Tag Archives: shore

Storm, Mono Lake

Storm, Mono Lake
Dark clouds of a massive summer thunderstorm move across Mono Lake.

Storm, Mono Lake. Eastern Sierra Nevada, California. August 7, 2015. © Copyright 2015 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Dark clouds of a massive summer thunderstorm move across Mono Lake.

This has been the “summer of the monsoon” in the Sierra Nevada. Although the range is terribly dry after four years of drought and this past winter’s truly anemic snow pack, summer has brought a greater than usual amount of monsoonal flow from the south, producing a great deal of thunderstorms and rain. In July I saw an odd juxtaposition of nearly snow free peaks and ridges that looked like late September of a dry year… along with green meadows and full ponds where the rains had fallen.

By the time of this early August visit to the Yosemite High Sierra and then a few days of backpacking on the east side of the range further south, things were drying out a bit and the foliage was taking on the usual late-August dry appearance. I camped down in Lee Vining Canyon the first night, and being close to Mono Lake I managed to head out there and make photographs after setting up camp. Thunderstorms were forming above the Sierra crest, and they had sprinkled on my camp. They then drifted east of the range and continued to build, so as I looked along this section of the north shore of Mono Lake, with Black Point and Negit Island visible in the foreground, the sky in the distance was turbulent, dark, and full of falling rain.


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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Brown Pelican in Flight, Blue Sky

Brown Pelican in Flight, Blue Sky
Brown Pelican in flight above Moss Landing, California

Brown Pelican in Flight, Blue Sky. Moss Landing, California. July 28, 2014. © Copyright 2014 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Brown Pelican in flight above Moss Landing, California

Here we have (yet) another in the continuing quest to get the exactly right pelican photograph. Actually, I’m joking — I don’t know what “the” right photograph would be, and I do know that there are almost infinite variations in these birds and the ways that they can be seen. Each individual looks at least a bit different, and they appear in all sorts of different surroundings: against the sky, against the water, close up or far away, overhead, at my level, below me when photographed from bluffs, midday or golden hour light, how the bird is orientated relative the light source, and on it goes.

This is another of the big group I photographed at Monterey Bay last summer, when the promise of whales surfacing near the shoreline took us there on short notice. Indeed, the whales were there and they were remarkably close to the shoreline. But nearly as remarkable was the absolutely huge number of birds that also showed up, including the pelicans.


G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer and visual opportunist. 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.

Departing Pelican, Blue Sky

Departing Pelican, Blue Sky
A brown pelican flies past and continues over the Monterey Bay

Departing Pelican, Blue Sky. Monterey Bay, California. July 28, 2014. © Copyright 2014 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

A brown pelican flies past and continues over the Monterey Bay

Brown pelicans are a common sight along the California coastline, though the numbers fluctuate from season to season and year to year. I often photograph them along the immediate coast, where they may be spotted skimming just above the surf, usually in small groups flying in a line. Sometimes they fly along top edges of coastal bluffs, apparently riding the updrafts from the Pacific onshore winds. From what I’ve seen, their numbers have varied a great deal in this strange California weather year. Last summer, when I made this photograph, there seemed to be a lot of them, but by this past winter the numbers had decreased significantly.

I photograph this pelican and a bunch of its kin near Moss Landing in Monterey Bay. We had gone there after hearing reports of whales surfacing just off the beach here, and sure enough, that’s what we found when we arrived. I have seen whales along the California coast for years, but I had no idea that they would come into a bay and then come so close to a beach. Whatever attracted the whales also attracted huge numbers of birds, including one of the largest collections of pelicans that I recall seeing. Photographing them was almost easy — I simply picked a spot near where a creek emptied into the bay and waited, and soon a nearly steady stream of the birds passed right over me in the warm evening light.


G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer and visual opportunist. 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.

Brown Pelican in Flight

Brown Pelican in Flight
Brown pelican flight above the shoreline of Monterey Bay, Moss Landing, California

Brown Pelican in Flight. Monterey Bay, California. July 28, 2014. © Copyright 2014 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Brown pelican flight above the shoreline of Monterey Bay, Moss Landing, California

Rediscovering this photograph and a few of its buddies makes for a bit of an odd story. Earlier today I got a message telling me that one of the drives attached to my computer was nearly full. That seemed a bit surprising, but it also was clearly an issue I had to address, so I set about looking for unnecessary files on that volume. In doing so I “discovered” a folder full of raw files and a few Photoshop files that I had apparently transferred to the computer last year… and then forgot. Most of the files there turned out to be unneeded, and I reclaimed 5GB of disk space by deleting them. But among there were s small number of shorebird photographs that I had forgotten.

The photographs came from an amazing and surprising spur-of-the-moment visit to Monterey Bay last June. For weeks I had been hearing stories of whales coming very close to the shoreline, and I had even observed a few from the cliffs in the Big Sur area. A news story claimed that they were now inside Monterey Bay and even coming very close to the beaches an Moss Landing — and friends had photographs to prove it. So over the hill we went to go there ourselves. When we arrived we were, indeed, impressed by how close the whales came to the beach — I had no idea they did that. But as impressive was the huge collection of birds that was perhaps attracted to the same food sources that drew the whales. I had never seen such numbers of these birds along the coast. Among them were a large number of brown pelicans, so many that photographing them was almost too easy.


G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer and visual opportunist. 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.

Summer Evening, River Thames

Summer Evening, River Thames
Evening light on the River Thames, London

Summer Evening, River Thames. London, England. July 4, 2013. © Copyright 2013 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Evening light on the River Thames, London

In England on the Fourth of July (a bit ironic for an American, no?) we were out along the banks of the River Thames as the summer evening came on. We had wonderful weather during this visit — if anything it was too warm. A low deck of broken clouds covered the sky, but to the west the sky was clearer and the light streamed through the hazy air.

I think this photograph is probably more about the light than anything else. For some reason, when I found the image in my archive and began to work on it I barely thought about the subject at all — the light seemed to be enough. When I did look at it more closely I realized that the content of the image is really fairly ordinary — a dock in the foreground, a bit of the river bank. a tall building on the right and urban buildings across the river on the left, a bridge (a central subject in my view), the clouds, and the warm color of the evening light.


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.

Autumn Leaves, Tahoe Shoreline

Autumn Leaves, Tahoe Shoreline
Autumn Leaves, Tahoe Shoreline

Autumn Leaves, Tahoe Shoreline. Lake Tahoe, California. October 9, 2014. © Copyright 2014 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Colorful autumn leaves along the northern shore of Lake Tahoe, California

As part of a project that I’m working on I spent a few days photographing and exploring in the greater Lake Tahoe area in early October. I’ve gone to Tahoe for years, but mostly in the winter for cross-country or Telemark skiing or in the summer for family trips, back when we would occasionally get a cabin up there. Oddly, my experience with the lake in the fall was almost nonexistent.

So this trip was part of a process to fix that omission. I spent time in some of the surrounding areas where there can be some spectacular autumn color and I spent one full day circumnavigating the lake. It was on that day that I paused at the north end of the lake, just inside the California border, to photograph these colorful trees against the deep blues of the sky, mountains, and lake.


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.

Morning Reflection, Granite Ridge

Morning Reflection, Granite Ridge
Morning Reflection, Granite Ridge

Morning Reflection, Granite Ridge. Yosemite National Park, California. September 15, 2010. © Copyright 2010 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Morning light on shattered granite ridge reflected in a subalpine Lake

This is another older photograph, made on a late-season solo backpacking trip into the Yosemite backcountry back in 2010 for the purpose of making photographs. This time of year is my favorite in the High Sierra — beautiful weather, fewer visitors, no mosquitos, lovely light. In addition, and perhaps related to some of those other factors, this time of year seems slower and more relaxed.

I hiked in to this group of lakes on the first day, setting up camp late in the day. Over the course of several days I explored this lake carefully and also visited two higher lakes in this group, along with some surrounding high country. I’ve been to this place enough times now that I’ve begun to know its ins and outs, including alternate routes between places, the best times for particular sorts of light and so forth. I made this photograph in the early morning, while on a walk around the edge of the lake. The light was softened by some high clouds, and the surface of the lake was still mirror smooth.


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.