Tag Archives: Mountain

Hollywood

Hollywood
The Hollywood sign and antennas

Hollywood. Los Angeles, California. November 28, 2015. © Copyright 2015 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

The Hollywood sign and antennas

Yes. That sign. I suppose that everyone (probably) needs a photograph of the thing and, believe it or not, this is my first. There I was. There the sign was. The light was attractive. I photographed it. ;-)

During a four-day visit to Southern California we ended up making a drive up north to central Los Angeles to visit a museum, and since I had never been to the Griffith Observatory before — really! — we decided to correct that. In the late afternoon we headed to Griffith Park with, or so it seemed, about half of the population of the Los Angeles basin. We eventually caught a shuttle and soon found ourselves among the crowd at the observatory. Crowds aside, it is quite a place… and there, off to the right, was the famous sign. As something of an iconophobe, I have to admit that I did not realize that it would be visible from here!


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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September Rain

September Rain
September rain falls on a Yosemite backcountry lake

September Rain. Yosemite National Park, California. September 14, 2015. © Copyright 2015 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

September rain falls on a Yosemite backcountry lake

Autumn in the Sierra is time of wonderful transitions — it is my favorite time of year to be there. For the most part the weather is still beautiful, with warm days and pleasantly chilly evenings and early mornings. The light is special — it is hard to put my finger on the precise quality, but somehow it feels warmer and softer than in the summer. Meadows turn golden brown and many plants take on their autumn colors. It feels like everything is slowing.

There can also be storms. These are not the brief afternoon thunderstorms of summer. They are the first harbingers of winter — the large Pacific weather fronts that begin to push in and which will eventually bring winter snow. We had such a storm — though it was a gentle one — on our visit, and it rained off and on for the final two days of our stay. I made this photograph along the shoreline of “our” lake, with fall colors in the foreground and a passing shower in front of the distant peak.


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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Seepage Stains

Seepage Stains, Granite
Water seepage stains mark a wall of Cathedral Range granite, Yosemite Naitonal Park

Seepage Stains. Yosemite National Park, California. September 15, 2015. © Copyright 2015 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Water seepage stains mark a wall of Cathedral Range granite, Yosemite National Park

During a week-long stay at a backcountry Yosemite lake my partners and I had plenty of time to explore our surroundings. A day in such a place is a joy, but we had a string of such days, with conditions ranging from Sierra blue sky, through wildfire smoke, to an early seasons autumn storm that dropped rain on us for a couple of days.

Being in one location for so long provides the opportunity to really get to know the place. After a day or so getting to know the main, iconic features, continuing exploration beings to reveal things that we miss at first. Across the valley from our camp was a long and low rock wall, at the base of steeply sloping granite walls and holding somewhat level basin. Not surprisingly, the evidence of water flowing over this wall was obvious, from the lush plant life to the  beautiful water stain patterns.


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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Seepage Stains, Cathedral Range Granite

Seepage Stains, Cathedral Range Granite
Water seepage stains the surface of a Cathedral Range granite face, Yosemite National Park

Seepage Stains, Cathedral Range Granite. Yosemite National Park, California. September 11, 2015. © Copyright 2015 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Water seepage stains the surface of a Cathedral Range granite face, Yosemite National Park

During our week camped at a Yosemite back-country lake in September we had plenty of time to become intimately aware of the surrounding landscape, to explore its features, and to return to some of them more than once. One photographer who wasn’t with us this time but who has been a fixture on these trips in the past (Hi, Mike!) and shared some general information about a particular feature that intrigued him — and as a result the rest of us also became intrigued by it. The description of the location was a bit vague, but not so vague that a person who knows the area well would be unable to find it. (Think of directions like, “Near some granite to the south of a lake and west of another lake.”) So, once on the scene, this area was one that caught our focus.

Up from where we were camped, through some trees, and near the base of an incline, there is an odd section of cliff. In the sort of spot where you might expect everything to have been ground away by ancient glaciers there is a section of cliff that is hundreds of feet long and perhaps no ore than thirty feet high. A basin lies above it, and it seems that water finds many places to seem over and through these rocks, staining them in all sorts of diverse and amazing ways. This photograph is one of several close up studies I did of small sections of this face, where solid, blocky granite is cut through by cracks and water stains are everywhere.


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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Light on Rocks, Tuolumne River

Light on Rocks, Tuolumne River
Early evening light shines on granite slabs along the Tuolumne River as afternoon clouds dissipate behind nearby peaks

Light on Rocks, Tuolumne River. Yosemite National Park, California. July 12, 2015. © Copyright 2015 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Early evening light shines on granite slabs along the Tuolumne River as afternoon clouds dissipate behind nearby peaks

As I post it in November, this photograph takes me back to a wonderful Sierra trip last summer. I spent a few days in July camped at Tuolumne Meadows, doing a bit of hiking and a lot of photography. Each morning and evening I was out with the camera, in the meadows or somewhere else along Tioga Road. Although it was the fourth summer of California drought in the Sierra — a drought that did serious damage to the Sierra environment — on these July days it was almost possible to not think about that. There had been rain and it was the green time of year in the high country.

One evening I went out, this time by vehicle, to look for subjects. I had only a vague idea of some general things to photograph back along Tioga Pass Road, so I was easily distracted by anything that happened to catch my attention. Before I even left the Meadows I caught sight of some trees that were lit in an interesting way, so I turned around, drove back, and pulled out along the road. There were other cars there already and I hoped my sudden arrival didn’t annoy anyone, but I quickly saw a pair of photography friends at one of the vehicles. After exchanging greetings we decided to hear across the meadow together. By the time we got to the other side yet another couple of photography friends showed up! Mind you, none of this was planned. We all teamed up and spent a beautiful evening among friends making photographs along the Tuolumne.


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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Young Lake, Mount Conness

Young Lake, Mount Conness
Cloud shadows race across the landscape on a summer day near the Sierra crest below Mount Conness

Young Lake, Mount Conness. Yosemite National Park. September 11, 2007. © Copyright 2015 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Cloud shadows race across the landscape on a summer day near the Sierra crest below Mount Conness

This is an older photograph, made eight years ago back in 2007 on a late-season solo backpack trip into the Yosemite back-country. A week or so after the Labor Day holiday, the crowds almost disappear from the park’s high country, and everything seems to sort of slow down as the summer comes to and end and the inevitable signs of impending autumn remind us that summer is over and winter is not that far away. I think that this can be the most beautiful time of year in the Sierra, especially on a day with beautiful, warm autumn-like light, golden brown meadows, blue sky, comfortable temperatures, solitude, and perhaps a few passing clouds.

There is a story about how I found myself in this high spot overlooking this lake and the mountains beyond. That morning I had been poking around near by bivy sack camp when I saw someone napping in the lakeside meadow. It turned out to be a backcountry ranger. I made some wise-guy remark (intended entirely in jest, and he took it that way) about the challenges of the ranger’s life, and we got to talking. For him, this late season period was a time to slow down a bit and enjoy his own solitude. As we talked he pointed up towards a rocky saddle above the lake and pointed out what, in retrospect, should have been obvious to me — there was a well-used cross-country route through the saddle. So I decide to depart the lake via this alternative route, and when I reached the top of the climb and looked back I saw this spectacular Sierra panorama.


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.
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.