G Dan Mitchell Photography http://www.gdanmitchell.com Daily photographs, news, observations, and ideas about photography Sat, 22 Nov 2014 22:00:44 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 G Dan Mitchell Photography http://www.gdanmitchell.com/images/Dan-at-Shuksan_VertCrop144Wide.jpghttp://www.gdanmitchell.com Daily photographs, news, observations, and ideas about photography Trees and Redrock — Four Photographshttp://www.gdanmitchell.com/2014/11/22/trees-and-redrock-four-photographs http://www.gdanmitchell.com/2014/11/22/trees-and-redrock-four-photographs#comments Sat, 22 Nov 2014 22:00:44 +0000 http://www.gdanmitchell.com/?p=30372 This is another multi-photograph post — in this one I share four photographs from the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument that feature trees in various back-country landscapes ranging from the canyons and rock formations to one otherwise perhaps un-notable stop near a campsite where I stayed.

Autumn Cottonwood, Sandstone Canyon

Autumn Cottonwood, Sandstone Canyon

Autumn Cottonwood, Sandstone Canyon. Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah. October 24, 2014. © Copyright 2014 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Colorful autumn foliage on a cottonwood tree next to a creek at the bottom of a deep sandstone canyon

This stout cottonwood tree grows in the wash at the bottom of this deep canyon, at the base of huge sandstone walls that tower above and wrap around curves in the canyon’s path. I had stopped here to photograph a different tree — it is among those shared in this group — and after finishing with that tree I looked over here to see this one standing against the worn and curving rock shapes at the base of the canyon walls.

Cottonwood Tree, Canyon Walls

Cottonwood Tree, Canyon Walls

Cottonwood Tree, Canyon Walls. Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah. October 24, 2014. © Copyright 2014 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Fractured and sandstone canyon walls arch above a cottonwood tree with fall foliage

This is one of two photographs of this tree that I like. (The other is a in portrait orientation, and may give a better sense of the trees size and the relative scale of the huge sandstone canyon wall.) The tree grows in the bottom of the wash and right up against the canyon walls, with several arch shapes in the sandstone creating a sort of frame for it.

Oak and Rock

Oak and Rock

Oak and Rock. Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah. October 25, 2014. © Copyright 2014 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

A solitary oak tree grows from a crack in Utah sandstone

This photograph comes with a bit of a personal story. In the morning we (a group of six photographers) had departed our camp on foot to hike down a nearby wash and drop into a deeper canyon. Although the morning began well, with a pleasant walk down the wash, followed by some exploration as we tried to find a good way to drop into the deeper canyon, I suddenly developed a knee problem — I decided to remain behind as the group went on. I walked back to camp, making photographs along the way, and then drove to some other places along our gravel road looking for other subjects. In the late afternoon I returned to camp, though no one else had yet returned. So I decided to do a bit of exploring near camp, and I ended up at the base of a sandstone face as the sun dipped behind mountains to the west — and I photographed this tree in the low light before heading back to camp.

Cottonwood Snag, Red Rock

Cottonwood Snag, Red Rock

Cottonwood Snag, Red Rock. Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah. October 23, 2014. © Copyright 2014 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

A cottonwood snag in red rock country

On our first night together as a group in a back-country area of Utah we set up camp and then headed out to photograph something as the evening approached. We drove, ending up at a spot where large sandstone formations are backed by an even larger area of smooth sandstone surfaces, interrupted by potholes and other features. At one point we were in one of those locations where the number of obvious photographic subjects was limited — basically, there was a beautiful pothole with a true and there was this old snag. With six photographers, interesting questions arise. Do we all shoot the same subject? If one person shoots it first, is it OK for the next to photograph from the same angle? How could we each take this common subject and do something different with it? I initially resolved to not shoot this snag, but a bit later I came back and gave in to temptation! ;-)


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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