Category Archives: Photographs: Pacific Northwest

Alpine Meadow, Artist Point

Alpine Meadow, Artist Point
Alpine Meadow, Artist Point

Alpine Meadow, Artist Point. North Cascades National Park, Washington. August 28, 2010. © Copyright 2010 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Alpine meadow and mountains, Artist Point, North Cascades

Back in 2010 my brother Richard, who is a long-time resident of the Pacific Northwest, treated me to a trip up into the Cascades at Artist Point. We got lucky and had a day of largely clear skies, with the only clouds being the beautiful sort that catch the sun and allow beams of light to sweep across the landscape — not the other kind of Pacific Northwest clouds that sock things in and drizzle all day!

As a long time Sierra guy, I’m always amazed at how different things are in the Cascades and other Pacific Northwest mountains. The Sierra are, of course, mostly dry mountains. Yes, we get snow in the winter, runoff in the spring, and a few thunderstorms in the summer, but backpacking is mostly a dry weather thing and we are used to the sound of dry sand and rock beneath our boots. But here in the Cascades there are glaciers and ice caps, and the lush green plants grow right up to the snow line. On this visit we had only enough time to spend an afternoon wandering slowly around the Artist Point area, but I came back with a set of photographs that I like a great deal.


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.

Beach and Rocks, Pacific Ocean

Beach and Rocks, Pacific Ocean
Beach and Rocks, Pacific Ocean

Beach and Rocks, Pacific Ocean. Near Port Oxford, Oregon. August 20, 2013. © Copyright 2013 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

The incoming swell stretches toward that distant horizon beyond a few rocks on an Oregon beach

As we drove south along the Oregon coast in August we passed through Port Oxford. Just below this town the highway briefly curved landward before heading south again, traveling along the edge of a long and wide beach featuring impressive sea stacks and long strings of waves coming in off of the Pacific. I found a spot with a few dark, back-lit rocks to break up the uniformity of the horizontal lines of beach, surf, horizon, and sky, and shot straight toward the sun and its brilliant reflections on the surface of the ocean.

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.

Downtown Storefronts

Downtown Storefronts
Downtown Storefronts

Downtown Storefronts. Seattle, Washington. August 14, 2013. © Copyright 2013 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

A row of downtown bars and restaurants, Seattle, Washington

This is another Seattle photograph, shot quickly in street style while walking around portions of the city and exploring. It is hard for me to put my finger on precisely what it is that appeals to me about subjects like this, but let me make an attempt. My first impression of such a location, especially in the daytime when everything is more clearly seen and fewer people are around, is that a lot of it is simply run down and even drab – weathered bricks, worn and peeling paint, construction that isn’t quite square. This patina of age and use is itself interesting, and somehow a photograph of it (or the act of making a photograph of it) helps me see it for what it is and for what else I might otherwise not see.

On the large scale, there are patterns that appeal to me – and, yes, patterns are part of my way of seeing. The scene is divided into successively smaller and smaller rectangular shapes for the most part, ranging from the largest one formed by the green facade to the very small ones formed by things like the spaces between the bars of a gate. Superimposed on this are things that don’t fit the geometric grid – the car (which also seems a bit out of context with the old buildings), the roughly triangular shapes of umbrellas, and many other odd little bits and pieces. In fact, if you like this sort of thing, seeing those “bits and pieces” might make the photo become a bit more than what it first seems to be: the figure of a red and white chef statue in the window at far right above some sort of bright green carts, the tree bright blue flower pots and a pink watering can on a ledge, the bright colors near the “Il Chiosco” sign, one door that has been varnished rather than painted the same drab colors as everything else, etc.

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.

Shoreline Sea Stacks

Shoreline Sea Stacks
Shoreline Seastacks

Shoreline Sea Stacks. Port Orford, Oregon. August 20, 2013. © Copyright 2013 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Giant shoreline sea stacks along the Oregon Pacific Ocean coastline.

As we traveled south along the Oregon coastline on the Oregon Coast Highway (US 101) we passed through various towns ranging from quite small to middle-sized. Eventually we came to Port Orford, which did not seem to us to be all the exceptional of a place – though apologies to Port Orfordians, who probably know the beauties of the place far better than some Californians quickly passing through! However, there was one interesting feature that immediately caught our attention. As the highway pass through the town it curves to the left to follow the coast. But at the point where the curve went left, a short section of road continued straight ahead to the top of a hill that appeared to overlook the coast, and a giant sign hand-painted on the roadway almost demanded that we leave 101 and see what was there.

Just over the top of this short side road was an open view of the coast to the south, curving inland right below the town to form a shallow bay. Slightly beyond this we could see a set of large sea stacks along the beach… but no picture in this particular light from our position. We continued on along the highway, curving through town and then back towards the south, and soon came to the spot where the sea stacks stood. Despite some tricky light, including wildfire haze and afternoon intense light, we paused to make a few photographs. First, a large group of pelicans surprised us by slowly flying by into the strong headwind and then landing almost directly in front of us at the waterline. Then I put a longer lens on the camera and went looking for an angle that would let me combine near and far towers with a bit of surf along the wild beach.

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.

Strait of Juan de Fuca, Evening

Strait of Juan de Fuca, Evening
Strait of Juan de Fuca, Evening

Strait of Juan de Fuca, Evening. Olympic Peninsula, Washington. August 16, 2013. © Copyright 2013 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Evening light near Hurricane Ridge and over the Strait of Juan de Fuca

After shooting in the lowland rainforest earlier in the day, we planned to head up to Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park in the evening, hoping for some interesting late day light. I’ve been “skunked” (frustrated by poor conditions!) on more than one occasion here, including one notable visit when the clouds reduced visibility to a distance that might have been measured in yards. An earlier web cam check and what we could now see from down below encouraged us to think that we might get something better this time, so into the park and up the road we went.

When we arrived the conditions were not quite stupendous, but they held the promise of becoming better, so we stuck around and photographed. Although it was mostly somewhat hazy and cloudy, every so often the sun would come through an opening in the clouds to the west, and the beams of light would move across the rugged landscape of the Olympic Mountains spread out in front of us – and on one occasion this light crossed through rain showers and produced a momentary rainbow. As things wound down – without there ever having been a real climactic moment of light – I decided to walk over to a low ridge from which there was a view to the north and the Strait of Juan De Fuca, with Canadian territory beyond. Again, the atmosphere was murky, though there were potentially interesting clouds about. I made this photograph near the very end of the day when a bit of filtered though direct light swept across the foreground ridge.

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.

Blue Shirt Pedestrians, Linear Landscape

Blue Shirt Pedestrians, Linear Landscape
Blue Shirt Pedestrians, Linear Landscape

Blue Shirt Pedestrians, Linear Landscape. Seattle, Washington. August 14, 2013. © Copyright 2013 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Two pedestrians in blue shirts walk past architecture emphasizing vertical and horizontal lines

A photograph like this is a bit hard to explain, but I’ll try. At least a little bit. As is often the case, for some reason this structure – a parking lot – caught my attention. I like the texture of concrete when doing city photography, and this landscape of lines seemed a bit striking, and in fact it got me thinking again about the very linear nature of much of the urban environment. Aside from a few things – the green tree, the red card, and the people – essentially everything in this scene can be regarded as being a sum of horizontals and verticals, from the obvious vertical covering of the garage to the wires, to the street lanes and lane lines, to the sidewalk, and the rows of squares on the background building.

It occurs to me from time to time that there is something very unnatural about this, and it might even be a cause of the disconnect from the environment that can occur in such places. But as (pretty much) always, the constructed world is not perfectly linear. But still, to me, the two people walking along the sidewalk, whose blue attire also caught my attention, look very small and very passive relative to the constructed world they inhabit.

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.5

Buttnick Mfg. Co.

Buttnick Mfg. Co.
Buttnick Mfg. Co.

Buttnick Mfg. Co. Seattle, Washington. August 14, 2013. © Copyright 2013 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

A person wearing a backpack walks in front of the Buttnick Mfg. Co. building in Seattle, Washington

OK, I admit that this isn’t perhaps an easy photograph to warm up to and, yes, the guy is way out of focus. As often happens when wandering the streets of some city – or, frankly, with other kinds of photography, too – one thing caught my attention and once I looked I saw other things… and then there was an unexpected accident. Despite rumors to the contrary, sometimes photography works that way. (To reassure some of you, photographs also work the opposite way sometimes – carefully thought out and made in a state of prolonged contemplation.)

As we walked past this corner, for some reason the name “Buttnick Mfg. Co.” caught my attention all by itself. This, and the visual appearance of the sign got me thinking about how the presentation and appearance of commercial entities has changed. Today, if “Buttnick Mfg. Co.” was starting up in this part of Seattle or almost any other relatively large city, there would be plastic signs, a carefully contrived sign designed to present and foster a particular way of viewing the firm, electronic lights, and probably a motto along the lines of, “Innovative Design and Manufacturing for Today’s Buttnick Buyer.” But this sign was probably painted by some local sign-painter and it offers nothing more than the name of the company, which is probably the name of the founder and perhaps someone who actually worked there. But, urban development being what it is, it looks to me like Buttnick is probably no longer to be found, and instead we see a group of smaller shops inside the building. (There now are electronic signs in the window and there is a SALE going on.) About that person in the photograph… while I was planning to include the people on the far side of the street as they walked in front of the building, the out-of-focus, photobombing, Seattle street person was entirely accidental – but somehow appropriate.

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.