Fallen Tree, Lake Shore Autumn Grasses. Yosemite National Park, California. September 12, 2015. © Copyright 2015 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.
An old fallen tree and lakeshore autumn grasses at a Sierra Nevada lake.
During a week at this backcountry lake and the surrounding area I had plenty of time to wander about, work in varied conditions, and see beyond the obvious first impressions. After a few long stays in such places I have come to be familiar with a certain cycle. I arrive with a mixture of “how will I ever manage to find enough here for a week of work?” and “once I slow down I know there will be plenty to see.” After a day of settling in it begins to feel like there will be plenty to photograph, but that there is no real urgency to the work. I tend to wander, looking at whatever happens to catch my attention and not really working much from a plan. At some point near the middle of the stay there comes a time when I do a count of subjects remaining to photograph and number of mornings/evenings remaining… and I realize that I have to formulate a plan! And then, invariably, on the final day or two I realize that even with a week to work there will be subjects that I won’t get to.
I photographed this scene close to the midway point on the trip — when there still seemed to be plenty of time and just before I felt the need to begin planning more carefully. This is a wonderful time on such a trip, when there are opportunities to engage in “aimless” wandering — though there is very much an aim to that aimlessness! This subject is one that I could easily overlook early on during a trip or during the end-of-trip attention to specific remaining subjects. The skeletal gray of the fallen tree contrasts wonderfully with the rich coloration of the early fall meadow around the edges of this sub-alpine lake.
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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