic subject for me. If pressed I will admit that I probably go to the Getty as much to see and photograph the place (and people) as I do for the art! The square shapes cover the wall and columns, and are extended into the walkways and elsewhere. The structures seem quite modern in many ways, but the overall effect reminds me a lot of hilltop European castles. (I have a photograph or two from this visit coming up, in which I tried to capture that feeling.) In this photograph I was initially interested in the conjunction of curves and lines and shapes and textures, but I thought that the odd umbrella just sitting there was nice bit of visual dissonance. (In truth, these umbrellas are iconic at the Getty, since visitors can simply borrow them — so you tend to see them all over the place.)


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.

Building, Windows, Blinds

Building, Windows, Blinds
Building, Windows, Blinds

Building, Windows, Blinds. San Jose, California. December 24, 2009. © Copyright 2009 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

An urban building with vertical windows and blinds

I think I’ll stick with the black and white theme for one more day. This is a photograph I made five years ago. I remember stopping at this oddly plain little building on a walk not far from where I live. It was Christmas Eve day, and things were slowing down in anticipation of holiday festivities, so I went out on one of my local “photo walks” in the surrounding neighborhood. I do this from time to time for reasons that range from the desire to practice and tune up my “seeing” to wanting to see my surroundings more clearly — there is nothing like wandering with a camera in hand to encourage me to see things I would otherwise overlook. (One of the first times I did this in the neighborhood I was shocked to notice the upper stories on nearby business buildings that I had walked past for years.)

I think this must be some sort of office building, and perhaps behind these tightly shut blinds there is some sort of personal world that the rest of us cannot see. The outside of the building seems incredibly boring and lacking in any intentional design sense, yet the odd but functional windows start to look very strange when shot close up and without the rest of the building visible. The late afternoon sun was casting shadows from nearby trees to produce the mottled light.


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.

Woman Walking, Brick Building

Woman Walking, Brick Building
Woman Walking, Brick Building

Woman Walking, Brick Building. New York City. August 16, 2014. © Copyright 2014 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

A woman carrying a cup walks past the front of a red and white brick building

I think I made this photograph west of Central Park, but no guarantees. (I could probably figure it out by reviewing the photographs before and after this one, but it doesn’t seem too important. Let me know if you disagree!)

This is representative of one way I shoot urban subjects. I’m pretty certain that what happened here first was that I saw the interesting colors and forms of the tall building, with its red bricks and pure white trim, steps, and neat black fence. I also saw the juxtaposition of the irregular and natural forms of the two trees (and a few other bits of greenery) with the rigid and angular forms of brick and trim. No doubt, at about that point I saw the woman walking up the street — so I framed the photograph and waited for her to enter the frame, timing a quick series of three shots as she passed in front of the building carrying her cup of coffee, an iconic signifier of the new urban resident.


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.