Tag Archives: green

Green and Blue Wall

Green and Blue Wall
Grafitti and poster remnants on a green and blue Brooklyn brick wall.

Green and Blue Wall. New York City. December 21, 2015.© Copyright 2015 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Graffiti and poster remnants on a green and blue Brooklyn brick wall.

We arrived in New York late the day before, in time to check in to lodgings and meet our “kids” (two sons and their fiances) for dinner, but there wasn’t a lot of time to get around and see and photograph. The next morning we met up with our youngest son in the more or less the Williamsburg area, and we wandered about, hitting the waterfront of the East River and then finding lunch.

During any bit of urban wandering I’m almost always on the lookout for photographs. Photographing on the street is an exercise in working quickly and being versatile. In most cases I don’t have a specific subject in mind — the closest to that may be a general idea of looking a buildings or people or water or interiors or… In this case I was in an area with a lot of older construction, and we passed through a few spots that were obviously the hope to lots of posters and graffiti. Oddly, since people are sometimes trying to paint out the tagging, there can be many layers of often new paint, posters in various states of decay, and odds and ends of painted words and images. Here the remnants of a poster partially obscured a hand drawn heart on a wall that appeared to have been painted in two not quite identical shades of blue-green.


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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Orange, Yellow, and Green

Orange, Yellow, and Green
Autumn aspen color along Bishop Creek in the eastern Sierra Nevada

Orange, Yellow, and Green. Eastern Sierra Nevada, California. October 4, 2015. © Copyright 2015 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Autumn aspen color along Bishop Creek in the eastern Sierra Nevada

By the time this photograph appears at my website, the transitory seasonal aspen color show will be mostly a memory. (Or, for many of us who think way in advance, a promise for next year!) With this fall’s release of my book on Sierra fall color (“California’s Fall Color: A Photographer’s Guide of Autumn in the Sierra” — Heyday Books, 2015) I made a point of spending as much time in the Eastern Sierra as possible. I started looking for easy signs of developing autumn color all the way back in early September — and in this unusual, drought-influenced year, I found it. The first notable aspen color appeared in late September, and by the end of the month I saw very good color in some high elevation locations, and I spent a good portion of the next few weeks returning to photograph as it continued to develop.

I made this photograph in early October, typically the beginning of the period of best color — though this year some areas had already lost leaves by then. Aspens grow in a range of different surroundings — these grow in a drier area of sage brush rather than begin interspersed with pines. This group of aspens had achieved more or less peak color, and some nearby trees were losing leaves rapidly. In this photograph the colors are intensified by the quality of the light — I like to photograph these trees in the very early and very late times when they have fallen into shadow, softening the otherwise harsh contrasts of brighter light.


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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Aspen Trees, Near-Peak Color

Aspen Trees, Near-Peak Color
A small group of aspens against a rocky slope are in full autumn color

Aspen Trees, Near-Peak Color. Eastern Sierra Nevada, California. October 4, 2015. © Copyright 2015 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

A small group of aspens against a rocky slope are in full autumn color

Having visited this area a week earlier I was expecting a certain level of fall color in specific places along the shoreline of this eastern Sierra Nevada lake when I arrived here again early on October. I was also expecting to see quite a few other photographers, given that this is an accessible and well-known location. I was not disappointed on either count. As I arrived I found brilliant colors along the small dirt roadway, and I also found photographers everywhere — in the parking lots, along the shoreline of the lake, stopped in the middle of the road, wandering in grassy areas. There were even a few workshop groups collected together in promising spots.

I kept going, passing through the area of the most intense color. My idea was to find a location from which I could get a line back across the valley towards the trees, placing them against a backdrop of the gray texture of granite hillsides and cliffs, and contrasting that with the brilliant color of the leaves, made even more saturated by the cloudy, wet conditions. I found my spot, wandered up onto a slight rise with a clear view of the trees, and used a long lens to isolate them.


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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Aspen Grove, Yellow and Green

Aspen Grove, Yellow and Green
The transition from green to yellow foliage in an eastern Sierra Nevada aspen grove

Aspen Grove, Yellow and Green. Eastern Sierra Nevada, California. October 9, 2015. © Copyright 2015 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

The transition from green to yellow foliage in an eastern Sierra Nevada aspen grove

Aspen color is a more complex and fascinating thing than what if first seems — and that first impression is quite a strong one to begin with. The first thing most of us see when we learn about aspens is simply “brilliant color,” enhanced by the tree’s juxtaposition with other spectacular landscape elements and amplified when the trees are seen in vast and colorful groves. In fact, there are few things more astonishing than a huge grove of aspens at peak fall color, stretching up and across a sub-alpine landscape on a fall day.

Once you catch the aspen bug — and have seen quite a few of those vast and colorful groves — subtler things start to become interesting. There are too many elements to fully describe them all in this little post, but they include the patterns produced by the white trunks, almost regardless of leaf color. The color shadings are more varied than we first see — from the first lime-green hints of upcoming color change, through the spectrum of colors encompassing yellow and gold and red and orange and brown, and including the subtler effects of brown and black leaves late in the season. When I saw this vignette (within a much larger grove) my firs thought was perhaps “not quite at peak,” but I think that the combination of a few leaves just arriving at near-peak color against the background of leaves yet to change is pretty interesting, too, especially when the scene is cut through by those stark white trunks.


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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Autumn Aspens, Eastern Sierra Gully

Autumn Aspens, Eastern Sierra Gully
A “river” of aspen trees in autumn colors snakes its way up an eastern Sierra Nevada gully

Autumn Aspens, Eastern Sierra Gully. Sierra Nevada, California. September 26, 2015. © Copyright 2015 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

A “river” of aspen trees in autumn colors snakes its way up an eastern Sierra Nevada gully

I believe that I shared this photograph earlier in a different context — rather than a photo-of-the-day post, it was used to illustrate one of my reports on my Sierra Nevada Fall Color page. I made this photograph at an iconic eastern Sierra location in late September, which is a week or so earlier than I would typically expect to see such color in this place. This has been a strange year, the fourth in a series of drought years, and possibly the worst. The effect of Sierra Nevada vegetation is more apparent as we go into the fall, and there have been apparent effects on aspens. First, some of them changed color noticeably early this year, as much as a week or two earlier than what has been typical. Second, some trees seem to have been stressed to the point that they are almost foregoing the brilliant color stage and instead going almost directly from green to losing their leaves — and some groves were already completed bare before September ended. On the other hand, where the trees were perhaps a bit less stressed the color change seems to have come on a more typical schedule, with quite a few low elevation trees still green as of a few days ago. You can see almost all of this conditions in this photograph — trees changing colors early, trees that lost their leaves completely, and some that are still green.

This particular spot is intriguing, and quite a few people show up to photograph here — not just for the “river of aspens” in the photograph but also for some of the surrounding alpine scenery and for other accessible examples of aspen color. I’ve photographed here for quite a few years, so I often forego the chance to re-photograph some of the familiar subjects, but this time I found a slightly different location from which to make this photograph and I wanted to capture the unusual conditions. There were several things that appealed to me about this scene on this day. Obviously, the colorful trees are an attraction at any time, but the bare trees in the middle, between the upper orange trees and the lower yellow/green trees, were an unusual sight. The curve of the grove, as it passes around the hill on the right with its coniferous trees, seemed to enhance the character of the aspen’s s-curve as it descends the gully and transitions from orange to white to yellow and green.


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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Aspen Trees, Shoreline

Aspen Trees, Shoreline
Colorful autumn aspen trees along the rocky shoreline of a subalpine Sierra Nevada lake

Aspen Trees, Shoreline. Sierra Nevada, California. September 26, 2015. © Copyright 2015 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Colorful autumn aspen trees along the rocky shoreline of a subalpine Sierra Nevada lake

The Sierra Nevada autumn color season seemed to start earlier than usual this year. The question of when it would start has been on the minds of many of us who chase the aspen and other color each fall, especially given the effects of California’s fourth year of drought. We wondered (and still wonder) how many trees would die, how early the color would arrive, how good it would be, and much more. The picture isn’t yet fully clear, but I think that I can perhaps make three generalizations. First, the color did arrive early — I made this photograph during the last week of September, and such color typically arrives in this location perhaps a full week later. Second, some trees have clearly been stressed by the drought — in places trees that would usually be developing colorful leaves have instead simply dropped their leaves early. Third, in places where the water situation isn’t quite as dire there are still a lot of very green trees, and they will possibly prolong the color season well into October.

When I visited this spot I already had a long familiarity with this colorful group of trees growing along the shoreline of this subalpine lake. Ironically, it was in this drought year, when I arrived at an atypically early point in the season, that I found what may be the best colors I’ve seen on them. In the Sierra the predominant autumn aspen leaf color is a sort of golden-yellow. However, there are other colors ranging from orange through read and even to some deep almost red-brown colors. In some ways, those are the “prize” colors that we look for. And this little strip of trees has those colors in abundance!


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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Bargains of Chinatown

Bargains of Chinatown
Night photograph of a closed Chinatown shop, San Francisco

Bargains of Chinatown. San Francisco, California. September 5, 2015. © Copyright 2015 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Night photograph of a closed Chinatown shop, San Francisco

In early September I again joined a group of folks who like to photograph San Francisco urban and street subjects after dark. Most of the group met before sunset, did a bit of street photography, joined for dinner at a place along the edge of Chinatown, and then headed out for a couple of hours of photographing in the urban nightscape. Once again we passed through Chinatown — hard to resist when we were already there! — and on down into areas closer to Market Street.

Late in the evening it was time for me to head back to my car, so I said good-bye to the rest of the group and headed back the way I had come, walking alone this time. It was now much later, and this area pretty much shuts down — surprisingly so for a Saturday night in The City. But this meant that the earlier crowds were gone and the scene was a lot quieter and slower. When I passed this corner earlier the shop was open and there were quite a few people around, but now the shutters were closed and the green light washed over the urban landscape of sidewalks and steps leading up toward a dark alley. After years of doing night photography the “old way” — tripod and long exposures — I’m still amazed that I can wander out and shoot stuff like this using a small handheld camera these days.


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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All media © Copyright G Dan Mitchell and others as indicated. Any use requires advance permission from G Dan Mitchell.