Dark Hills, Death Valley

Posted on 14 April 2015 | Comment

Dark Hills, Death Valley

Dark Hills, Death Valley

Dark Hills, Death Valley. Death Valley National Park, California. April 1, 2015. © Copyright 2015 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Dark hills contrast with surrounding salt flats and alluvial fans

I know that “dark hills” is not a very poetic description for this landscape… but it does seem, at least, to be accurate! These formations have intrigued me for a few years, and I’ve been surprised to be able to photograph them all alone — despite visiting them regularly, I have never encountered another person there. I’m not sure why, except that there are some better known icons nearby, and perhaps they attract all of the others in the area.

In the past I tried to find out more about the source of the formations and my recollection (which I was unable to re-verify this time) is that they are the result of some kind of ancient tufa-like deposits formed on the bottom of the lake that once filled the basin that is now Death Valley. Their darker color contrasts strikingly with the surrounding terrain, and the material of the mounts has a finely layered quality. This example sits on a small playa where pooling water seems to have left salt deposits behind, though similar forms can also be found in slightly higher terrain nearby. In the evening the low light from the west angles across these mounds and makes their textures and curves a bit more visible.


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.

Man at Railing

Posted on 13 April 2015 | Comment

Man at Railing

Man at Railing

Man at Railing. Getty Center, Los Angeles, California. March 28, 2015. © Copyright 2015 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

A man looks over a railing at the Getty Center

This photograph includes a section of the structures facing the central courtyard at the Los Angeles Getty Center, high on a hill above the Los Angeles area. We visited on a sunny day, that the stark light illuminated the geometrical architecture forms — at upper right are curved surfaces lit by direct sun, and to the left are shadowed areas that are lit by the reflections.

The architecture here seems quite complex to me, with the smaller details of square window panes and stone and metal creating the outside surfaces, and the larger forms angling together in all kinds of interesting ways. The lone figure, a Getty security guard taking a break, was the first thing to catch my attention here, but in the end I think that the buildings themselves are the central subject.


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.

Window Shades

Posted on 12 April 2015 | Comment

Window Shades

Window Shades

Window Shades. Getty Center, Los Angeles, California. March 28, 2015. © Copyright 2015 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

A walkway with window shades, Getty Center

I visit the Getty Center (perhaps once or so each year) as much to photograph the architecture as to see the art. The overall effect of the space, on the large and small levels, is stunning. It sits on top of a ridge with long views over the Los Angeles basin and out to see near Santa Monica. The Center sprawls along the top of the ridge, with many levels to the buildings and with an unusual garden below. The details are also fascinating — among other things, rectangular forms are reflected in almost all aspects of the design, yet there are things that are set off at odd angles from this regularity.

I made this photograph in a small interior area, more or less a sort of hallway and stairway with a walkway crossing in front of a wall of windows that are covered by translucent shades. As I looked at it I thought of it as a sort of cubist subject, and I found the colors (the various transparencies and the strips of muted blue sky beyond) and varying decrees of opacity/transparency very interesting.


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.

Abandoned Umbrella

Posted on 11 April 2015 | Comment

Abandoned Umbrella

Abandoned Umbrella

Abandoned Umbrella. Getty Center, Los Angeles, California. March 28, 2015. © Copyright 2015 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

An umbrella lies abandoned, Getty Center

Perhaps every year or so I get a chance to visit the Getty Center in Los Angeles. This striking facility is on the top of a ridge that runs along highway 405 as it passes Los Angeles. I first visited quite a few years ago when our oldest son was at UCLA, then later when our daughter was a UCI, and since then on other visits to the area. The collections and exhibits at the center are always worthwhile, and many of the photography exhibits are especially notable.

In addition to the content of the Center, the architecture itself is very interesting and provides a compelling photographic subject for me. If pressed I will admit that I probably go to the Getty as much to see and photograph the place (and people) as I do for the art! The square shapes cover the wall and columns, and are extended into the walkways and elsewhere. The structures seem quite modern in many ways, but the overall effect reminds me a lot of hilltop European castles. (I have a photograph or two from this visit coming up, in which I tried to capture that feeling.) In this photograph I was initially interested in the conjunction of curves and lines and shapes and textures, but I thought that the odd umbrella just sitting there was nice bit of visual dissonance. (In truth, these umbrellas are iconic at the Getty, since visitors can simply borrow them — so you tend to see them all over the place.)


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.

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