Tag Archives: site

Mining Relic, Death Valley

Mining Relic, Death Valley
Mining Relic, Death Valley

Mining Relic, Death Valley. Death Valley National Park, California. April 2, 2014. © Copyright 2014 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

A piece of rusted and weathered metal from an abandoned mining site, Death Valley National Park

Between having our sunrise light interrupted by an incoming storm (though it was not a compete washout) and retreating from the road past the charcoal kilns in heavily falling snow, we stopped for a while at the old Harrisburg site, where Harris and Aguereberry ran a mine for a number of years. (They reportedly didn’t get rich, but they also avoided going bust—the story is that they extracted enough ore to make it work.)

Calling the place “Harrisburg” is perhaps over-selling it a bit! There is a small cluster of cabins—three, to be precises—tucked up into a slight indentation at the base of a low hill in a high, broad Panamint Range valley.The mine is found at the far end of the hill and around its far side, and a variety of mining detritus litters the landscape: remnants of old rails leading into the mine, some impressive scaffolding, lots of rusted stuff, an old abandoned vehicle. The cabins are in a state of advanced decay. They still have walls and some interior walls and flooring are still there, though increasing numbers of holes have appeared. Enough remains to give you an idea of what life might have been like here. In some ways it seems very simply and primitive, but in other ways surprisingly modern. As we poked around near the mine I found this old hunk of weathered sheet metal hanging from some wooden structures.

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.

Desert Automobile Graveyard

Desert Automobile Graveyard
Desert Automobile Graveyard

Desert Automobile Graveyard. Death Valley National Park, California. March 4, 2013. © Copyright 2013 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

A group of old automobiles abandoned and left to decay in a gully at an old desert mining site

I have passed this old mining site quite a few times, looked up at it, and kept going. On this morning I had a bit of extra time so I decided to pause and poke around a bit. Certain obvious signs of the presence of an old mine are clear from nearby, but a bit more exploration revealed a more extensive than expected site – as is often the case. Although an old gravel road headed into the area, I decided to first walk up the road, partly to avoid nasty surprises while driving and partly so that I would see a bit more – which is typically what happens when I’m on foot rather than inside my vehicle.

The gravel road twisted up a small gully and soon reached an area that revealed views of quite a bit more mining evidence than I had suspected. I’m certain that if I had continued to explore that I would have found even more, but I’ll save that for another visit. I often have this feeling that these sites should be much older than they really are, and I’m still somewhat surprised to find that some of them were electrified. The surprise at this location was the number of not-really-that-old vehicles that had been abandoned. They are decades old, but I’m guessing that they might date to roughly the WWII era or even a bit later which, in the grand historic scheme, isn’t all that long ago. Several of these vehicles had been abandoned, somewhat oddly, in the bottom of a wash that must flood at least occasionally, considering the amount of gravel that swamped their undersides. The back of this one was open, so I positioned my tripod just outside the car and shot through it toward the other abandoned vehicles. (If you find and explore such places, please be extremely careful to leave things as they are. The effects of our individual disruptions are cumulative and accelerate the destruction and eventual disappearance of these sites.)

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.

Canon 6D is Arriving – With Price Reductions

Shortly after releasing the Canon EOS 5D Mark III (and the Canon EOS-1DX and assorted other goodies), Canon announced a forthcoming less-expensive full-frame DSLR, the EOS 6D, a 20+ MP with a range of attractive features and a price barely above $2000. Right now site-sponsor B&H is offering a $200 “instant savings” on the Canon EOS 6D Digital Camera with Canon 24-105mm f/4.0L IS Lens bundle that lowers the cost of the lens and camera to only $2,699. The product is also eligible for the B&H “2% reward” – read more about that at the link.

Where does the 6D fit into the Canon eco-system? I think that for many people looking for a first full-frame body, and for many whose primary consideration is purely image quality, the 6D is going to hit the sweet spot. A 20 MP full frame image, assuming you shoot with skill and understand how to post-process, can produce an outstanding print in sizes much larger than the typical user will ever produce. There is every reason to think that the image quality produced by this camera will be essentially indistinguishable from that produced by the fine Canon EOS 5D Mark III. I have not used the camera, but from many reports I have read from those who have had their hands on a copy, it sounds like it will be a fine performer.

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.

Building 45, Rain and Shadows

Building 45, Rain and Shadows - Black and white night photograph of Building 45 with rain and shadows, Mare Island Naval Ship Yard
Black and white night photograph of Building 45 with rain and shadows, Mare Island Naval Ship Yard

Building 45, Rain and Shadows. Mare Island Naval Ship Yard, California. November 17, 2012. © Copyright 2012 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Black and white night photograph of Building 45 with rain and shadows, Mare Island Naval Ship Yard

Having shot at Mare Island so many times, and having never encountered any weather challenges more daunting than a little wind or some night-time cold, I suppose I was due for some rain. And we got it on this visit. This being the annual “Nocturnes Alumni Night” event, people arrived much earlier than necessary for night photography – during the daylight hours mostly. As we met and shared photographs and then pizza, the conversation occasionally turned to the question of, “When will the weather front arrive tonight?” The most optimistic among us thought that it might not rain at all. Others thought it would hold off until after we were done shooting. Still others – including those of us with smart phones running weather radar applications – were not so sure that we would escape the weather this time, since it looked like the front would pass over us very shortly after we planned to start shooting.

The pessimists were right this time! Less than a half hour after we dispersed into the darkness to begin our work, it was already sprinkling, and within a few more minutes the front arrived and it began to rain in earnest. Along with another group of Nocturnes, I quickly moved to the shelter of one of the old mansions and hung out on the porch. The front wasn’t large, and after an hour or so the rain had diminished to the point that I could venture back out again. (To those who wonder about such things, the combination of night and rain is not conducive to being out and about making photographs.) I headed back over into the “historic core” area near the waterfront as the sprinkles continued, eventually ending up at this spot, near the end of building 45. Access wasn’t as easy as usual due to construction in the area and due to that darned rain! However, the rain created special conditions for night photography, adding a reflective gleam to all of the wet surfaces. The lighting here is from nearby street lights and security lights, and the sodium vapor lamps create a very garish yellow effect in color photographs – so I decided that I would take this one in the black and white direction. The patter on the wall at the right is a shadow from the huge gantry structure that towers above this spot.

G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer 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.

Website and Affiliate News

Every so often it seems like time to do a bit of updating around the blog, and I’m embarking on a bit of that work here at the end of the summer season. Some of the changes are minor or even invisible, but you may notice others as you look around the blog – now and during upcoming weeks. One change has been to move some affiliate links to where you can find them a bit more easily in the right sidebar of the blog.

B&H Photo is the well known vendor of photography, video, audio, and many other products – with an impressive storefront in New York City and a great online store that carries just about anything photographic that you might need or want.

Craft And Vision eBooks

Craft & Vision has pioneered the creation and sales of excellent and inexpensive eBooks on a wide range of photographic topics, and written by a group of experienced photographers.

ThinkTank Photo

ThinkTank Photo produces and sells a range of very high quality and innovative photographic bags and related gear. My primary gear bag is their Airport Acceleration bag.

I personally purchase and use products from each of these vendors. I’m grateful when you make purchases through these links since they help support the blog and you get the same prices on great gear. If you find the information at this blog useful, consider making your purchases through these links. Thanks!

© Copyright 2012 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer 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.

Photographing Icons – Or Not

Yesterday I shared elsewhere a photograph that someone had posted featuring a line-up of scores of photographers, arrayed tripod-to-tripod, ready to photograph one of those iconic views that we all know so well. I suspect that we have all been to such places and either found the experience of seeing and photographing them to be powerful… or we might have been repulsed by the crowds of people all apparently trying to “capture” the same thing, among them perhaps a number of folks who might be trying to almost literally recreate versions of the scene that they had seen elsewhere.

The point of the share (seen here and here) was not complimentary. My reaction to the photograph was to wonder, even more than usual, why people would want to make photographs that way. I phrased it as, more or less, “yet another reason to avoid photographing icons.”

However, a person wrote to me after I posted and pointed out, with a bit of anger and with some justification I think, that complaining about and putting down those who want to photograph a beautiful place might seem a bit pretentious and self-righteous.

She has a point.

While there is something a bit troubling about seeing dozens of people lined up to make the very same photograph, some of us might be a bit too quick to jump to overly negative conclusions. Perhaps there is a way to cast this as a positive lesson, rather than ridicule. So let me engage in a bit of reflection and honesty. Continue reading Photographing Icons – Or Not

Updated Lens Reviews: Canon EF 17-40mm f/4 L, 24-105mm f/4 L IS, 70-200mm f/4 L IS

I’ve been posting to this blog in one form or another for over a half-dozen years now. One side effect of this is that certain articles that made sense when posted years ago end up looking pretty dated today! I found several of those while doing some maintenance on the site today. A couple mentioned my then-current 8MP cropped sensor camera and so forth – gear I haven’t used for years.

With that in mind, I have updated the following posts:

All three are lenses that are core elements of my own kit. (They are also included in the current Canon ‘Instant Rebate” promotion that runs for about another week!)

G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer 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.