Tag Archives: forest

Tuolumne River, Evening

Tuolumne River, Evening
The Tuolumne River flows through the Yosemite Sierra Nevada high country

Tuolumne River, Evening. Yosemite National Park, California. June 21, 2015. © Copyright 2015 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

The Tuolumne River flows through the Yosemite Sierra Nevada high country

We had one day in the Yosemite area on the summer solstice, and we made as much of the long daylight hours as we could. We started out very early in the morning in Oakhurst, just outside the southwest boundary of the park, and then headed towards Tioga Pass Road. We took that route through the high country to Tuolumne Meadows, and after lunch we crossed Tioga Pass and headed down to Lee Vining for a brief east side visit.

While we were in the Lee Vining area we began to see interesting clouds east of the range, and it looked like lenticular clouds might form before sunset. That is my cue to find a high place with light from the west, so we headed back up to Tuolumne, stopping a few times on the way there, and finally arriving nearly perhaps an hour and a half or more before sunset. As we followed a trail out into the meadow to find foreground for photographs of the Sierra crest and the clouds I looked back to the west across the twisting river, meadows, and forests to see this scene in evening light.


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.

Whalers Cove

Whalers Cove
Whalers Cove

Whalers Cove. Point Lobos, California. March 15, 2015. © Copyright 2015 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Whalers Cove at the Point Lobos State Reserve

People who head straight toward the ocean at Point Lobos, driving west through the park and then south, probably miss this spot completely since it is off to the side and down a hill a bit. It is very popular with divers and recently I’ve seen kayakers working out of the cove. It is also a good place to find various sorts of birds — on more than one occasion I’ve photographed egrets standing on seaweed and hunting for meal.

This time I hiked up the trail that climbs away from the cove and towards the north shore of the park with its cypresses and steep cliffs dropping to the water. From the early part of the climb I could look back over the cove and see the small meadow at its head and the layers of forest and hills beyond as they rise toward the ring of the coastal hills across and beyond the Pacific Coast Highway.


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.

Monterey Cypress, Cliffs

Monterey Cypress, Cliffs
Monterey Cypress, Cliffs

Monterey Cypress, Cliffs. Point Lobos, California. March 15, 2015. © Copyright 2015 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Monterey Cypress trees growing at the edge of a rocky cliff above the Pacific Ocean, Point Lobos

It has been a very busy few weeks, for reasons I won’t explain here in detail. In any case, it was important today for me to head out and make some photographs. I originally had planned to go yesterday, but California’s strange weather wasn’t looking too promising, so I delayed for a day, hoping that the cloudiness that has been around might move further north. I was up early today and on the road, and while there were some clouds it looked like things might be a bit more interesting to the south by the ocean, so I headed towards the upper end of the Big Sur coast. (Usually I like clouds, but some types of clouds make for particularly challenging light.)

I arrived at Point Lobos within a half hour of its opening, which turned out to be critical as the place quickly became busy enough that they closed the entrance gates a few hours later! I started out in the Whalers Cove area and decided that I would walk along the north shore trail since I had in mind some photographs looking back towards this cove from higher ground. The light remained challenging for a while, but them changed to what can be a special sort of light, where high and thing clouds mute the intensity of the light but still give it a clear directional quality. This kind of light also fills the shadows better than more harsh light, and that allowed me to photograph the shady side of this rocky prominence topped with Monterey cypress 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.
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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.

Afternoon Light, Forest and Cliff

Afternoon Light, Forest and Cliff
Afternoon Light, Forest and Cliff

Afternoon Light, Forest and Cliff. Yosemite Valley, California. © Copyright 2015 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Yosemite Valley forest and cliffs in hazy late afternoon light

This past weekend I had time to visit Yosemite Valley for a couple of hours. That doesn’t sound like much time, but it is enough to see a few things and make a few photographs. (We would have had more time, but we were distracted by migratory birds as we crossed the Central Valley, and by the time we arrived in the park it was mid afternoon.) Coming into the Valley we spotted the first evidence of the annual migration of the Horsetail Fall photographers, lined up in a spot along the Merced River a few hours before sunset. (We saw more of them on the way out of the Valley later in the evening.)

For me, photography in the Valley is often about the light, with the quality of the atmosphere being close to the light in importance. Given that there were no clouds I was not too optimistic about the prospects, but when we arrived at a meadow late in the afternoon I saw some beautiful haze that was starting to be backlit by the lowering sun. I found some trees — the group in this photograph and others in a pair of photographs I’ll share later — and I looked for a composition that eliminated the bright sky, that put the sun close to directly behind the trees, and which put some of the valley walls and towers in the frame in order to provide some form and textural relief to the haze. Then it was a matter of lining up the elements of the photograph so that the tallest trees were within the outline of a large tower. Shooting almost straight into the sun (and engaging in interesting gymnastics in order to shield the front element of my lens from flare-producing direct light), I made a few exposures.


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.

Fading Autumn Color

Fading Autumn Color
Fading Autumn Color

Fading Autumn Color. Eastern Sierra Nevada, California. October 11, 1013. © Copyright 2013 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Eastern Sierra aspen trees near Conway Summit transition from full color to bare trunks

As I’ve worked on a project recently, I have been going through virtually almost all of my photographs of Sierra Nevada fall color, and along the way I have rediscovered photographs that I had forgotten or, in some cases, never really looked at seriously before. I know many photographers who have this same experience of wondering why they missed certain images when they made them, and then only “found” them much later when revisiting their archives. (I have some theories about how and why this happens, but I’ll save them for another time.)

There are some bands of aspens running up a narrow valley in this area of the eastern Sierra. I had seen them many times before but either they were not in the right condition, in poor light (their location makes light challenging), or I was unable to stop. On this particular visit I managed to find a place from which to view them, and the trees were at that wonderful stage when some leaves are in peak color but others have fallen, and the beautiful white trunks become 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.
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.

Autumn Snow, Bear Creek Spire

Autumn Snow, Bear Creek Spire
Autumn Snow, Bear Creek Spire

Autumn Snow, Bear Creek Spire. Eastern Sierra Nevada, California. October 6, 2007. © Copyright 2015 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Early season autumn snow below Bear Creek Spire, Eastern Sierra Nevada

This little lake might be familiar to a number of viewers who hike in the eastern Sierra, as it is not too far up a popular trail to other east side access points for backpackers and day hikers. I have been there quite a few times over the years, though rarely with the lake itself as the objective. There is one exception. I recall one pack trip quite a few years ago, when a friend and I had arrived at the trailhead quite late in the day. We wanted to get a head start on the next day’s hike, so we headed out and dusk and got just far enough up the trail to set up a crude camp (I was just using a bivy sack, if I recall correctly) after dark.

The story behind this photograph is a different one. As I often do in October, I headed to the eastern Sierra to photograph that annual fall aspen color show. My plans are usually quite general, and I prefer to sort of follow my hunches as I poke around in various east side locations looking for photographs. I had been working with a client who wanted a photograph of a peak that appears in this photograph, and when I saw the conditions (nice weather and new snow) it occurred to me that I might quickly find something that would work better for my client than the photos I had already proposed. So I drove up to the trailhead (which I often visit anyway), shouldered my camera pack, and headed to this quiet spot where the scene look at lot more like winter than early autumn!


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.

Snow Flurries, Bishop Creek

Snow Flurries, Bishop Creek
Snow Flurries, Bishop Creek

Snow Flurries, Bishop Creek. Sierra Nevada, California. October 4, 2009. © Copyright 2009 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Light autumn snow falls on peaks above aspen groves along the South Fork of Bishop Creek

This is a photograph from a wonderful, short trip into the eastern Sierra about five years ago. I believe that I made two trips to the “east side” that fall to photograph aspens, and on this one (the first of the two) I had a couple of days of winter-like weather with clouds and snow. This could put a damper on photography… unless you share my fascination with “interesting” weather, in which case it seems like that best thing that could happen.

I came back from this trip with some very special photographs, mostly because I ran into conditions that were not quite so typical for Sierra autumn. The most typical Sierra day at this time of year starts cold but then becomes warm and sunny with the beautiful autumn light. I love those days, but I’ve seen enough of them to like some variety, too. And that’s what I got on this trip. On one morning it was so cloudy up high that I decided to drive down out of the range and shoot back up towards in the broken light of a stormy dawn. On this day I headed back up toward the high country and photographed aspen color against a backdrop of mountain peaks disappearing into snow showers.


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.