Category Archives: Photographs: Textures

Through the Scrim

Through the Scrim
Benches and a balcony, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Through the Scrim. San Francisco, California. May 6, 2016. © Copyright 2016 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Benches and a balcony, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

There is a small thread in my photograph of the interior spaces of buildings that looks through gauzy, diffused curtains, blinds, and scrims toward the world outside. For example, I have several in his line that I made at the Getty Museum in Southern California, and some things photographed in museums in New York that go in a similar direction. I made this photograph at the new SFMOMA museum in San Francisco during a members’ preview before the official opening last week.

I love the newly expanded and remodeled museum. One writer commented on the way that the new facility opens to the City. (The former building, as good as it was, was mostly closed off from San Francisco, with few places where the interior space opened to views of the surrounding area.) Now the new “back side” of the museum opens straight out over and into the urban environment, and there is quite a bit to see there — and the design creates a stronger link to this city. In this photograph, which was initially “about” the lines of the buildings in the upper part of the frame, the shapes and tones of the two foreground benches are beginning to interest me more.


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.

A Door

A Door
Etched glass door to outdoor light

A Door. Mission Viejo, California. April 2, 2016. © Copyright 2016 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Etched glass door and outdoor light

This is either really interesting (somewhat interesting?) or a really great illustration of what can make photographers so annoying! With a camera in my hand, I start to see differently, and things that would otherwise often escape my notice start to catch my attention and intrigue me, and they sometimes become photographs. At almost any time the visual impulse may kick in and I’ll see something that demands to be photographed. This was one of those times.

We were visiting our daughter and son-in-law in Southern California, after our landscape and nature photography trek to Death Valley. Enjoying a few lazy days after working the desert, we were sitting around at their home doing nothing in particular that I can remember — when I noticed that the colors of objects behind this door and outside were being reflected and refracted in such a way that the etched surface of the glass was producing intense colors. The glass actually has no color — everything seen here is either the color of something behind the glass or a refraction of some sort.


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.

Stone Steps

Stone Steps
Stone steps in front of a San Francisco building

Stone Steps. San Francisco, California. May 29, 2015. © Copyright 2015 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Stone steps in front of a San Francisco building

I sometimes wonder how it is that I enjoy such different photographic subject. Photographing natural subjects seems so different from photographing the constructed world of the city. In some ways, shooting in the urban landscape exercises different parts of my visual system than shooting in the natural world, and it encourages me to photograph in ways I might not try much in my landscape photograph. To some extent I always regard photography as a kind of hunting, and I’m on the prowl for things that are visually interesting. Those are available in abundance in the city, especially when it comes to interesting geometries and wild colors. In the city I virtually always work on foot and without a tripod, quickly spotting and photographing subjects and then moving on. The quickness of the work fine tunes my ability to see.

There was no particular plan that took me here this time — I was following a relatively random route across The City, dictated by whims, which direction had the green light, and whatever seemed interesting. Starting at the CalTrain station, I worked my way along the Embarcadero and then heading up Market before cutting north and following a wandering route through Chinatown (studiously avoiding Grant), though part of North Beach and then nearly to the touristy Fisherman’s Wharf area. I have walked past and photographed this building before, and I may have even photographed the steps, though in a very different way.


G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer and visual opportunist. 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.

Illuminated Wall Panel

Illuminated Wall Panel
Illuminated Wall Panel

Illuminated Wall Panel. New York City. December 24, 2013. © Copyright 2014 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

The patterns of an illuminated and woven wall in a New York City Chinese restaurant

We had arrived in New York earlier this afternoon, taking the subway in to Manhattan from Kennedy to get to our hotel on Canal Street. The plan was to get settled there – where we would stay for the next week – and then meet up with family and friends and walk to the Chinatown district for dinner. Christmas Eve, New York City, meeting friends and family, Chinese food – what could be better?

We found the restaurant and some of our party were already there. In a city like New York I almost never go without a camera and, yes, I took one to dinner with me on this evening. Most of the photographs are of people in our group – and I won’t likely post those here. But as we sat down, across the table was a very interesting wall – wide panels of some material that looked like very thin wood were woven together and lit from behind. I thought that the pattern might make an interesting photograph, so I made a single exposure… and went back to paying attention to the party!

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.

Paint on Metal Wall

Paint on Metal Wall
Paint on Metal Wall

Paint on Metal Wall. Brooklyn, New York. December 27, 2013. © Copyright 2014 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Colorful patches of spray paint on a metal wall, Brooklyn, New York

While wandering around in the DUMBO area of Brooklyn, between a walk in one direction on the Brooklyn Bridge and a walk back in the other direction on the Manhattan Bridge, we walked up some streets under the flyover at the Brooklyn end of the Manhattan Bridge. This is not what you might think of as a “special” area, being beneath a bridge and containing at least some of the expected forms of urban decay. Surprisingly though there were some interesting things to see here – nice light on this day and some urban/street subjects.

As we walked up one narrow street we passed, as I recall it, some storage yards and similar that were fenced off from the roadway and sidewalks. I think this was part of a section of metal fencing along the sidewalk. I remember looking at this very bizarre pattern of colorful paint and wondering how it got there. There were no signs on the wall at this point, but it looked like someone must have spray-painted some objects in front of the wall, and done so more than once and with a wild variety of colors – blue, hot pink, fluorescent green, several shades of hello, orange, black, and more. This accidental art seems to be the result of the creation of something else that was nowhere to be found.

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.

Metal Shingles and Electrical Wire

Metal Shingles and Electrical Wire
Metal Shingles and Electrical Wire

Metal Shingles and Electrical Wire. Bodie, California. October 13, 2013. © Copyright 2013 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Weathered metal shingles and electrical wire on the wall of an abandoned building in the historic Bodie, California ghost town

I’ve visited Bodie a number of times, and I find the history of the place fascinating – from its mining roots up to its gradual death in the 20th Century. That said, and despite the obvious wealth of potential subjects, I’ve had a hard time warming up to it as a photographic subject. It is difficult to get there at the times of day when the light is most interesting, due to the limited hours the state park is open. And the midday light can be very harsh. In addition, it is an increasingly popular tourist attraction, which adds an additional challenge to the photography – unless you are there to photograph the people.

The times when I’ve enjoyed photographing there have almost all been those with “interesting” weather – perhaps some building afternoon thunderstorms, light snow, or possibly rain. Bodie was on our “maybe” list for shooting subjects on this trip – but when we saw clouds and snow along the eastern Sierra on this day we decided to head out there and see if this would add some interest. Once you are in Bodie, certain subjects seem to come to mind – photographing the many old derelict buildings, the overall landscape of the town, the surrounding landscape, the mining equipment and structures. I first focused on the old buildings, but then began to look a bit more at some of the smaller elements, such as this section of a rusted metal shingled wall with a bit of old electrical wire dangling from its side.

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.

Brick Wall, London

Brick Wall, London
Brick Wall, London

Brick Wall, London. London, England. August 6, 2013. © Copyright 2013 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

A painted and weathered brick wall beneath a London overpass

I have only a general recollection of where I made this photograph. I think it was on the south side of the Thames, probably somewhere beyond the Millennium Bridge and in an area of older narrow streets where we walked both to kill some time before an appointment and to wander and see what we could see.

There is, obviously, nothing all that exotic about this wall. In fact, I’ve likely photographed similar subjects in the SF Bay Area. I think several things caused me to stop and shoot it. First, to be honest, I was in a shooting mode – in other words I was shooting quickly and shooting a lot of frames. But beyond that, I was intrigued by the lights, muted by the narrow street and the fact – again, if I recall correctly – that this was shot near the edge of an underpass of some sort. Bricks often intrigue me, but here the layers of paint applied to the bricks, which really shouldn’t be painted, probably covers something that we are not supposed to see. The larger underlying area of black paint contrasts with the Halloween orange that must have been added later. But now new stuff has already been added to the wall on top of the old cover-up job.

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.