Category Archives: Photographs: Photographers

Photographer, Death Valley

Photographer, Death Valley
Photographer Patricia Emerson Mitchell at work in Death Valley National Park

Photographer, Death Valley. Death Valley National Park, California. March 30, 2016. © Copyright 2016 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Photographer Patricia Emerson Mitchell at work in Death Valley National Park

Patricia Emerson Mitchell at work in the desert landscape of Death Valley National Park in morning light. Our morning here started much earlier, well before sunrise, and we walked out across the playa and around the side of dunes before sunrise. We arrived at the dunes just as the first light arrived, hitting the mountains to our west and then working its way down to the valley floor and across to us. Landscape photography might seem like a rather leisurely pursuit — after all, mountains don’t move much! — but at these times of marginal light things can happen very quickly.

We continued photographing after sunrise, enjoying the chance to explore the nearly endless subjects among the forms and colors and textures of the dunes. Eventually the sun would rise high enough to diminish the beauty of the light and it would be time to leave. It was perhaps approaching that time when I stopped atop a low dune and saw Patty photographing across the landscape, with her long shadow extending in front of her camera and the distant mountains of the Panamint Range rising in beyond.


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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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.

Photographer Louis Mendes

Photographer Louis Mendes
Photographer Louis Mendes rides a historic New York subway car

Photographer Louis Mendes. New York City. December 27, 2015. © Copyright 2016 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Photographer Louis Mendes rides a historic New York subway car

The timing of our December 2015 visit to New York City coincided with a special event on the New York Subway system — a day when historic subway trains run along one Manhattan route. Our sons had told us about this before, and we all met up at the south end of the line to catch the first train. It is made up of a variety of cars — some from just before the vintage of the current trains and others from much further in the past. It is a big event, and by the time the second run began there were big crowds. (One fun thing was watching the looks of the faces of folks at stations who didn’t know about this… as ancient subway trains rolled in and stopped to take on passengers.)

As I walked through one of the cars there was a big group of photographers, many holding vintage film cameras, some rigged up to work with modern electronic flash units. This fellow immediately caught my eye, and for a bunch of reasons. Many years ago my father had a camera almost exactly like his, and I thought it was the coolest thing back then. I also was taken by the contrast between his rig, with his giant camera and multiple flash units, and what I use to photograph in circumstance these days… a very small mirrorless system that works so well in low light than I never use flash. And I was pretty sure I recognized him, and thought that I had read about him somewhere. It was too crowded and noisy to talk, but I later figured out that he is street photographer Louis Mendes, who is well-known for photographing with this eclectic equipment in Manhattan. (I later ran into him again in front of the B&H store, and I recently read an interview in which he said that is his “third favorite” location for photographing.)


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.

Photographer, Wetlands

Photographer, Wetlands
Water reflects clouds above photographer David Hoffman as he works from a levee in San Joaquin Valley wetlands.

Photographer, Wetlands. San Joaquin Valley, California. December 6, 2015. © Copyright 2015 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Water reflects clouds above photographer David Hoffman as he works from a levee in San Joaquin Valley wetlands.

Passing through California’s Great Central Valley by car, you could be forgiven for thinking that there isn’t much there besides fast food, gas stations, freeway, and other stuff alongside the road. Get off the freeway, get out of the car, and slow down a bit, especially during the colder half of the year, and you may find a very different place. This little post is not the place to share the whole story, but for me the place is partly defined by its agricultural roots, partly by the sense that it is located between the coast ranges and the great Sierra Nevada, and partly by the sense I often get there of space and immense sky.

We had spent the morning photographing migratory birds and the somewhat hazy landscape. We broke for lunch in a nearby town and then returned for more photography in the mid afternoon. While we were at lunch the conditions changed — the light fog dissipated and high clouds from a Pacific weather front drifted across the sky. As we headed out toward a spot where we hoped to find birds for evening photography we paused along the levee and photographed the sky, its reflection in the wetlands pond, and the spare winter landscape. My friend and photographer David Hoffman is photographing the same pond from the far bank.


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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Photographer Scot Miller, Yosemite Backcountry

Photographer Scot Miller, Yosemite Backcountry
Photographer Scot Miller at work on a ridge in the backcountry of Yosemite National Park

Photographer Scot Miller, Yosemite Backcountry. Yosemite National Park, California. September 14, 2015. © Copyright 2015 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Photographer Scot Miller at work on a ridge in the backcountry of Yosemite National Park

I have been fortunate to get to know photographer Scot Miller over the past few years. I write “photographer,” but a more complete accounting would include videographer, author, and much more. I met Scot through my association with a group of photographers who have been photographing in the Yosemite backcountry for the past 15 years or so — sometimes referred to as the “First Light” photographers in recognition of their beautiful book, First Light: Five Photographers Explore Yosemite’s Wilderness(The others are Charles Cramer, Karl Kroeber, Mike Osborne, and Keith Walklet.)

This past September three of us (Scot, Charlie, and myself) spent a bit more than a week base-camped at a backcountry Yosemite National Park lake making photographs. By staying in one location for so long we become acquainted with the location in ways that would not be possible in the normal backpacking mode, in which one tends to move from place to place daily. Instead we have the opportunity to let the character of the place sink in, to wander slowly, to return to spots we saw earlier, and to experience a range of conditions — which on this trip included everything from Sierra sun, though wildfire smoke, to a couple of days of rain. One morning, without planning to do so, Scot and I ran into one another high on this ridge above our lake.


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.

Photographer Doug Kaye

Photographer Doug Kaye
Photographer Doug Kaye prowling a San Francisco alley in late afternoon light

Photographer Doug Kaye. San Francisco, California. September 5, 2015. © Copyright 2015 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Photographer Doug Kaye prowling a San Francisco alley in late afternoon light

Back in early September I joined up with a group of fellow photographers to explore areas of downtown San Francisco in late afternoon light, followed by dinner, and then a return to the streets to photograph at night. Among the group was photographer Doug Kaye, here seen walking into the light along a narrow San Francisco street, a street lined with a bit of Dr. Seuss architecture with wildly dissonant angles from shadows, fire escape leaders, perspective convergence, and a crazily tilting lamp-post.

Later on this evening we headed back out after dark to photograph areas between roughly upper Chinatown and the Union Square vicinity. Night street photography is rapidly becoming a bit of a passion. Last year on a trip to Manhattan I realized that my little mirrorless camera performs well enough at high ISOs that I can effectively do handheld photography in the urban night environment — and this was a revelation!


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.

Photographer, Long Valley, Dawn

Photographer, Long Valley, Dawn
Photographer Patricia Emerson Mitchell working the dawn light near a small lake in Long Valley

Photographer, Long Valley, Dawn. East of the Sierra, California. October 10 2015. © Copyright 2015 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Photographer Patricia Emerson Mitchell working the dawn light near a small lake in Long Valley

On about my third week of aspen photography this fall I was accompanied back to the Sierra by my wife and fellow photographer, Patricia Emerson Mitchell. There are all sorts of advantages for me when she comes along — motel (instead of tent or back of car), real food (instead of things heated over a camp stove), and more… ;-) By this point in the aspen season I was ready for something that wasn’t aspen, so on this morning we headed east rather than west into the Sierra, traveling out across Long Valley with a plan of going even further east toward the White Mountains near the town of Benton.

We started in near darkness and arrived at a familiar spot out in the Valley before the sun rose. We parked and headed out to our destination, arriving a few minutes before the light, at which point we went to work rapidly — the photographic opportunities evolve rapidly as the first light arrives. Here she sets up close to the shoreline of the lack, photographing across the water toward mountains to our north as the first light rakes across sagebrush and the nearby hills.


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.
Blog | About | Flickr | Twitter | FacebookGoogle+ | 500px.com | LinkedIn | Email


All media © Copyright G Dan Mitchell and others as indicated. Any use requires advance permission from G Dan Mitchell.