Tag Archives: photograph

A Selfie

A Selfie
A group of tourists captures a selfie on the run

A Selfie. New York City. December 26, 2015. © Copyright 2015 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

A group of tourists captures a selfie on the run

A free hour or a bit more, so we took a quick walk out on the Brooklyn Bridge on a cold and windy day that was trying to rain — to join the surprising number of other people with just the same illogical idea. This bridge is a great place from which to watch many things: boats on the east river, the buildings of Lower Manhattan, the Brooklyn waterfront, the bridge itself and, of course, the people walking past by the hundreds or thousands.

The people provide a lot of photographic possibilities, but those possibilities come and go quickly. Our of an amorphous crowd so thick that I can’t see ten feet ahead of me, an interesting subject might suddenly appear. Of someone might do something surprising and interesting, but only for a brief moment. And then there are the selfies… It is no news that they have become a “thing.” The camera/phone is held at a high angle pointing down, and the subjects’ faces are almost invariably tilted up. Participants in the ritual usually lean their heads together and tilt them to one side. And then there is that smile — I wonder sometimes what it is supposed to be: a bit edgy/wry and highly posed. A moment before this group was simply walking towards me like all the other groups, but suddenly a phone came out, the arm went up, the heads turned, and there it was.


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.

Woman Photographing Brick Wall

Woman Photographing Brick Wall
A woman stands on a bench to photograph a brick wall along the High Line Park, New York.

Woman Photographing Brick Wall. New York City. © Copyright 2015 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

A woman stands on a bench to photograph a brick wall along the High Line Park, New York.

I made this photograph on a winter’s day walk along the High Line Park in western Manhattan — the increasingly well-known park that extends along the abandoned path of an old elevated railroad bed. The park is very popular, and even on a winter day there were many, many people out walking along it, and the surrounding neighborhoods were also filled. Of course, there is a lot going on in this Chelsea neighborhood — the Whitney Museum is now open at the southern end of the park, there are lots of restaurants and more along its length, and the north end now terminates at the busy construction site of the Hudson Yards.

When I made the photograph I probably wasn’t thinking consciously about much or than the possibility of isolating the figure of the woman, engrossed in making a close up photograph the bricks, against the small and large patterns of the background wall, with the slight natural intrusion of the tree at the right edge. Later I thought about what she was photographing, and how most people might simply wonder what the heck she sees there, in a place where there is nothing apparent to photograph. This might be a bit of a metaphor for lots of photography, where the act of capturing “something you see” defines your world and presents a personal vision of it to others. And I still do like the complex set of interlocking patterns of the wall, the wooden structure, the window, and the single figure.


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.

The Canon EOS 5Ds R — Resolution Examples

… and the EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II lens.

A few days ago I spent four days in the high Sierra making photographs. At the end of one evening I made a photograph that isn’t intended to have any particular aesthetic value, but which was intended as a test of something about my new camera, a Canon EOS 5Ds R.* So I pointed it up at the top of this nearby granite dome just as the last light washed over its summit.

The technical information about the photograph:

First, the resulting photograph — which is, I will be the first to admit, not a stunning example of photographic art!

Lembert Dome Sunset Watcher
A lone person watches the Sierra sunset from the summit of Lembert Dome

Next a crop from the same photograph showing a little surprise at the edge of the precipice. This is the same photograph, but this time a 100% magnification crop of a 600 x 450 pixel section. (You’ll have to click on the photos to see the 600 x 450 versions, since the design of this website slightly downsizes photos posted at that size.)

Lembert Dome Sunset Watcher (crop)
A lone person watches the Sierra sunset from the summit of Lembert Dome

I’ll share some other examples later that are better optimized to show the resolution potential of this camera — photographs using something closer to the diffraction-limited aperture, focal lengths not at the extreme long end, with a lens that has even better resolution potential, and with a subject that is not so far away. (The distance introduces atmospheric elements that reduce resolution.)

Not bad, I’d say.

Added later:  Someone asked how the 5Ds R handles the fine details of feathers. I’m sorry to say that I have not photographed birds yet — that is more of winter thing for me. However, while making landscape photographs this past week, deer wandered into several of my scenes and I went ahead and photographed them. The following 100% magnification crop (actual pixel size) was also made using the EOS 100-400 f/4.5-5.6L IS II at 400mm, f/5.6, IS and AF on, ISO 100. The critter was in shadow, and exposure has been pushed here roughly a full stop. (Click the image to see the original 600 x 450 pixel image — the version on this page is slightly downsized.)

Deer — 100% magnification crop at 600 x 450
5Ds R, EOS 100-400mm f/4.5-f.5L IS II @ 400mm, f/5.6, 1/200, ISO 100, AF and IS in us

And one more example, also a 100% magnification crop: Canon EOS 5Ds R, ISO 100, 1/13 second, f/8, EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II @ 105mm

100% Magnification Crop — 5Ds R & 100-400 v2 lens
Canon EOS 5Ds R, ISO 100, 1/13 second, f/8, EF 100-400mm f/4.5-f5.6L IS II lens @ 105mm

5Ds and 5Ds R Articles:

  • Links to the Canon EOS 5Ds and the Canon EOS 5Ds R in this article go to site-sponsor B&H photography with whom I have an affiliate relationship. When you purchase through these links your price is the same, but a small percentage is returned to help support this website.

Mentioned in this article:

© Copyright 2015 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.


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.

A Photograph Exposed: “Two Rocks, Morning, Racetrack Playa”

(“A Photograph Exposed”  is a series exploring some of my photographs in greater detail.)

Two Rocks, Morning, Racetrack Playa - Black and white photograph of two "moving rocks" on the Racetrack Playa at Death Valley National Park. Morning light with unusual clouds, and the Grandstand in the distance.
Black and white photograph of two “moving rocks” on the Racetrack Playa at Death Valley National Park. Morning light with unusual clouds, and the Grandstand in the distance.

Two Rocks, Morning, Racetrack Playa. Death Valley National Park, California. April 3, 2006. © Copyright 2006. G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Moving rocks, lenticular clouds — morning on the Racetrack Playa.

This photograph from Death Valley’s Racetrack Playa is one of the first I made when I began photographing this landscape seriously, and it may still be my favorite photograph from the park — yet it also carries a flaw that I’ll mention below.

My first visit to Death Valley National Park had been perhaps seven years earlier at the very end of the previous millennium, when I was one of several adults accompanying a group of middle school and high school students on a visit that was to include a short backpack trip in the Cottonwood Canyon area. The story of that trip deserves its own article. That article would describe snow, near-hypothermia, winds that blew down tents, a retreat from the pack trip, an attempt to hike down the upper portion of Death Valley, water shortages, a dust storm, a dangerous situation with a bus, and more.

I’ll never forget my first view of this great valley. We had arrived in the park after dark, stopping between Towne Pass and Stovepipe Wells at a small campground a few thousand feet above the valley floor, where we set up in the darkness and went to sleep. Having never seen the Valley before, the next morning I unzipped my tent and stepped outside to see the stupendous “oh wow!” landscape of the valley and the mountains on the far side in the beautiful morning light. I was hooked, and I’ve been going back annually for more than fifteen years.  Continue reading A Photograph Exposed: “Two Rocks, Morning, Racetrack Playa”

A Photograph Exposed: “San Francisco Skyline, Winter Fog and Haze”

(“A Photograph Exposed”  is a series exploring some of my photographs in greater detail.)

San Francisco Skyline, Winter Fog and Haze
San Francisco Skyline, Winter Fog and Haze

San Francisco Skyline, Winter Fog and Haze. San Francisco, California. December 18, 2009. © Copyright 2009 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Fog and haze obscure the winter skyline of downtown San Francisco, California.

It is unlikely that any view of San Francisco will be entirely unique, but I haven’t seen many other photographs of the City’s skyline that look quite like this one. It isn’t unusual for people who see the photograph (especially as a print) to ask, “Is that real?” It is as real as a photograph gets, and the conditions actually occurred — the only time I have seen them quite like this, with quite this soft and subtle atmosphere and light. (The post-processing on this photograph was relatively minimal, and a lot of it was about controlling the brightness of that bright cloud high in the sky.)

Living in the San Francisco Bay Area, I frequently drive north over the Golden Gate Bridge to photograph in the redwoods, along the coast, or at Point Reyes National Seashore. This usually means leaving home well before the sun rises, and depending on where I’m headed, I usually cross the bridge right around dawn. The plan is to pause and look at the scene in the early light and decide if something really interesting might happen — and it that seems probable I’ll photograph here for a while before moving on.

The light and atmosphere on this winter morning were special enough to get me to pause. Continue reading A Photograph Exposed: “San Francisco Skyline, Winter Fog and Haze”

Online Gallery Update

My web presence has long included this blog and a separate online gallery housing a large archive of photographs — perhaps about 3000 of them at last count. Earlier this week the gallery had a technical issue that snowballed and eventually took that gallery completely offline.

During the past few days I have spent way to many hours trying to get the gallery working again, and I have (mostly) succeeded at this point. A new version of the gallery now holds essentially all of the photographs that were at the old gallery. The format is a bit different, though the underlying organization of the images is similar. At this point, the titles of photographs do not display correctly, and you’ll see file names where there used to be titles. This is fixable, but not right away.

If you tried to find the old gallery and couldn’t, thanks for your patience. If you haven’t seen the gallery, feel free to wander over there and take look!


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.

Urban Flower Hunter

Urban Flower Hunter
Urban Flower Hunter

Urban Flower Hunter. Chicago, Illinois. August 2, 2014. © Copyright 2014 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Photographing flowers in a Chicago urban garden

In this photograph a woman kneels to make close-up photographs of flowers in an urban garden at Chicago’s Millennium Park. Not just any woman, by the way, but my wife! Aside from that obvious factor, there are several other things that I like about this scene and this photograph, some of them photographic and others more about the facts of the image.

Most people would pass right by such an urban garden. Some will notice it and perhaps look a bit. But a person who stops and looks close, as Patty does, can find a whole world to see in such a small place. In this photograph I also like the juxtaposition of the sharp angles and structures of the downtown Chicago skyline, with colors muted by hazy afternoon, and the wild and unpredictable organic forms and colors of the bit of garden. It doesn’t hurt that her red top complements the greens, either!

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.