Bare Trees, Wall of Leaves

Posted on 17 October 2014 | Comment

Bare Trees, Wall of Leaves

Bare Trees, Wall of Leaves

Bare Trees, Wall of Leaves. Eastern Sierra Nevada, California. October 10, 2014. © Copyright 2014 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

A row of bare aspen trees stands in front of a grove of colorful aspens

This photograph was almost an afterthought at the end of an evening of shooting up high in an east-side Sierra canyon where many of the trees had lost their leaves, and the rest were at the brilliantly colorful phase that comes right before the leaves fall. When I came up the canyon I took a little gravel side road that passes through another grove of small but interesting trees before heading on up to the end of the road “just because it was there.” This is not an obvious photographic spot, since the trees are not large and because it can be difficult to find the right backgrounds.

There is something special about soft, evening light on fall foliage, and especially on aspens. It can produce a very intense quality of color, and the soft light shines into shadows and lowers contrast. As I moved slowly up this small roadway I could see that there was a band of quite colorful trees along the banks for the creek, and that  between me and this color there was a thinner line of trees that had already lost their leaves. This let the stark trunks and branches of these trees stand out against the wall of color from the trees that still hadn’t lost their leaves.


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.

2014 Studio Nocturne Artspan Open Studio

Posted on 16 October 2014 | 2 comments

Studio Nocturnes 2014 — Exhibiting at San Francisco Artspan 2014

Studio Nocturnes 2014 — Exhibiting at San Francisco Artspan 2014

Once again this year I will exhibit along with my fellow Studio Nocturne photographers at the 2014 Artspan San Francisco Open Studios.

The photographers of Studio Nocturne specialize in night photography… and a few other subjects. Studio Nocturne is exhibiting at the 2014 ArtSpan San Francisco Open Studios this fall — we’ll be at the historic Fort Mason once again this year, our twelfth year exhibiting at this annual San Francisco event. We look forward to seeing you there! Join us at the Friday November 7 evening reception and/or during our Saturday November 8 or Sunday November 9 hours.

Studio Nocturne Exhibit and Sale
Saturday, November 8 &  Sunday, November 9
11:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Preview and Artist Reception
Friday, November 7
6:30 PM – 9:00 PM
(Reception and Preview information subject to change)

2014 San Francisco Open Studios
Fort Mason Center
Building D, Ground Floor

Follow us on Facebook – www.facebook.com/StudioNocturneSF


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.

Incremental Progress (Morning Musings 10/16/14)

Posted on 16 October 2014 | Comment

Two Rocks, Morning, Racetrack Playa - Black and white photograph of two "moving rocks" on the Racetrack Playa at Death Valley National Park. Morning light with unusual clouds, and the Grandstand in the distance.

Black and white photograph of two “moving rocks” on the Racetrack Playa at Death Valley National Park. Morning light with unusual clouds, and the Grandstand in the distance.

As always, photographic technology continues to advance. That is not news, or at least it shouldn’t be. This has been the case for the entire 175 year (or so) history of the medium, as the methods of recording light and reproducing images have evolved in beneficial ways. It also shouldn’t be news that the most recent changes have involved the adaption of digital technologies to photography — the capture, storage, processing, sharing, and printing of photographs.

This progress is a good thing and, aside from some who prefer to work with old processes, eventually the value of the new technologies becomes clear to most photographers and we accept and adapt to the new and find it advantageous. Almost everyone welcomes the steady pace of refinement and improvement in the technology of photography. However, it seems to me that some imagine that this progress is happens at rates that are simply not possible.

It is common, when some new technology comes out, to hear some folks say that it makes the older gear irrelevant or that it “blows it out of the water,” and that the improvements are of a tremendous magnitude and will change your photography in radical ways. Eventually this is arguably true, but the time frame over which truly radical change happens is much longer than a few years. In reality, most individual “upgrade” changes are incremental. While they are good and valuable, they do not “change photography as we know it” or improve results in radical ways.

Think about it this way. How many times have we heard the next incremental change described in hyperbolic terms like those in the previous paragraph? If the changes really warranted the use of these radical descriptions every year or so, over a period of a few years (much less over a period of decades!) imagine how astonishingly photographs and photography would have changed. But that hasn’t happened. The changes take quite a while to add up to something earth-shaking. Even the change to digital photography — which I would argue is very significant — has taken place over a time frame of decades.

Progress is real, and progress is good. But, when viewed from a longer perspective, it doesn’t happen as fast as we sometimes imagine.

Morning Musings are somewhat irregular posts in which I write about whatever is on my mind at the moment. Connections to photography may be tenuous at times!


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.

Sierra Aspen Groves, Autumn

Posted on 16 October 2014 | Comment

Sierra Aspen Groves, Autumn

Sierra Aspen Groves, Autumn

Sierra Aspen Groves, Autumn. Eastern Sierra Nevada, California. October 12, 2014. © Copyright 2014 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Aspen groves in varying states of autumn color, eastern Sierra Nevada

This photograph was a bit of an unplanned surprise. (The truth is that quite few aspen photographs are just that — partly because I’m always looking around for places I haven’t photographed before, and partly because one never knows what the aspen conditions will like until arrival on the scene.) I had started my morning with a plan that evolved a bit. Up well before sunrise, my initial plan to was to explore an area of east-facing slopes along the edge of the Sierra where I knew that colorful trees would be scattered about. As I drove to what seemed like the obvious starting point, I thought about a very large grove that I had earlier spotted very high up on these slopes… and as I looked that direction I saw a set of headlights up there! That was all the encouragement I needed to find a narrow a steep track that took me way up high on a ridge from which I photographed those trees at dawn.

When I finished shooting there I took a few minutes to finally eat something and then figured that I would try a “sure bet” location nearby. I drove back down the single-track gravel route, got back on pavement, and headed there. Sure enough, there was a lot of brilliant color in this area. As I drove up the road I spotted rows of aspens at the edge of a meadow, still in soft shaded light, but not seeing a photograph there and with my mind on another subject up ahead, I kept going. Before long I was done with that “other subject” and I decided to head toward a third (and non-aspen) subject, so I turned around and headed back the way I came. As I passed this spot again, something about the light and the trees caught my attention again — mainly the soft effect of light reflected into this shaded grove — so I stopped and made a series of photographs that mostly just “show what is” about these trees.


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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