Category Archives: Photographs: Textures

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.
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.

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.
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.

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.

My Kitchen Window

My Kitchen Window
My Kitchen Window

My Kitchen Window. San Francisco Bay Area, California. March 16, 2013. © Copyright 2013 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

The view through blinds hanging outside my kitchen window.

Yup. My kitchen window. Why, you might wonder, did I make this photograph? I think there might be three reasons.

First, I’ve often said that I believe that I can find something to photograph within a few feet of anyplace I might find myself. A few photographer friends could tell you stories about me shooting from basically one spot for, on occasion, hours. Right now I’m recalling a meeting with a friend in Death Valley. We went to photograph a beautiful canyon area that I had overlooked and which she wanted to show me. We set up to shoot – I was on top of a small rise. As she ran around discovering this and that and the other fascinating thing, I continued to shoot from my original spot, perhaps for as long as an hour. It’s not that I don’t like to move. I can hike as well as the next photographer. But sometimes I can find so much in a small area that I don’t want to move. And I sure didn’t have to move much at all for this shot. I didn’t even have to leave the house!

Second, and speaking of house, there is a bit of a tradition among some photographers of making photographs in their immediately living environment. Here I’m thinking of a post from, if I recall, Cole Weston that I saw recently in which he shared photographs from seemingly mundane places… including his house and maybe even his bedroom. I believe that Huntington Witherill made the initial photographs for many of his beautiful digital manipulations of flowers in a spot in his home. And on and on. So, what the heck, a shot from my home. (Compared to these other photographers, I have to admit that my “home-grown” photographs have a way to go!)

Third, I had a new camera and I was anxious to try it out. The camera is a bit of a departure from the gear I usually use. (Typically I shoot with a full-frame DSLR system.) Because of some situations in which I want to travel and shoot light and fast, I decided to pick up a Fujifilm X-E1 along with a small set of lenses. This is a small mirrorless “rangefinder style” camera with similarly small lenses. (You can read more about the camera and my initial impressions here: “Fujifilm X-E1: From DSLR to Mirrorless. Hint: I like it.”) So this was probably just about the first photograph I made with that camera.

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.

Brick Wall, Pearl District

Brick Wall, Pearl District
Brick Wall, Pearl District

Brick Wall, Pearl District. Portland, Oregon. May 25, 2013. © Copyright 2013 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

A brick wall with green windows and a small garden in the Pearl District of Portland, Oregon

This is another photograph from my recent trip to Portland, Oregon. As car-free (and almost carefree) visitors to the city, we did a lot of walking, wandering more than once a day up and down between portions of the Pearl District and the downtown area where we were staying. Since I was carrying a very small and light camera on this trip (my Fujifilm X-E1) I was able to do a lot of “casual” photography of various things we saw on these walks.

There is quite a variety of buildings in and around the Pearl District, including many brick buildings. (To this California near-native, that seems like a disaster waiting to happen, but I digress…) They range from rather old structures to newer architecture seemingly intended to capture that old Portland semi-industrial/working class look. The subject of this photograph is simply the back wall of a large apartment building that we walked past on a partly cloudy and intermittently showery afternoon.

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.