Tag Archives: north america

Merced River, Branches, El Capitan

Merced River Reflections
Merced River Reflections

Merced River Reflections. Yosemite Valley, California. November 30, 2005. © Copyright 2005 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Branches in the still water of the Merced River with floating autumn leaves and the reflection of El Capitan, Yosemite Valley.

This photograph is almost a bit of an optical trick. I’ll let you look for a second and figure it out…

… Does it make sense now? The foreground is composed of some intertwining dead branches just above the surface of a very still section of the quiet, late autumn Merced River in Yosemite Valley. The leaves floating on and just beneath the surface of the water give it away. Because there are so many branches, their dark reflections seem, to me at least, to almost merge with the shapes of the actual branches, creating a complex pattern. And, reflected in the surface of the water and appearing as a backdrop to these elements, is the sunlit face of El Capitan.

I would love to tell a great story about making this photograph… but I don’t remember making it! I discovered it only recently while reviewing all of my old raw files, and all I can say for sure is that I made it on one of my annual late October trips to The Valley to photograph the fall colors. For those who follow the technical stuff, I made this photograph with some pretty low-level gear back at a time when I was experimenting with my first DSLR. The camera was the very humble (but better than some think, at least for this sort of thing!) Canon Digital Rebel XT, an early 8 MP body. Even more humble was the lens, the not so swell EFS 17-85mm Canon lens.

(Note: This was originally posted on September 21, 2011. I’m moving this photograph back up on the home page today as this is a new revision of the original photograph — the date of the revision is December 26, 2014)


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.

Parking Structure

Parking Structure
Parking Structure

Parking Structure. New York City. August 14, 2010. © Copyright 2014 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Parking structure and urban scene near the Highline Park in New York City

When in New York City… visit the Highline Park, as we did on this 2010 summer visit. For those who may not know, the Highline Park is a novel New York location, a park high above the streets that occupies the right of way of an old elevated railway. It is widely regarded as one of the most innovative public spaces in this city, and it really is a remarkable place.

It is also a great place to do photography. There are plenty of people subjects there, and there is all of the other stuff that is worth shooting in New York, plus the elevated perspective provides a lot of views that are different from those seen from street level. We’ve all seen this urban parking structures, which stack cars up several deep in order to make more efficient use of limited space. But we don’t often see them from above, where the metal framing suggests planes that aren’t visible from below but which connect in interesting ways with the angled lines and planes of the other nearby buildings.


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.

The Lake, Central Park

The Lake, Central Park
The Lake, Central Park

The Lake, Central Park. Manhattan, New York. August 14, 2010. © Copyright 2010 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Summer boaters on The Lake, Central Park, Manhattan

After watching a friend take on the task of posting a continuous string of black and white photographs during the holiday season this year, I have posted more monochrome photographs than usual, with a number of them coming from a backlog of older work that sits in the raw file archives. This has provided a bit of a necessary nudge to go back and revisit some of those older photographs. I haven’t taken a very systematic approach to this nostalgic review of the older work, instead almost randomly dropping in on the files from different years and subjects. A recent look at some older Sierra Nevada photographs took me back to 2010, and it wasn’t a long trip from there to a collection of photographs from a summer 2010 visit to New York City.

I think that 2010 was the first time I visited New York City in August. New Yorkers are perhaps rolling their eyes, knowing all about August weather there, but I was innocent. Now I know. (And, strange as it seems, I actually chose to go back this past August! I’m starting to get used to it and to perhaps even embrace the heat and humidity.) The Central Park location of this photograph is probably fairly obvious — we wandered through portions of the park and ended up near The Lake, where park visitors rowed slowly and serenely within sight of Manhattan’s urban buildings.


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.

Telescope Peak

Telescope Peak
Telescope Peak

Telescope Peak. Death Valley National Park, California. April 1, 2014. © Copyright 2014 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Telescope Peak, the highest point in Death Valley National Park, in the distance beyond the rugged terrain of upper Titanothere Canyon in the Amargosa Range

This one has been sitting in my queue for months now, and it is finally time to send it out with the other photographs! I made the photograph back in early April, while spending a few days in Death Valley exploring a lot of higher elevation area in the mountains on either side of the Valley itself. At one point during this visit, we ended up spending nearly an entire day high up in the Panamint range, at times doing something very unusual — photographing Death Valley wildflowers during a snowstorm!

The distant snow-covered peak in the photograph is Telescope Peak, at over 11,000′ of elevation the highest point in the Panamint range and in Death Valley National Park. While we often think of Death Valley’s reputation for heat, this peak is often covered with snow during the colder times of the year. The location from which I made this photograph is high in the mountains on the other, east side of the Valley, a very arid and rugged region that presents a different appearance than the much lower areas of the Valley itself. Here there is a landscape of dry and rugged mountains and valleys, often receding one behind the other into the distance. I stopped at this spot, where I have photographed before, and was captivated by the conduction of three peak shapes — the nearly peak at upper right, the distant summit of Telegraph Peak, and the peak-like form of the clouds above.

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.

Rhyolite, Amargosa Valley, Telescope Peak

Rhyolite, Amargosa Valley, Telescope Peak
Rhyolite, Amargosa Valley, Telescope Peak

Rhyolite, Amargosa Valley, Telescope Peak. Near Death Valley National Park. April 1, 2014. © Copyright 2014 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Telescope Peak, the Amargosa Mountains, and the Amargosa Valley seen beyond the ghost town of Rhyolite Nevada

I first visited the fabled ghost town of Rhyolite, Nevada perhaps a decade ago. I lies outside of Death Valley National Park, not too far from Beatty, Nevada. The place has existed in a state of mostly natural decay in the decades since it was abandoned. The story is that it was once a very successful and busy mining town, but as happens to virtually all such places, the mines played out and the town died. Not a lot is left at this point, though there are a few very interesting structures. Their size gives evidence of what the town must have been: a railroad station, a crumbling bank building, the remains of a large schoolhouse, and more.

When I first visited Rhyolite the place was pretty much what it was, and you could go just about anywhere you wanted to go. Within a few years fencing began to appear around some of the more dangerous structures—tall ruins of stone walls that are eventually going to fall. As time passed more and more fences were erected, and today many of the old buildings are off-limits. In a way this disappoints me, but given the increasing number of visitors and the increasingly fragile state of the town and its structures, I’m will to accept these limitations as a way to slow the eventual decay of the place. I’ve photographed at various times of day and in a range of conditions, but I still like dawn the best here. When the conditions are right, the sun comes up over a low ridge to the east and its light strikes the old bank building and other structures in the town just after it reaches the Amargosa Range and the summit of distant Telescope Peak, the highest point in Death Valley National Park.

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.

Clearing Storm, Panamint Range

Clearing Storm, Panamint Range
Clearing Storm, Panamint Range

Clearing Storm, Panamint Range. Death Valley National Park, California. April 2, 2014. © Copyright 2014 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

A clearing snow storm in the Panamint Mountains above Wildrose Canyon, Death Valley National Park

I seem to have a knack for encountering “interesting” weather in Death Valley. The first time I visited the park, on an early April trip back in the late 1990s, I encountered light snow at Scotty’s Castle, an extremely cold wind storm that forced a retreat from the back-country near Teakettle Junction, and a big dust storm at Stovepipe Wells. Since then I’ve experienced a number of dust storms, heavy rain, sub-freezing temperatures, more snow, and plenty of wind. If you are hoping to visit the park for its more typical hot weather, you might want to avoid times when I’m there! Of course, I often visit around the beginning of April, and this seems to be a time of wildly varied conditions in this park—the time of wind storms, and a season when you might see the last Pacific winter storms or the first really warm weather.

On this year’s early April visit things leaned more in the direction of winter-like conditions. As a series of welcome Pacific storms came through there were plenty of clouds, cooler temperatures, strong winds, and some precipitation. The plan on this morning was to start at a very high overlook in the Panamint Range, from which expansive morning vistas are often possible. We were there before sunrise… but it was cloudy and becoming cloudier. There was enough light for some photography, but we also became aware that snow was starting to fall on some of the higher peaks. After an hour or so at this location we retreated to a high, broad, sage-filled valley and continued to watch the clouds close in and the snow spread along other nearby ridges. Not wanting to miss the unusual conditions we headed up into Wildrose Canyon, getting as far as the charcoal kilns before the falling snow convinced me that we shouldn’t go any further. We worked our way back down the canyon where the storm began to temporarily clear from the ridge of the Panamint Mountains.

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.

Strait of Juan de Fuca, Evening

Strait of Juan de Fuca, Evening
Strait of Juan de Fuca, Evening

Strait of Juan de Fuca, Evening. Olympic Peninsula, Washington. August 16, 2013. © Copyright 2013 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Evening light near Hurricane Ridge and over the Strait of Juan de Fuca

After shooting in the lowland rainforest earlier in the day, we planned to head up to Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park in the evening, hoping for some interesting late day light. I’ve been “skunked” (frustrated by poor conditions!) on more than one occasion here, including one notable visit when the clouds reduced visibility to a distance that might have been measured in yards. An earlier web cam check and what we could now see from down below encouraged us to think that we might get something better this time, so into the park and up the road we went.

When we arrived the conditions were not quite stupendous, but they held the promise of becoming better, so we stuck around and photographed. Although it was mostly somewhat hazy and cloudy, every so often the sun would come through an opening in the clouds to the west, and the beams of light would move across the rugged landscape of the Olympic Mountains spread out in front of us – and on one occasion this light crossed through rain showers and produced a momentary rainbow. As things wound down – without there ever having been a real climactic moment of light – I decided to walk over to a low ridge from which there was a view to the north and the Strait of Juan De Fuca, with Canadian territory beyond. Again, the atmosphere was murky, though there were potentially interesting clouds about. I made this photograph near the very end of the day when a bit of filtered though direct light swept across the foreground ridge.

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.