Tag Archives: post

What’s With the Daily Photographs? (Morning Musings 9/28/14)

Mo's Cloud
Mo’s Cloud. Sierra wave cloud over the Long Valley California. May 28, 2005. © 2008 Copyright G Dan Mitchell — all rights reserved. (posted on my blog in July 2005)

Owens Valley near Mammoth, California. May 28, 2005. © Copyright G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved..

It occurs to me that many people are probably aware that I post a new photograph every day — but that few know how long I’ve been doing this nor my reasons for this seemingly obsessive task. Today I’m sharing a bit of the back story.

I’ve been building and operating websites since about 1995.  I’ll skip over a bunch of other interesting (to me) steps in the previous millennium and my first adventures with weblogs (now known as “blogs”) in the 1990s — though this could be a story for another day. Early on I created a blog about backpacking and other outdoor subjects called “Dan’s Outside,” and it gradually came to hold more and more photographs. At some point — likely around the time I acquired my first DSLR in the early 2000s — the photographs began to be the primary focus, and in 2005 I created a photography blog. The photograph at the top of this post was one of the earliest I shared, back in July of 2005.

Although I have not kept careful records, it looks like the daily photograph posts probably began to appear about a month later in August 2005, and they have continued mostly without a break since that time. That’s a lot of photographs! I haven’t actually counted, but it must be getting close to 3000 or more.

It would be reasonable to ask why I have done this. Continue reading What’s With the Daily Photographs? (Morning Musings 9/28/14)

Looking for Eastern Sierra Aspen Color?

Since this is the season of aspen color along the east slope of the Sierra Nevada mountains, it seems like a good time to share a link to my article on where and how to find and photograph these beautiful trees: Sierra Nevada Fall Color Season – Coming Sooner Than You Think

Fallen Aspen Branch, Snow - A small aspen tree branch blown down by an early fall storm rests on snow, North Lake, California.
Fallen Aspen Branch, Snow – A small aspen tree branch blown down by an early fall storm rests on snow, North Lake, California.

“Fallen Aspen Branch, Snow” Sierra Nevada Range, California. © Copyright G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

I originally wrote this article four years ago, in response to a lot of questions about this seasonal change, and I have updated it regularly since then. The short story is that the aspens begin to change near the end of September in a typical year, and if you know where to look you can find aspen color for the next three weeks or perhaps just a bit longer. The change starts in the highest groves of trees and then works its way down to lower elevations as the transformation progresses, with later potential down along the base of the range and in some of the east side canyons.

I have not (yet) been up to photograph the trees this season – though I plan to rectify that situation very soon! – but everything I’m hearing right now suggests that the change came earlier than usual this year. In a more typical year I would expect to see the best color perhaps starting right about now and continuing for another week or longer – but this year there are a lot of reports of high elevation trees already dropping leaves and of lower elevation areas already in peak form. If you are going this year, I would make it sooner rather than later!

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.

Pedestrian, Steps

Pedestrian, Steps
Pedestrian, Steps

Pedestrian, Steps. Seattle, Washington. August 14, 2013. © Copyright 2013 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Sidewalk steps lead to a lower roadway, where a pedestrian crosses the street

This is another of the photographs done street photography style in Seattle in August, when we had a free day between some other events that took us to that city. On this morning we had started at Pike Place Market, the well-known tourist spot, and then walked south into the more central downtown area and eventually towards the south side of downtown.

I recall that the first time I visited downtown Seattle many years ago I was surprised by the multiple levels in some parts of the city, especially along the waterfront. Across the street from the water, a major highway runs high above on a viaduct. Between the viaduct and the main downtown there is a very short, steep hill (almost a cliff in some spots) leading up to the next level of streets above. (The multiple level effect is seen elsewhere, too, such as near the convention center.) As we walked along one of those upper streets, this steep staircase led to a lower level street and some parking, and a pedestrian continuing on toward the waterfront walks through the light coming down the cross street.

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.

Cooking and Photography

I just saw yet another in the unending string of exclamations, posts, articles, blatherings, and so forth concerning the false and bizarre question of whether or not it is right to “post process” or “manipulate” photographs. It is really way, way past time to let this go and to treat it as the irrelevant distraction that it is. For now I won’t go into all of the well-known reasons why this is the case, but I will share a version of what I wrote in a reply:

It is time to stop being defensive about so-called “processing” of photographs in post. It is simply a bizarre and unsupportable myth that great photographs reflect reality – fact, every photograph lies! – or are produced simply by making brilliant decisions about what to point that camera at and when. With all due respect to farmers, to suggest that great photography comes only from careful and skillful capture  is akin to suggesting that great cooking is purely the result of great farming.

© Copyright 2013 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

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.

Raven on Fence Post

Raven on Fence Post
Raven on Fence Post

Raven on Fence Post. Point Reyes National Seashore, California. February 9, 2013. © Copyright 2013 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

A raven perches on a fence post above cattle ranch pasture, Point Reyes National Seashore

I had not gone to Point Reyes to photograph ravens. In fact, the thought of photographing these birds, which are not exactly high on my list of birds I love to photograph, had not even crossed my mind. I had a half day to do some shooting, so got up three hours before dawn and drove north through San Francisco, over the Golden Gate Bridge, into Marin County and then over to the coast, hoping to make it all the way out to the tip of Point Reyes to photograph Drakes Bay at sunrise. I didn’t make it quite in time, and instead ended up photographing Tomales Bay as the sun came up. After that I headed out on the road toward the point, but on a whim decided to finally drive up the Mount Vision Road, which I have always passed by on my way to other places. This was in interesting diversion, but after a while I remembered that a group of folks from the Bay Area was going to meet up to photograph the Point Reyes tule elk at around 9:00 a.m.

I figured I might try to join them, even though I haven’t really had that much luck photographing the elk in the area at the north end of the park where they are most easily found. (My best “elk experience” in the park was in a different area where I didn’t even expect to see them.) So I drove back a bit and then out on the road toward where the elk are found – in the area beyond Abbott Lagoon and near Pierce Ranch and McClure Beach. As I started out that road I saw a lot of birds of various sorts, so I stopped and grabbed my camera with the big lens from the trunk and put it on the seat next to me. (Smarter photographers than I probably normally keep such a setup handy while driving!) Sure enough, before long I started passing lots of birds along the road including this cooperative raven, who despite looking a bit nervous when I stopped close enough to make a photograph, stuck around long enough for me to get one shot… before other cars drove up and passed me and scared the bird away.

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.

Winter Moon, Clouds, and Granite

Winter Moon, Clouds, and Granite
Winter Moon, Clouds, and Granite

Winter Moon, Clouds, and Granite. Yosemite Valley, California. February 23, 2013. © Copyright 2013 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Winter moon rises through post-storm clouds above Yosemite Valley, California

On this winter evening, photographing the “usual subjects” in Yosemite Valley was not easy. This was the weekend of the Horsetail Falls pilgrimage, and hundreds or perhaps thousands of people were lined up with cameras in hopes of making their photograph of this thing/event – but for most this was not to be as the water fall was almost dried up and clouds blocked the sunset light. It had been a cloudy day, starting out with rain and staying that way for a good part of the day, with even a bit of light snow at times. As evening approached it looked like the cloud deck was going to remain thick and low and that it would likely be a gray evening.

With it looking like the potential for inspiring light was quite low, we went to Tunnel View – it seemed as good as any other option, it can be an inspiring place even when it doesn’t provide inspiring photographic opportunities, and I was with someone who had not really tried to photograph there. When we arrived there was some clearing, though the clouds seemed to remain thick to the west, meaning the no brilliant light was likely to be seen. I put a long lens on my camera and worked the upper rim of the Valley to my right, about 90 degrees away from the direction most were shooting, but where fog and mist drifted across the rim, granite pinnacles and cliffs, and among trees. As I watched this I noticed the nearly full moon occasionally poke out from behind clouds above Sentinel Rocks as the clouds and mist drifted this way and that. Since it was that early twilight time when a good exposure for the light of the moon can also work for other subjects such as clouds, sky, and mountains, I swung the camera around and watched the drifting clouds, waiting or moments when the took on interesting shapes and when the moon was visible.

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.

A Little Story About Posting Daily Photographs

First, why the heck do I post a new photograph every day?! I have been doing this now for more than five  years, believe it or not. (I don’t know for certain when I started, but by dividing the number of photographs in my online gallery by 365, it looks like it may have been almost seven years now!) I have no illusions that it is possible for me to post something close to an incredible photograph 365 times each year, so for this purpose I’ll settle for merely credible! One impetus for this project probably comes from my background in music, where practice is regarded as central to developing and maintaining the ability to function artistically – and a goal is to do the thing so regularly and so often that the doing becomes almost intuitive and the technical stuff becomes less and less daunting – though it never quite disappears. So my daily photographs are essentially the part of my “practice” that I’ve chosen to make public.

Since I’m almost continually producing new photographs – continuing down familiar paths and trying to improve the results or trying things that are new to me – I generate a lot of photographs. My primary goal is to line them up for posting at the blog on that new-photo-per-day basis. I often have at least some photographs ready to go and queued up for posting well ahead of time.

Typically, I might have a week’s worth or so in the pipeline, though there is some variation. On a few occasions I have had nothing ready and I actually had to go out and make a photograph for posting on the day it was posted! On other occasions I’ve had a much bigger line-up of photos ready to go. (Right now my “problem” is that I have too many in the pipeline! I’ve already selected and lined up photographs through the end of March! This makes it hard to post work that I’m doing right now that I would like to share. For example, I have more work from a recent shoot at Point Lobos, some long-exposure work from early January,  and there are still photographs from my extensive photography in Utah last fall. (I’m also working on a long term project to photograph musicians, and none of that work has appeared here yet.)

When a new photograph is ready, it becomes part of a “sharing workflow” that accomplishes the following:

  1. I queue the photograph up at my blog, scheduling its appearance there weeks or even months in advance. I write the descriptive text at the time I put the image in the queue.
  2. Out of habit, I also post the image to my old Flickr account as part of the process to queue it at my blog. (Hint: you can often see my photographs at Flickr before they show up elsewhere, since I have no way to delay the posting there.)
  3. On the day when the photo finally shows up at my blog, I do a quick bit of copying and pasting to create the daily posts at Facebook and Google Plus. The Facebook posts are rather minimal, usually containing little more than the image and the title and basic description, along with a link to the blog. I incorporate more information with the Google Plus posts, including an excerpt from the full post at my blog along with a link back to the blog post. A blog plugin also automatically shares a message on Twitter and a very brief one at Facebook.
  4. From time to time I may also share some photographs at 500px or Pinterest, though that is not a regular part of my workflow.

There are a few variations on this process. At times I’m in places where I simply cannot go online and post – perhaps I’m backpacking or just too busy. When this happens, Facebook may only show the tiny thumbnail image that is automatically posted from the blog, and I may have to forego the usual larger image. I can use a Chrome browser plugin to pre-schedule new Google Plus posts on those days.

Sometimes people wonder how it is possible to find time to do all of this and whether it is worthwhile. The first question is easier to answer. At this point, I have the whole process simplified to the point that it actually takes me very little time. The second question is a bit trickier, but on balance it is worthwhile – though there are days when I think about how it might be a bit easier to simply not post every day… but then I do it anyway! :-)

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.