Tag Archives: reflection

Breakwater, Bay

Breakwater, Bay
The shadow of a breakwater across a view of San Francisco Bay

Breakwater, Bay. San Francisco, California. May 20, 2016. © Copyright 2016 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

The shadow of a breakwater across a view of San Francisco Bay

I’ve had an obsession with the morning light coming across the San Francisco Bay ever since I started taking an early morning train up there and walking the waterfront, making photographs. The light varies, but it is almost always interesting — muted by fog, brilliantly bright when there is lighter haze, reflecting off the water when the skies are clearer. That latter was mostly the case on this morning, with only a few clouds left from a late-season rain storm that was clearing out.

I began photographing some pier not far from the South Beach Harbor, and as I walked out onto one of them I was intrigued by the overlapping patterns of breakwaters near the entrance to the harbor. As I looked to the right of that entrance the low breakwater cut the bright reflections of morning sun, placing an almost black line across the water parallel with the horizon line.


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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Barred Window

Barred Window
Reflections and shaded interior beyond a barred window, San Francisco

Barred Window. San Francisco, California. May 20, 2016. © Copyright 2016 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Reflections and shaded interior beyond a barred window, San Francisco

Walking along the waterfront near the South Beach Harbor I noticed a walkway going out to the end of a pier than I had not noticed before. This time a gate was open, so I walked out onto the pier and passed many small temporary (or so they seemed) businesses and shops that were set up behind the sliding metal doors, now open for the day. My goal was the end of the pier, where I figured I might be a good, clear view straight into the morning light coming across the bay or possibly back across the boats tied up in the harbor.

Passing one small metal-sided building, I noticed the odd combination of objects — a bird cage behind a sort of “human cage” of the barred windows. The right window provided a visual and subjective contrast with these objects, since it reflected the open blue sky and the upper portions of the masts of the nearby sailboats.


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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An Illusion

An Illusion
A complex juxtaposition of street elements, San Francisco

An Illusion. San Francisco, California. May 20, 2016. © Copyright 2016 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

A complex juxtaposition of street elements, San Francisco

I’m going to have a little fun with you today with this photograph. It might be a bit of a mystery and it contains one or more illusions, and more than one world. I’ll let you ponder that.

I made the photograph on one of my photography walks in San Francisco, which usually are dominated by street photography, some architecture, and even a bit of urban and near-urban landscape, all shot handheld while on the move. The area where I made this photograph is a bustling part of newly developing San Francisco, with lots of traffic (I waited for a break), lots of expensive new housing, and sometimes a lot of people.


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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Red Pants

Red Pants
People and their reflections on a walkway at SFMOMA

Red Pants. San Francisco, California. May 6, 2016. © Copyright 2016 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

People and their reflections on a walkway at SFMOMA

In my continuing effort to make my landscape photograph fans uncomfortable — just kidding! — here is another urban/street photograph from a recent day in San Francisco. As members of SFMOMA (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art) we got tickets for the members’ pre-opening this week. (The museum officially reopens on May 14, following two years of a major renovation and expansion project.) To answer the obvious first question… the new building is beautiful in almost all ways. (It isn’t perfect, but what is.) We greatly enjoyed our visit, during which we managed to spend time in mostly the new areas, but also revisited a lot of the older structure as well.

I love museums, especially art museums, and I can spend hours in them, looking and thinking and making mental associations. But I also like photographing them — for the interesting architectural features which often produce a lot of very interesting light and geometry, but also as places to watch people. But I often have to be very quick, and that was the case here. I first saw this fellow in the red pants walking my direction, against a background of mostly colorless architecture and flat light. I had just time to make two very quick exposures. Initially I wasn’t hopeful about this one, as I felt that I had almost missed him as he walked out of the frame — but in the end that positioning ended up seeming to be the most interesting to me.


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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Winter Fog, Water, Island

Winter Fog, Water, Island
Winter fog obscures the view of a wetland island

Winter Fog, Water, Island. Central Valley, California. February 15, 2016. © Copyright 2016 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Winter fog obscures the view of a wetland island

This is one of a pair of similar photographs I made in this spot on a lovely dense fog morning out in the winter Central Valley. (The other is simpler and doesn’t include the foreground plants.) We had arrived quite a bit earlier and had already done a circuit of the gravel road that encircles the location, and we were now on our second loop. Believe it or not, the fog had become a lot less thick by the time I made the photograph!

Imagine that everything is still, but that the sounds of birds are everywhere — a combination of visual stillness but audio tumult in every direction. As I watched this little island the fog continued to thin and thicken, and at times it almost became invisible. Shortly after I made the photograph the clearing began in earnest and the beaks began to develop in the shallow tule fog.


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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First Light, Trees, Lake, and Ridge

First Light, Trees, Lake, and Ridge
Trees along a rock strewn lake as first morning light strikes a southern Sierra Nevada backcountry ridge

First Light, Trees, Lake, and Ridge. Sequoia National Park, California. August 8, 2008. © Copyright 2008 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Trees along a rock strewn lake as first morning light strikes a southern Sierra Nevada backcountry ridge

This was the scene on the morning of this fifth day or a trip of over a week across the High Sierra Trail, a trip that would eventually summit Mount Whitney before descending the east side of the Sierra. To me, this route feels like it is composed of several distinct sections. The first couple of days are the approach, reaching the first high country from a west side trailhead. The next few of days are the crossing of the Kaweahs and the descent to the ridges above Big Arroyo, a portion of the trip that has the distinct feeling of remoteness and of dropping down to much lower country. Then there is the march up the Kern and the ascent to meet the JMT, followed by the lateral over to a base camp below Whitney, with the finale being the ascent of this ridge and then the long descent to Whitney Portal.

This morning was in that post-Kaweah phase, at our second camp after crossing the Gap. This lake, a bit off the “official” route, is a quiet and forested place with a gentle feeling that contrasts the rough edges of the higher country. We awoke this morning and I was out before dawn, photographing the first light on this high ridge beyond the trees and across the lake.


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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Alpine Pond, Evening

Alpine Pond, Evening
Evening reflections in a boulder-strewn alpine pond, Sequoia National Park

Alpine Pond, Evening. Sequoia National Park, California. August 6, 2007. © Copyright 2007 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Evening reflections in a boulder-strewn alpine pond, Sequoia National Park

This pack trip, now almost a decade behind me, was a different sort of trip in several ways. We began on the east side of the range in a high valley south of Mount Whitney. This was in an area that we had visited in the past, and on one occasions I spent several days going up and down an unmaintained pass until we finally all got together and climbed a nearby 14,000′ peak. On the trip where I made the photograph we started out at the same trailhead but then skirted a bit south to cross the crest on a more popular trail. A bit further along to the west we left the main trail to visit a nearby lake, found a cross-country route out of its cirque, walked up a long valley to another lake, and camped there. I made the photograph on the evening of our arrival, looking back at tall ridges lining the valley we had ascended to get here.

There rest of the trip was unusual and special, too. On the next morning we skirted the lake and then headed up to find an unmarked route over a steep pass, dropping down abruptly from its summit into a long granite valley with several lakes. A day later we arrived at the usual west side route towards Mount Whitney. We stopped for lunch and moved on, heading north on the John Muir Trail. Eventually we crossed one of my favorite high spots along this trail and then descended to the junction with the trail over Shepherds Pass. We hung out in this area for a few days, investigating some more remote areas of the Upper Kern drainage before returning to this spot and then heading out over Shepherd Pass.


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.