Tag Archives: yellow

Evening Aspens, Kaibab Plateau

Evening Aspens, Kaibab Plateau
Evening Aspens, Kaibab Plateau

Evening Aspens, Kaibab Plateau. Near Grand Canyon, Arizona. October 18, 2014. © Copyright 2014 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

A grove of autumn aspen trees at the end of a meadow on the Kaibab Plateau

Back in the early autumn of 2014 I headed off to southern Utah for some significant time photographing — first on my own in the area around Kanab and points a bit east of there, then up to Capitol Reef to meet a friend for a few days, then out into a relatively off-the-grid area south of Escalante to photograph with another group of photographers, with a quick stop after that in the town of Boulder, and then west to Zion to meet family members for a few days. Whew! On my first day in Utah I ended up at a motel in Kanab, where I settled in by late afternoon. I originally figured it would be too late for photography, but I found myself with a few hours late in the day and no plans made. I looked at a map and saw the road heading south toward the north rim of Grand Canyon (where I had never been before — it is a long story) and thought, “what the heck, I’ll go to Grand Canyon!”)

I headed out of Kanab with a very amorphous plan to follow the road south, perhaps getting to the rim by sunset if I was lucky. I crossed the valley and began the climb up to the Kaibab plateau where, to my surprise, I found late season aspens along mountain meadows that still had some color. In the dusk light I stopped — I couldn’t help myself! — and made a few photographs of these slender, tall, and straight trees against the backdrop of bare aspens and the conifer forest beyond. (I eventually did get to the rim… but it was already deep in dusk when I arrived.)


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.

The Aspen Palette

The Aspen Palette
The Aspen Palette

The Aspen Palette. Sierra Nevada, California. October 16, 2011. © Copyright 2011 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Colorful eastern Sierra autumn aspen groves along US 395.

This is another photograph from a few years back that I rediscovered while reviewing many, many photographs for a project that I’m working on. I made the photograph in mid-October along highway 395 in the eastern Sierra, where the autumn colors had finally worked their way down from the higher regions toward the valleys. This large grove of aspens is a fall favorite of mine. The sub-grove extend mostly from left to right across the scene, and the genetically related trees of each group seem to change colors at different times and to end up with different coloration — and when my timing is just right and the season cooperates, almost the entire palette of possible aspen colors can appear here at once. In this photograph we have brilliant reds at the bottom of the frame, blending through orange toward yellow/gold, with a few still-green trees and even a few that have lost most of their leaves.

As I worked on this photograph recently I realized that I made it at a time that seemed much different in California. The two preceding winters had brought record levels of precipitation, the high country had opened late with snow remaining much later than usual, and there was water everywhere. This October visit to the eastern Sierra came near the end of the second wet summer, and it looked like we were about to be in for another wet winter, with early season storms. Then the tap was shut off, and we experienced three years are terrible drought. These trees and others in the range are now under a great deal of stress, and the past autumn was a bit of a strange one. And now, in the fourth year, the Sierra is still experiencing far below normal snowfall and far above-normal temperatures.


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.

Fading Autumn Color

Fading Autumn Color
Fading Autumn Color

Fading Autumn Color. Eastern Sierra Nevada, California. October 11, 1013. © Copyright 2013 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Eastern Sierra aspen trees near Conway Summit transition from full color to bare trunks

As I’ve worked on a project recently, I have been going through virtually almost all of my photographs of Sierra Nevada fall color, and along the way I have rediscovered photographs that I had forgotten or, in some cases, never really looked at seriously before. I know many photographers who have this same experience of wondering why they missed certain images when they made them, and then only “found” them much later when revisiting their archives. (I have some theories about how and why this happens, but I’ll save them for another time.)

There are some bands of aspens running up a narrow valley in this area of the eastern Sierra. I had seen them many times before but either they were not in the right condition, in poor light (their location makes light challenging), or I was unable to stop. On this particular visit I managed to find a place from which to view them, and the trees were at that wonderful stage when some leaves are in peak color but others have fallen, and the beautiful white trunks become more visible.


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.

Merced River, Branches, El Capitan

Merced River Reflections
Merced River Reflections

Merced River Reflections. Yosemite Valley, California. November 30, 2005. © Copyright 2005 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Branches in the still water of the Merced River with floating autumn leaves and the reflection of El Capitan, Yosemite Valley.

This photograph is almost a bit of an optical trick. I’ll let you look for a second and figure it out…

… Does it make sense now? The foreground is composed of some intertwining dead branches just above the surface of a very still section of the quiet, late autumn Merced River in Yosemite Valley. The leaves floating on and just beneath the surface of the water give it away. Because there are so many branches, their dark reflections seem, to me at least, to almost merge with the shapes of the actual branches, creating a complex pattern. And, reflected in the surface of the water and appearing as a backdrop to these elements, is the sunlit face of El Capitan.

I would love to tell a great story about making this photograph… but I don’t remember making it! I discovered it only recently while reviewing all of my old raw files, and all I can say for sure is that I made it on one of my annual late October trips to The Valley to photograph the fall colors. For those who follow the technical stuff, I made this photograph with some pretty low-level gear back at a time when I was experimenting with my first DSLR. The camera was the very humble (but better than some think, at least for this sort of thing!) Canon Digital Rebel XT, an early 8 MP body. Even more humble was the lens, the not so swell EFS 17-85mm Canon lens.

(Note: This was originally posted on September 21, 2011. I’m moving this photograph back up on the home page today as this is a new revision of the original photograph — the date of the revision is December 26, 2014)


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 Cottonwoods, Red Rock Cliffs

Autumn Cottonwoods, Red Rock Cliffs
Autumn Cottonwoods, Red Rock Cliffs

Autumn Cottonwoods, Red Rock Cliffs. Capitol Reef National Park, Utah. October 22, 2014. © Copyright 2014 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Cottonwood trees with autumn leaves along the Fremont River at the base of red rock cliffs

This was a long day of photography, beginning before dawn with a drive to the east side of Capitol Reef National Park for dawn photograph and then down toward the Burr Trail to explore some highland locations a bit later. We returned to our camp in the middle of the day for lunch (which, if I recall correctly, may have been a pie from the little shop near the campground!), a bit of camp business, followed by heading back out again for late-day photography.

We didn’t get far. We again headed east — I don’t recall now what the plan, if any, actually was — but we soon were distracted by subjects nearby along the road passing through the park: cottonwood and box elder trees in fall colors, the red sandstone cliffs, jumbles of rocks fallen from the canyon walls, and the Fremont River flowing through the canyon. Shortly before sunset we simply pulled over, go out, and headed of in individual directions to photograph until the light failed. This scene includes a small group of very colorful cottonwood trees growing along the edge of the Fremont River at the base of the red rock cliffs.


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, Potholes

Cottonwood Trees, Potholes
Cottonwood Trees, Potholes

Cottonwood Trees, Potholes. Utah. October 23, 2014. © Copyright 2014 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Cottonwood trees grow in potholes in the curving sandstone terrain

In the evening of our first day camped in this somewhat remote Utah location, we left camp and headed to a nearby sandstone landscape featuring the sorts of gullies, potholes, rounded domes, steep inclines, and curving patterns that are so common in this part of the world. Later we would walk further into the landscape, but on this first evening we only had time for a short visit.

The group walked up a steep slope and came to a landscape that is perhaps familiar to many who know this region, with some features that are often photographed by those who visit. The light was “complicated” — at times a beautiful glow came through high, thin clouds, but at times the cover thickened enough to truly mute the light. It is tempting — unavoidable, actually — to photograph certain subjects here in the ways that I have seen before. On the other hand, I also like to see such subjects for what they are and not just for what others seen in them. Wandering around the curving sandstone and skirting the edges of large potholes, I looked for juxtapositions of these rounded shapes with variations in color and with the cottonwood trees that grow sparsely here. The foreground tree seems to be at just about the peak of autumn color, even though the other tree a short distance away is still almost completely green.


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.

Colorful Giant Leaf

Colorful Giant Leaf
Colorful Giant Leaf

Colorful Giant Leaf. Garden, The Huntington, San Marino, California. November 28, 2014. © Copyright 2014 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

A giant leaf with brilliant fall colors, photographed lying on the ground

I have no clue what kind of leaf this is, and the location where I found it gave no hints. Usually if I find such a thing I can just look up and see the tree from which it came, but when I looked up from this leaf I could see nothing nearby with leaves even close to this one.

The leaf is huge — in my recollection it was well over a foot long. It was on the ground between some cacti and/or succulent plants in a desert garden at the Huntington. The colors were wild, and if there had been a tree full of huge and intensely colorful leaves like this one I would not have missed it! Initially I was attracted by the bright yellow color and the size, but the closer I looked the more I found that the other surprising colors caught my attention — bits of green, a spot of purple, and red highlights along some of the vein structure.


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.