Photo of the Day: Cloud Shrouded Cliffs and Snow by G. Dan Mitchell

In Photo of the Day

Today’s Photo of the Day is a haunting shot from Dan Mitchell. Dan’s photos are always a favorite for photo of the day not only because they’re incredibly beautiful but he also has a great story along with each one.

Among my very favorite conditions in Yosemite Valley are those of winter or late-spring days when there is snow along the cliffs high above the Valley and clouds float along the cliff tops alternately revealing and hiding trees, cliffs, and granite spires. The story behind this photograph is, as is often the case, one of being distracted from the obvious thing by some other small thing that I could have overlooked if I hadn’t looked in the right direction at the right moment.

I was in the Yosemite Valley area for a day, primarily to shoot wildflowers in Merced Canyon below the park. Between my morning and evening shooting along the Merced, I headed up into the Valley to see what I could find. Frankly, although it is always beautiful to be in the Valley, I wasn’t seeing much of anything that inspired me to make photographs. I enjoyed my time there, but eventually decided to go to a slightly different area to see what I could find. On my way back to the Valley from that other place, I passed through Wawona Tunnel, had some extra time, and decided to at least pull out briefly at tunnel view and have a look around. The scene is always tremendous, with the astonishing Valley and all of its impossible features spread before you – but it isn’t always worth trying to turn this into a photograph. I’m spoiled enough that I don’t always even take the camera out when I stop there, and this was one of those days. I left my gear in the car and just walked to the overlook to, well, look for a minute before driving on. I have a habit of looking all around when I’m in such a place since sometimes a subject can be found that is not the primary iconic thing. So I looked around… and high above and way off to the side I saw the clouds gathering around a few of the granite spires, with an occasional beam of light shining through. Ignoring the Valley itself, I now quickly returned to my car, put a long lens on the camera, put the camera on the tripod… and from the back of my car and in the parking lot (sigh… 😉 I made a series of photographs of these fog-shrouded snowy cliffs.

Great stuff as always, Dan. Thanks for sharing!

Be sure to check out Dan’s photoblog, it’s one of the best out there. You can find him at gdanmitchell.com and of course there’s always his photos on Flickr.

Photo by G. Dan Mitchell

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