Tag Archives: photography

Funeral No Parking

Funeral No Parking
Street signs stored next to a funeral parlor doorway, New York City

Funeral No Parking. New York City. December 24. 2015. © Copyright 2015 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Street signs stored next to a funeral parlor doorway, New York City

I can state with certainty that this is the only time I have made night photographs of funeral homes in Manhattan on Christmas Eve. Go ahead! Prove me wrong! ;-)

So, how did this happen? As many street/urban photographs happen. I have a camera with me wherever I go, day and night, in places like this, and when I see something that catches my eye I make a photograph. We had started the evening by briefly joining the throng up on 5th Avenue where there are tons of holiday lights and displays. After leaving that madhouse we headed down toward Chinatown to find a place where we have had dinner a few times before — but we arrived to find that it had apparently become very popular since our last visit. We were told that the wait might be two hours. So we set out to find something less crowded nearly. We eventually found a nice quite Vietnamese restaurant but first we passed this side street with the doors and glowing windows of this funeral parlor.


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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Ben Is Watching

Ben Is Watching
A Brooklyn, New York wall

Ben Is Watching. December 21, 2015. Brooklyn, New York. © Copyright 2015 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

A Brooklyn, New York wall

I generally make it a rule to not photograph graffiti, though it is not quite a hard and fast rule. I almost never photograph a subject with someone’s vanity tag on it, and in a few cases when a larger subject as been compelling I have removed or defaced the tag in post. There are probably a range of reasons that one might write or scribble or draw on public and private property, ranging from a poor sense of social belonging to a desire to produce something like art — so the decision to show or not isn’t without context.

In this case, the wall seemed to be one that had become, likely by more or less popular agreement (or a concession?) a place where such public art is perhaps not only tolerated but also expected. While a simple tag doesn’t usually interest me, here there were layers of text and imagery that had been assembled over time and then modified by weather, wear, and perhaps later contributors. Eventually, the accidental juxtapositions seem to take on their own lives, as in this vignette featuring a worn dollar bill image of Benjamin Franklin, and oddly anthropomorphic red and white and green shape, bits and pieces of paint, and the underlying old brick wall. And, of course, this is all very temporary — and probably transformed or gone by now.


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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Bleecker Street Pizza

Bleecker Street Pizza
“Famous” Bleecker Street Pizza restaurant and bar, Manhattan

Bleecker Street Pizza. New York City. December 27, 2015. © Copyright 2015 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

“Famous” Bleecker Street Pizza restaurant and bar, Manhattan

I always enjoy restaurants and similar attractions that declare themselves to be “famous” or even “world-famous.” (Many years ago a place opened up in the Eastern Sierra Nevada along a main travel route and immediately declared itself to be “world-famous,” as near as I could tell on the day they opened. They must have been able to see the future, since eventually they arguably became so.) A very quick check suggests that this place might be good but might also not be exactly the most famous attraction in Manhattan…

That aside, I love the storefront. The shouting signs are classic, but the subtler elements are also interesting, from the hand-lettered “GLUTEN FREE” sign to the “as featured on WB11” testimonial and the barely visible “Purple Haze” neon sign in the window, not to mention the inevitable Manhattan plastic garbage sacks. It was a cold winter day, and no one was sitting outside at the tables, but I’ll bet things are different on a warm summer evening.


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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Four Figures In Doorway

Four Figures In Doorway
Four people stand in front of the doorway of a Manhattan store

Four Figures In Doorway. New York City. December 24, 2015. © Copyright 2015 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Four people stand in front of the doorway of a Manhattan store

I suspect that this photograph is going to perplex more than a few folks who watch my landscape and nature photography. In fact, this is one in a large string of very urban photographs made in New York in late December 2015. For those of you who “get” and like this work, thanks! For those who don’t, the more familiar kinds of photography will return before too much longer, and I’ll try to intersperse more of that photography with the urban/street/night stuff.

I’m endlessly fascinated by the way in which seemingly formless and virtually random patterns of motion in the urban environment can suddenly coalesce into something that has structure and which may even be mysterious and suggestive. Capturing this stuff requires me to be “on” all the time — and this can make me not at all fun to be with in these places when I’m carrying a camera! I made this photograph on a very crowded Christmas Eve in Manhattan, and it is one from a short sequence I photographed of this group standing in front of the entrance to a closed store — and for this instant the group miraculously assembled themselves into a fascinating tableaux of individual poses, especially the woman on the left.


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

Market, Mott Street

Market, Mott Street
A family pauses on the sidewalk in front of a Chinatown market on Mott Street on Christmas Eve.

Market, Mott Street. New York City. December 24, 2015.© Copyright 2016 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

A family pauses on the sidewalk in front of a Chinatown market on Mott Street on Christmas Eve.

I have been a bit surprised to find a lot of photographs of families, often with a kid in a stroller, among my street photographs from this December 2015 visit to New York. The photographs range from an adult family posing for a selfie (yet to be shared here) to families on busy downtown streets to night photographs like this one — and strollers seem to be a repeating theme. I’m not sure what this means.

While trying to figure out where we would go for dinner after discovering that our first choice and its neighbors were way to busy, I took a few minutes to wander up to the end of this very narrow street. This corner market featured a wild and colorful assortment of produce in outdoor stalls along the sidewalk, made more intense by lighting under the awning. My first thought was to photograph this colorful subject, but then I watched to see who might wander by and populate the photograph. A family stopped, father looking at his wife and child and the woman casting a glance in my direction.


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.

Pedestrians, Mosco Street

Pedestrians, Mosco Street
Pedestrians walk up Mosco Street on a raining Christmas Eve

Pedestrians, Mosco Street. Manhattan. December 24, 2015. © Copyright 2015 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Pedestrians walk up Mosco Street on a rainy Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve in Manhattan, and we ended up in Chinatown at restaurant where we’ve eaten on this night in the past — but we discovered that it has apparently become popular since the last time we visited. The wait for a table (for our rather large group) was going to be at least 90 minutes, so we decided to look elsewhere. After figuring out that everything nearby was just about as crowded, we headed down the short length of Mosco Street to find a place with some open tables nearby.

This photograph illustrates one of the things that fascinates me about urban night photography, namely the wildly diverse light sources. Stop and consider the range of intense colors in this scene — the bright yellow light of the old street lamps along the right side of the street, the more neutral light on the left side from more modern lights, the spots of intense red and blue from store signs. Because it had rained, the streets were reflective, and they also picked up the wash of colors. A couple of people walk toward the camera on the left, casting shadows, and a solitary figure is in the yellow light along the brick wall on the right.


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.