Dan Mitchell


Email: mitchelldan@deanza.edu

Since I am a retired faculty member, you should contact current Music Department faculty members with general questions about classes and/or department programs.


I am also a photographer. Many know my landscape photography, but I also do nature, night, street, and travel photography

My book, California’s Fall Color: A Photographer’s Guide to Autumn in the Sierra (Heyday Books, Berkeley) was published in the summer of 2015.

Two of my night photography prints were accepted into the Nocturnes and Noir exhibit at the Harvey Milk Photo Center in San Francisco, February 11 through April 2, 2017.

For the fifth consecutive year my photography was selected for inclusion in the Yosemite Renaissance exhibit in Yosemite Valley after which the show tours California.

Five of my prints were included in The Great Certainty: Photographs Commemorating 100 Years of National Park Stewardship at the Ansel Adams Gallery in Yosemite Valley in 2016.

In September 2016 I presented book talks at several Bay Area REI stores.

Each October I exhibit at San Francisco Artspan Open Studios with Studio Nocturne SF — a San Francisco Bay Area night photography collective.

De Anza College has a wonderful photography program — consider enrolling in a photography class!

I retired from the De Anza College faculty at the end of the spring 2017 term. From time to time I may add updates about my current activities to the bottom of this page. Archived course materials on this website are no longer current.

Those looking for information about the music department or the college should check the De Anza College website or contact a current Music Department faculty member.

My Story

I am fortunate to have had a wonderful career in education and music, and I’m grateful to students and colleagues who made teaching a rewarding and meaningful experience. (In a reflective moment during my final term I realized that more than 20,000 students have been in my classes!)

Submerged Boulders, Lake, and Cliffs

Submerged Boulders, Lake, and Cliffs.

During a previous millennium I earned a Master of Music degree in Theory and Composition from San Jose State University where I studied electronic music with Allen Strange. As a student I worked closely with electronic instrument builder Don Buchla and performed live electronic music with Biome and The Electric Weasel Ensemble and others. As a professional trombonist I performed a wide variety of music ranging from rock to jazz and classical.

My first teaching assignment was in 1977-79 as para-professional teacher of sight singing and ear training labs at Foothill College. From 1979-1989 I was an adjunct faculty member at Foothill, De Anza, Ohlone, and Mission Colleges, teaching electronic musicintroduction to musicmusic fundamentals, and music reading. I first taught at De Anza in the 1980 winter term after being hired to teach electronic music (using an analog monophonic synth and an open-reel tape recorder), and I soon began to teach Introduction to Music classes. Meanwhile I continued to work as a professional musician, and for a time I was the stage manager for the San Jose Symphony.

je suis bleu

Sidewalk, graffiti covered wall, and women (virtual and real) on a Paris street

I joined the De Anza full-time faculty in 1989, teaching mostly Electronic Music and Introduction to Music classes. During my tenure I was president of the Academic Senate, worked on many committees, led workshops for faculty and others, co-chaired accreditation self-study teams, taught the first online class at the college, and even created the first De Anza College website in the 1990s. I was an Apple Distinguished Educator, a participant in the New Media Consortium, and one of the original participants in the California @ONE project.

My Other Life

In my other life I am an award-winning published photographer working as G Dan Mitchell. I exhibit, sell prints, license photographs, and write on photographic subjects. My photography has been exhibited at The Ansel Adams Gallery in Yosemite Valley, the annual Yosemite Renaissance exhibition, the Harvey Milk Photo Center, San Francisco ArtSpan Open Studios (where I exhibit with the night photography group Studio Nocturne SF), The Stellar Gallery, and other locations including public and private facilities in Death Valley National Park, the Carmel area, San Francisco, Chicago, and in Europe and Australia. My photographs appear in books and magazines, and I present talks on photographic subjects. I am the author of California’s Fall Color: A Photographer’s Guide to Autumn in the Sierra (Heyday Books, Berkeley), 2015.

Shoreline Reflections, Tenaya Lake

Shoreline Reflections, Tenaya Lake

Retirement from De Anza is a beginning rather than an ending. It feels a bit like graduating and heading out into the world all over again! My professional photography, now becomes my full-time focus.


Immediately following the end of the spring 2017 term we flew to New York City where we have family… and where I love to photograph.

Caffe Roma

As always, I spent much of the summer period making photographs, often in the Sierra Nevada and especially in the Yosemite high country.

Morning Reflection

At the end of August and beginning of September I joined a group of fellow photographers for more than a week of wilderness photography at a remote back-country location in the Eastern Sierra.

Alpenglow, Ridge and Valley

In late September — while many of you were starting your first week of classes — I headed out across California and Nevada (via highway 50, “the loneliest highway in America”) for my first visit to Great Basin National Park, a place I have wanted to explore and photograph for some time. I was fortunate to arrive on the heels of an early autumn snow storm, just as fall colors were getting started.

Wheeler Cirque, Autumn Snow

In early September I photographed in the Seattle area, doing street photography in Seattle and landscape photography in the North Cascades.

Storyville Coffee

During September and October I photographed a number of subjects in a variety of locations, many focusing on the autumn season. In early October I visited many places in the eastern Sierra to photograph (mostly) fall color.

Tall Autumn Aspen Trees

In late October I was in the Yosemite area for the opening of a gallery show, and I took the opportunity to spend a few days in and around the park. This scene of wildfire smoke settling among forest trees in early light came from that visit.

Forest, Wildfire Smoke

Near the end of October I joined my Studio Nocturne SF colleagues to present a night photography Artspan 2017 Open Studio in San Francisco. It was a very successful event, and we donated several thousand dollars from the proceeds to support North Bay Wildfire relief efforts.

Hotel, Narrow Street

This website’s free hosting service may insert commercial messages that I do not control or endorse.