Tag Archives: light

Weathered Cliff, Evening Light

Weathered Cliff, Evening Light
Early evening light on the face of a rugged and weathered sandstone cliff, Capitol Reef National Park

Weathered Cliff, Evening Light. Capitol Reef National Park, Utah. October 22, 2014. © Copyright 2014 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Early evening light on the face of a rugged and weathered sandstone cliff, Capitol Reef National Park

Recently I have been thinking about where we find subjects for photographs and about the fact that they are everywhere — I could say that you don’t always have to seek out particularly “special” places, or I might instead say that if you look closely enough almost any place can be special in some way. I do understand the interest in creating photographs of recognizable subjects and perhaps even the challenge of trying to make such photographs stand out in some way. But for me it is far more interesting to use the camera as a means of focusing more closely on what I can find wherever I am, and then trying to clear away obstacles to seeing these subjects in my own way.

Late in the day we had stopped along a section of roadway in Capitol Reef National Park. We knew, of course, that red rock sandstone cliffs and autumn trees were there, but most of all we stopped because the light was so fascinating. We simply walked along the road and looked, and almost everywhere we looked we found something that seemed like it might be worthy of a photograph. There was so much to see in this small area that as fast and furiously as we photographed, we felt like the light was passing too quickly. The subject of this photograph is a rough and weathered by of sandstone cliff that I happened to notice as I looked up from another subject I had been photographing.


G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer and visual opportunist. Blog | About | Flickr | Twitter | FacebookGoogle+ | 500px.com | LinkedIn | Email


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Redrock Country, Near Fruita

Redrock Country, Near Fruita
Cliffs and eroded towers near Fruita, Capitol Reef National Park

Redrock Country, Near Fruita. Capitol Reef National Park, Utah. October 20, 2014. © Copyright 2014 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Cliffs and eroded towers near Fruita, Capitol Reef National Park

I’m a sucker for juxtapositions of mountains and cliffs, and sunlit and shadowed surfaces. (In fact, “juxtaposition” is a word I think about a lot when making photographs.) This part of the world provides these juxtapositions with a vengeance. Everywhere in the red rock country of the Southwest there are sandstone walls, lined up, building one on top of the other, standing in front of and behind each other, layered with eroded rock and soil, standing above valleys and beyond lower ridges.

We had only a brief time to photograph on this first afternoon in Capitol Reef National Park. I had arrived in the middle of the afternoon and then busied myself with setting up a tent and a few other camp chores, plus catching up on the news with my friend Dave. By the time all of these important things had been taken care of the sun was rapidly dropping toward the horizon, so we quickly headed to a nearby area to see what sort of late-day light we could find. Literally within minutes of leaving our campground (which is just to the right of the shadowed trees visible in the lower part of the photograph) we came upon this intense and saturated late-day light, with shadows starting to stretch across the valley and the low foreground ridges.


G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer and visual opportunist. Blog | About | Flickr | Twitter | FacebookGoogle+ | 500px.com | LinkedIn | Email


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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


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Lamp and Wire

Lamp and Wire
An electric wire and a rusty lamp attached to a weathered wall

Lamp and Wire. San Francisco, California. May 29, 2015. © Copyright 2015 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

An electric wire and a rusty lamp attached to a weathered wall

Here is another “poking around in alleys” photograph from San Francisco. I have been walking along this section of the Embarcadero with a camera for a number of years now. The San Francisco waterfront has always been a place of change, but these days things seem to be accelerating. Real estate in The City is becoming increasingly precious and increasingly costly, and there is a continuous transition from inexpensive work, living, and warehouse space to much more expensive and trendy uses, especially in waterfront and other special locations. The changes are closing in on the Embarcadero from both ends and even the middle — from the tourist areas of Pier 39 through the Ferry Building to the bustling area around AT&T Park and on into China Basin.

More and more of the oddball little forgotten places are discovered and eventually transformed. This little alley leads to a set of abandoned railroad tracks leading out onto one of the old piers. Some kind of business seems to have moved in, but the rough walls, worn paint, and functional construction remain. This bit of wood siding, with a rusty lamp and a funky bit of exterior wiring is subtly colored with fading paint, rust and wear from the foggy environment, and bit of blue coloration from being in shade.


G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer and visual opportunist. Blog | About | Flickr | Twitter | FacebookGoogle+ | 500px.com | LinkedIn | Email


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Lamp, Narrow Street

Lamp, Narrow Street
A lamp, old buildings, and a narrow street, Salzburg, Austria

Lamp, Narrow Street. Salzburg, Austria. July 17, 2013. © Copyright 2013 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

A lamp, old buildings, and a narrow street, Salzburg, Austria

With this photograph I’m back to that theme of the lamps on the walls of Salzburg, Austria. As I mentioned in an earlier post, once I noticed them I began to see them everywhere, always attached to the exterior walls of buildings and always with the same lamp shape, the same curving stem, and the same two bars to brace it.

This one is actually in part of the Salzburg castle, if I recall correctly. It was getting to be late in the afternoon and the angle of the sun was becoming lower, creating more shadows with their blue-toned light. In the photograph one wall is still lit but the sun, and the foreground wall picks up a bit of the reflected glow of sunlight on a wall behind my camera position. Given that the place was busy with tourists, I had to be patient and wait for a moment when the scene was clear.


G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer and visual opportunist. Blog | About | Flickr | Twitter | FacebookGoogle+ | 500px.com | LinkedIn | Email


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Lamp, Shadow

Lamp, Shadow
A lamp casts a shadow across a textured wall, Salzburg, Austria

Lamp, Shadow. Salzburg, Austria. July 17, 2013. © Copyright 2013 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

A lamp casts a shadow across a textured wall, Salzburg, Austria

This is another take on the ubiquitous Salzburg lamps found attached to the walls of many buildings. In the afternoon the light passes right across the textured surface of this wall, producing shadow that is much longer than the lamp itself.

I don’t know what the actual story is regarding these lamps, but once I recognized them I started seeing them all over the place around Salzburg, attached to the walls of various buildings  and braced by a pair of curving metal pieces. In many places their locations seemed almost haphazard to me.


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 or others where indicated. Any use requires advance permission from G Dan Mitchell.

Woman with Umbrella, Salzburg Street

Woman with Umbrella, Salzburg Street
A Salzburg, Austria street scene including a woman with an umbrella

Woman with Umbrella, Salzburg Street. Salzburg, Austria. July 17, 2013. © Copyright 2013 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

A Salzburg, Austria street scene including a woman with an umbrella

This is one of those photographs that you could see in any number of ways, I think. It is a narrow street in Salzburg, Austria, not far from the main square and the Salzburg Cathedral and perhaps right in front of the building that is described as the birthplace of Mozart. (Somehow the juxtaposition of a shopping district with that place seems just a bit jarring.) You could regard it as an almost random scene from this street, though I think there is a bit more going on.

One of the things I like about street photography is working quickly and spontaneously, reacting quickly to people, events, and juxtapositions that may last only for a brief moment. If I recall correctly, I perhaps began simply by thinking “there is a shot here somewhere, with all these people on this narrow street.” Then things began to coalesce a bit when I noticed the bright backlight streaming almost directly down the street and stretching long shadows toward me. Then I saw the woman with the dark umbrella — and who can resist a photograph of umbrellas!? As she walked past I quickly made a brief series of photographs, trying to instantly place her and her shadow in some kind of compositional relationship with people and objects in the scene. From this series, this one has her standing slightly apart from others and with her shadow stretching toward the lower part of the frame, and a similar shadow from another woman almost parallels it. The people at front right were in shadow (yes, some work in post makes them more visible) but I felt like they provided some balance to the brightness on the left side of the frame and, to me at least, there is something a bit odd and interesting about their intense gaze at something behind me. Looking closer at the people in the scene — closer than I could consciously look when I pressed the shutter release — I find the dark figure on the right margin interesting, and as the people stretch into the distance several of them seem to have stories to tell, too.


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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