Monsoonal clouds above the Pacific Ocean, Big Sur coast, California
Driving along the central California Big Sur coastline in mid-July we experienced a very unusual coastal summer day. Summers in this area typically feature morning and evening fog and relatively cool temperatures, interspersed with clearer days when the temperatures might rise to near 70 degrees. But for a few days this July, California was affected in an unusual way by a dissipating tropical storm and the early phase of El Niño, and we had unusual manifestations of light and atmosphere and more. There were thunderstorms, some of them quite heavy. The ocean was smoother than usual and the swell came from the south rather than the north. Layers of unusual monsoon clouds filled the sky.
This photograph belongs to what I categorize as both minimalist and imaginary landscapes... (continued: http://www.gdanmitchell.com/2015/07/29/monsoonal-clouds-pacific-ocean)
#pacificocean #pacificcoast #ocean #clouds #minimalism #seascape #landscape #nature #monochrome #monochromephotography #blackandwhite #blackandwhitephotography #bigsur
People in front of a San Francisco storefront at night
At about this time last year I made an important “discovery during a trip to Manhattan” — with newer cameras I can photograph at high enough ISOs that it is possible (and even easy) to do handheld night street photography. And since I use a small mirrorless camera for street photography, I can even do this sort of photography without carrying around a big camera and lenses. I’ve long been a night photographer, but generally the type to sets up a tripod and approaches this genre more or less the same way I approach landscape photography, but with longer exposures. Much longer! But this new development is tremendously liberating. Using a large aperture prime I can walk around and spontaneously respond to what I see, and I can capture brief and ephemeral moments in the wild and beautiful light of the urban night.
This photograph exemplifies one way that I’ve always shot street photography, though now adapted to the night. I begin by finding an interesting bit of urban landscape — buildings, light, color, texture, form. I find a composition that will work… and then I wait. Sometimes the wait is brief and sometimes it is long. I wait for people to populate this “landscape,” and to ideally configure themselves into some interesting combination... (continued: http://www.gdanmitchell.com/2015/07/27/asian-styles)
#sanfrancisco #chinatown #nightphotography #nocturne #street #streetphotography
Headlands stretch into the distance beyond a cove and beach, Big Sur
We just returned from a two-day jaunt along the Central California coast. This is familiar territory, as I’ve been visiting this part of California since I was a child, and I have been photographing it almost as long. (Some of my earliest photographic memories include using old film cameras borrowed from my father to make photographs at Point Lobos.) Most of my visits are on day trips, so it is special to be able to spend more than a single day at a time photographing here.
We had unusual conditions and we saw a number of unusual things this time. The remnants of tropical storm Dolores have affected the weather, bringing unusual amounts of tropical moisture to the state and setting of big thunderstorms. We had no such storms on the coast — though they had swept through a day or two earlier — but there was high humidity, a lot of clouds, and warm temperatures... (continued: http://www.gdanmitchell.com/2015/07/24/headlands-cove-coastal-haze)
#pacificocean #pacificcoast #bigsur #seascape #nature #pacificcoasthighway #pch #blackandwhite #blackandwhitephotography #monochrome #monochromephotography #landscape #landscapephotography
Trees grow on a small, rocky island in the Tuolumne River, Yosemite National Park
This first evening on a recent trip to the Yosemite high country turned out to be a special one in several ways. I arrived in the park in the middle of the day and was fortune to snag a camp site at Tuolumne Meadows. (The place is busy and often full during the summer high season, but certain strategies can increase the odds — for example, I arrived on Sunday at just about the time that folks had to check out of the camp ground.) I set up my simple camp, lounged around a bit, and then it was time to head out and look for photographs. I headed back along Tioga Pass Road, making note of several possibilities as I passed the meadow, then turned around to go back to one of them. Along the way I decided to pull over to take in the view and by lucky coincidence I pulled in right behind my friends Michael and Claudia. We ended up heading out across the meadow to a likely photography location. Within moments a couple caught up with us — another group of friends, Charlotte and Gary!
The group of us continued hiking along the river, eventually reaching a beautiful area where the slope increased, the channel narrowed, and the river picked up speed. Here it glides across granite slabs, bounces around and across boulders, and occasionally pools for a moment in hollows in the valley... (continued: http://www.gdanmitchell.com/2015/07/22/island-and-trees-tuolumne-river)
#landscape #landscapephotography #nature #naturephotography #alpine #mountains #sierra #sierranevada #yosemite #yosemitenationalpark #nationalpark #wilderness #wildernessphotography
Morning light on trees and granite slabs along the shoreline of Tenaya Lake
I think this photograph combines several elements that I find attracting in my landscape work. I have written that I sometimes like to photograph along the “edges of the light,” the boundaries between shadow and sunlight that move across landscapes, especially when it is early or late in the day and/or when the landscape is surrounded by higher ridges. This photograph was made in early morning, in an area where the sunlight does not arrive until some time after dawn. When the light does come, it works its way down the granite slabs on the left as beams of light pass across the valley from the right. I also love to work with haze. (I often am baffled by photographers who always want crystal clear atmosphere — that can be beautiful, too, but it can also be stark and obvious.) There was plenty of haze on this morning, and the light shining through it partially obscures the background forest. And the photograph is rendered in black and white. While I don’t think of myself as a “black and white photographer,” I frequently find myself seeing scenes like this one in monochrome. Perhaps that goes back to my roots as a photographer.
There is something a bit unusual about this landscape, too — a road bed features prominently in the scene!...(continued: http://www.gdanmitchell.com/2015/07/20/shoreline-trees-morning)
#blackandwhite #blackandwhitephotography #monochromemonday #monochrome #monochromephotography #yosemite #yosemitenationalpark #sierra #sierranevada #landscape #landscapephotography #nature #naturephotography
Monsoonal clouds above the Pacific Ocean horizon, Big Sur, California
This photograph and the one that will follow it belong to a small sub-thread in my photography, but a thread that means a lot to me. I think of these photographs as both imaginary and minimalist landscapes. They are “imaginary” in that they are about the subjective experience of the place and an invented or focused way of seeing it, and they are “minimalist” in that they are about simple forms and patterns, and because they often include large “empty” or near empty areas. These are not remotely photographs that are attempting to show the objective nature of places. They are photographs that are about some subjective way of seeing things. I often say that “all photographs lie,” but it might be more honest to say that “all photographs have a point of view.”
I’m not sure that the specific location or subject is all that relevant to this photograph, but since it is my habit to say something about that when I share photographs online, here goes. We spent a few days along the central California coast in mid-July. This is a very familiar place, but several things were unusual this time — and they may have put me in a somewhat different perceptual state. Monsoonal moisture was streaming up the coast from a Pacific Ocean tropical storm near Mexico... (continued: http://www.gdanmitchell.com/2015/07/28/pacific-ocean-clouds)
#pacificocean #pacificcoast #ocean #seascape #landscape #abstractphotography #minimalism #blackandwhite #blackandwhitephotography #monochrome #monochromephotography #nature #naturephotography
A small Sierra Nevada timberline meadow in morning light, surrounded by rocky alpine terrain
This photograph comes from a long visit to the Sierra back-country in September of 2013. A group of photographers made our way into the high backcountry of Kings Canyon National Park (with the help of pack animals) and set up there to make photographs in this 11,000+’ region for the better part of a week. We remained camped in one spot for the entire time. That might seem less exciting that moving on and covering more ground in the Sierra — and experience that I have also had. However, by remaining in one spot we were able to learn the personality of that specific little area much more deeply and to see it in various conditions: morning and evening, rain and fair weather, and more.
This is a humble little photograph — no towering peaks, building clouds, dramatic weather here. However, I got to know this little spot quite well during our visit... (continued: http://www.gdanmitchell.com/2015/07/26/timberline-meadow-morning)
#landscape #landscapephotography #nature #naturephotography #wilderness #wildernessphotography #sierra #sierranevada #sequioakingscanyon #sequoiakingscanyonnationalpark #seki #kingscanyonnationalpark #nationalpark
Autumn plants growing at the base of a sandstone cliff
It seems that we have arrived at that time when each year my thoughts begin to turn again to autumn photography. That is probably my favorite season as it includes those final warm days of Indian summer, the first inkling of the coming winter, the annual color transition as trees lose their leaves, and the first real winter weather — all of which are favorite photographic subjects of mine. (I’ll be paying special attention to Sierra Nevada fall color this coming season, for a number of reasons, but especially since this is the first autumn following the publication of my book on the subject: “California’s Fall Color: A Photographer’s Guide to Autumn in the Sierra” from Heyday Press.)
So, an autumn photograph! This one comes from last October, when I had the opportunity to make a photography trip through some of may favorite areas of southern Utah. Partway through the trip I met up with my friend and fellow photographer, ... (continued: http://www.gdanmitchell.com/2015/07/25/base-of-the-cliff)
#utah #utahlandscape #capitolreef #capitolreefnationalpark #nationalpark #landscape #landscapephotography #southwest #nature #naturephotography
Morning fog rises from Tuolumne Meadows toward surrounding forest and ridges
I was up quite early on this morning, and with a plan to drive a bit to photograph a particular subject as it was struck by the first dawn light. In the dark I got dressed, crawled out of my tend, got in my vehicle, and quietly left the campground. Within a few hundred yards of the campground exit my plans changed. A low fog lay across almost the entirety of Tuolumne Meadows, shallow in places and deeper in others, partially obscuring trees and domes. In the pre-dawn light the scene was one of very low contrast and not altogether interesting color, but I suspected that once the sun begin to come over the Sierra crest that it might strike the fog and create some interesting effects. So, out the window with the original plan, and now to see what I could make of my new plan.
I headed to the far end of the meadow where I figured that several potentially interesting things would happen. First, the fog was likely to be back-lit once the sun hit it. Second, I could shoot back across large sections of the fog-blanketed meadow and do so from a slight elevation. Third, I knew that I could position myself so that interesting ridges and trees might appear in the frame. In fact, it all worked out! As the sun rose high enough to illuminate the drifting fog, it began to rise and form more distinct patterns... (continued: http://www.gdanmitchell.com/2015/07/23/dawn-fog-and-haze-tuolumne-meadows)
#yosemite #yosemitenationalpark #nationalpark #sierra #sierranevada #fog #foggy #landscape #landscapephotography #nature #naturephotography #dawn
A small group of trees in morning light atop a glaciated Sierra Nevada ridge.
This photograph includes many of the things that say “Yosemite” to me: the broken granite ridge of glaciated granite, the bluish morning haze, the small group of trees with space between them, ridges receding into the distance. Other things say “Sierra Nevada” to me, but these seem closely connected to the high country of this particular part of the Sierra.
This is a location that I (and, no doubt, quite a few others) have photographed many times, in a variety of conditions of light, atmosphere, weather, and time of year. I almost always stop here when I cross the Sierra through the park. On this morning I wasn’t making a stop while in transit to another place — this area was my destination... (http://www.gdanmitchell.com/2015/07/21/trees-glaciated-ridge)
The day’s last light catches the autumn leaves of a cottonwood tree, Capitol Reef National Park, Utah
I made a long trip to Utah to photograph last fall, mostly photographing in the southwest and south-central part of the state. At times I worked alone, exploring slot canyons, washes, and back roads at my leisure. Later I met up with various other folks: photographers from California and Utah, relatives who were also visiting the state, and eventually members of my family. It may surprise some people to hear that I was almost completely unaware of the beauties of southern Utah until recently. (My family had passed through the state many times when I was young, but always through empty, arid regions that did not appeal to me then. Somehow they never showed me the spectacular red rock country, and consequently I thought of Utah as an empty and arid place.)
During the first week of the trip, after several days on my own, I met up with my friend and fellow California photographer in Capitol Reef National Park, where we camped and explored and photographed for several days... (continued: http://www.gdanmitchell.com/2015/07/19/cottonwood-tree-evening)
#utah #utahphotography #utahlandscapephotography #landscape #landscapephotography #fall #fallfoliage #autumn #autumnleaves #nature #naturephotography
- G Dan Mitchell is a visual opportunist and photographer of the Pacific coast, the Sierra Nevada, redwood forests, central California oak/grasslands, California deserts, urban landscapes, night photography and much more. My photography blog features daily photographs along with news and commentary. Information about purchasing prints and licensing photographs is available here or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Also: Faculty member at De Anza College.
- G Dan Mitchell PhotographyPhotographer, presentG Dan Mitchell is a California fine art photographer and visual opportunist whose primary subjects include the Pacific coast, redwood forests, central California oak/grasslands, the Sierra Nevada, California deserts, urban landscapes, night photography, and more. Faculty Member at De Anza College.
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