Tag Archives: project

The Choral Project (and more…)

The Choral Project
The Choral Project

The Choral Project. Santa Clara, California. December 17, 2014. © Copyright 2014 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Members of the Choral Project raise their hands as they rehearse for a joint holiday concert with the San Jose Chamber Orchestra


I have more than one reason for sharing this photograph. First of all, I like the photo! I think it captures the focus, intensity, and joy of the chorus members as they raise their hands and sing this gospel number at a rehearsal for this week’s holiday concert.

And the second reason? To let my San Francisco Bay Area friends know about this wonderful joint holiday concert by the San Jose Chamber Orchestra and The Choral Project, an annual tradition that brings together both groups, wonderful soloists, and a diverse range of music, old and new and from all over the planet. Here is more information about the concert:

Winter’s Gifts: Evocations

Saturday, December 20 – 8:00 PM
First Presbyterian Church
1140 Cowper St.
Palo Alto

Sunday, December 21 – 7:00 PM
Mission Santa Clara de Asis
500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara


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.

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.

When Inspiration Takes a Vacation

It happens to (almost) everyone. The pendulum sometimes swings towards enthusiasm, inspiration, and creative work that almost seems to flow all by itself. But pendulums swing both directions, and one of the prices we pay for doing creative work is having to cope with the inevitable dry periods when enthusiasm, inspiration, and creativity are nowhere to be found, periods when you can find yourself questioning your talent and abilities. (I think that one characteristic of “mature” artists is that they understand this cycle and are less likely to be undone by it – both because they are familiar with its existence and because they have learned ways to deal with it.)

I don’t claim to be the definitive expert on this issue, but I have some experience with it in both photography and music. There is much more to be said about this than I have space for here, but I thought I’d share a reply I wrote in a forum where a poster posed the following: Continue reading When Inspiration Takes a Vacation

Jim M. Goldstein’s “Best Photos of 2010” Project

Every December Jim M. Goldstein takes on the task of collecting the annual “best of” lists of many photographers. His project started modestly a few years back, picked up steam quickly… and I can only imagine the huge number of entries he is fielding this year! You can get more information about Jim’s project in a post at his blog. There is still time to put together your list and submit it.

My own “2010 Favorites” page is nearing completion, and I hope to post it later this evening. This year I tried something new – I invited readers to chime in with their feedback on my initial list of over 50 photographs. The response was wonderful and I’m very grateful to participants for their very kind words about my photography and for the time they took to look carefully through a much too large set of images and then post helpful lists and comments.

Donut Shop, Christmas Eve

Donut Shop, Christmas Eve
Donut Shop, Christmas Eve

Donut Shop, Christmas Eve. San Jose, California. December 24. 2009. © Copyright G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Black and white photograph of the interior of a donut shop late in the afternoon on Christmas Eve.

As in many photographs like this, I hope that there may be more to it than meets the eye. I won’t tell the whole story, but here is a bit of background. I had been involved in an online discussion of the merits of shooting “old school” street photography using primes, and specifically limiting oneself to a 50mm prime on a 35mm film camera. Though it isn’t the point of my post here, I’ll just say that I’m skeptical about the value of that sort of limitation given a whole bunch of boring photographic philosophy. In any case, as an outgrowth of that discussion I thought it would be fun to head out on foot armed only with my full-frame camera (sorry, no film camera at all these days!) and a 50mm prime and just see what I could come up with. So, I walked out my front door and did some photography.

It was late in the afternoon on Christmas Eve, so few businesses were still open, and it was late enough in the day that the last-minute shopping traffic was diminishing and things were becoming rather quiet. Few people were even out walking. I mostly walked but I also photographed some shop windows and buildings and so forth, and when I passed this tiny donut shop I first did an exterior shot of the closed business that included a weathered wooden and brick wall and some sad-looking holiday lights. Then as I passed the front of the shop I decided to put my nose against the window and peer inside. The low light from the late-afternoon sun was directly behind me and casting some very harsh and flat light into the interior, but I was intrigued by the arrangement and shapes of the tables and chairs, the shadow cast by the Christmas ornaments hanging in the window, and by the odd juxtaposition of a poster of the work of a certain photographer that is barely visible on the wall.

This photograph is not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from G Dan Mitchell.

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Trading Prints: Jim Goldstein

During the latter part of 2008 I posted more than once about my participation in Jim M. Goldstein’s Buying Prints project. I’m a bit slow about this stuff, but I get to it eventually!

Earlier this fall I wrote about meeting up with Edie Howe in Yosemite to trade one of my aspen photographs for one of her images from Mono Lake. Last week I finally managed to connect with Jim to make our trade – a copy of my Submerged Boulders, Lake, and Cliffs for a copy of his Primitive Coastline. Jim is a fine landscape and nature/wildlife photographer and also quite the photography writer, blogger, and podcaster. (Follow the link in the first paragraph back to his web site to find out more.)

One of the great things about doing the print exchanges for me is that I get to meet photographers who I otherwise only know from their online personalities. It was a special pleasure to meet Jim and his wife Cindy in their home, talk photography a bit, take a look at some of Jim’s work that currently only exists on his computer, and then to accompany the two of them to a holiday party where I met more photographers. Thanks Jim and Cindy!