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Plants, Granite, Morning Light | by G Dan Mitchell
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Plants, Granite, Morning Light

Plants, Granite, Morning Light. Yosemite National Park, California. August 12, 2011. © Copyright 2012 G Dan Mitchell - all rights reserved.


A few sparse plants grow in thin cracks in granite slabs, Yosemite National Park.


Portions of the Sierra high country in Yosemite have been heavily glaciated. The evidence is widespread and familiar in all of its variations: domes, U-shaped canyons, remnant glacial ice-fields and a few vestigial glaciers, glacial erratics everywhere, a terrain crossed with the remains of lateral, medial, and terminal moraines. And it places, such as this area along Tioga Pass Road, there are huge expanses of granite slabs, sloping and rounded nearly solid rock broken by cracks and dikes and surrounded by the debris of gradual erosion.


Lots of things managed to live on and in these slabs. The tiniest cracks collect sand, then dust and gravel, and soon small plants spring up and even wildflowers. In some places - including the more distant ridge in this photograph - large trees manage to sustain themselves by growing entirely in these cracks. In this photograph I juxtaposed the nearby small plants crowing in a couple of shallow cracks with the receding sequence of rolling dome-like ridges with shattered rock and a few trees, some of which catch the early morning sun, with details softened by the (perhaps unusual, for landscape photography) use of a small aperture to minimize depth of field.


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.

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Taken on August 12, 2011