Canyon and Stream

Canyon and Stream

Canyon and Stream

Canyon and Stream. Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah. October 24, 2014. © Copyright 2014 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

A small rock-filled stream wanders along the bottom of a deep Utah red rock canyon

Yet another bend in yet another Utah canyon! We had hiked a good distance down into the depths of this canyon, finally stopping (most of us, anyway) at a scenic bend with lots of interesting photographic subjects. We held up there to make photographs, to sit and talk, and to eat. A few of us went a bit farther and some went a good distance more, but soon we had all checked our watches and realized it was time to start back..

This spot is just below a narrow section of the canyon where the water flows through a narrow cleft and around a big curve. Here, below that section, it seems like the flow must slow a bit, since a few more trees manage to grow here and the bed of the creek held a lot of river rocks and silt. In the distance the canyon curves more toward the west, and this allows a bit more light down into the canyon, producing a bit of a glow ahead.


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.

Red Rock and Roots

Red Rock and Roots

Red Rock and Roots

Red Rock and Roots. Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. October 23, 2014. © Copyright 2014 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Long roots extend across Utah sandstone

This was a sort of casual photograph, made while wandering around near our backcountry camp in southern Utah. We arrived in the afternoon, set up camp, and had a bunch of time to kill — time to eat, make plans, hang out, hike, take a nap, and explore. I probably did a bit of all of those things, but eventually decided to take my smaller camera and wander off into the surrounding countryside.

Eventually I ended up ascending a sandstone hill, and from the top I had open views of the surrounding terrain. But the closer subjects were perhaps even more interesting — the curving shapes of the sandstone, the small hollows that were filled with red sand, the plants trying to eke out a living in this spare and rocky area. In several places I found plants that had sent roots or stems over great distances across bare rock, perhaps trying to find pockets of water or moist soil.


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.

Cottonwood Trees, Autumn

Cottonwood Trees, Autumn

Cottonwood Trees, Autumn

Cottonwood Trees, Autumn. Southern Utah. October 26, 2014. © Copyright 2014 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

A grove of autumn cottonwood trees in Utah red rock country

After a few days “in the field” in a remote southern Utah location with a group of friends, I left our camp and headed back out to what passes for civilization in this part of Utah. Truth be told, by the end of the day I arrived in a quite civilized place! After driving a bit I ended up in the town of Boulder, where I was to meet my cousin and her husband to share dinner and conversation. But I arrived a bit early, so I decide to explore a bit first.

I headed right on through Boulder and onto the Burr Trail route, following it for a few miles to an overlook where the road descends into a long canyon. I arrived at close to the perfect date to see brilliant colors from autumn cottonwood trees in this valley — although the color peak may have come a few days earlier, I like the combination of colorful trees and the skeletal shapes of partially bare trees. This little valley has a flat bottom, and the trees grew across its width and right up the red rock cliff on the opposite side.


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.

Bend in the Canyon

Bend in the Canyon

Bend in the Canyon

Bend in the Canyon. Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah. October 24, 2014. © Copyright 2015 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

A sharp curving bend in the bottom of a Utah canyon

In many ways this is a bend in the canyon much like probably many thousands or other bends in this and other canyons. In places the courses of these canyons seem to wobble back and forth, turning right and then left and then right again as they trace their way down into the deeper sections of such canyons. In this spot the canyon narrowed and steepened just a little bit, and the creeks almost filled the bottom of the rocky section of the canyon around the bend. The nearly vertical canyon walls towered hundreds of feet above and no direct sunlight made it down here while I walked through.

These spots form their own little worlds, cut off from the flat country surrounding the canyons high above, and far from entry and exit points above and below. They are quiet places — at least during the good weather times when I tend to visit — and they are sonically isolated from the rest of the world, too. It is possible to walk slowly down such a canyon, picking your way along and through the creek, stopping frequently to look and perhaps photograph… and completely forget that outside world.


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.

Red Rock Hills

Red Rock Hills

Red Rock Hills

Red Rock Hills. Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah. October 23, 2014. © Copyright 2014 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Red rock hills rise from the surrounding terrain, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

I made this photograph in a spot where the ubiquitous flat terraces, covered with lots of dry country plant life, run into the edge of smooth sandstone surfaces which then rise abruptly into hills and valleys and low summits. We went to this place in the late afternoon — it and a nearby area were to be the location for our evening shoot. We parked our vehicles, got out, loaded up camera equipment, and headed toward these hills.

At this point the light was rather subdued for this time of day. High, thin clouds muted the intensity of the light and reduced the otherwise stark contrasts between shadows and subjects in the sun. This generally softens the appearance of the landscape and, to some extent, warms the light a bit. In the lower part of the frame a few hardy plants still manage to eke our a living on the rocks, but just beyond, as the rocks begin to rise up more steeply, almost nothing grows.


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.