For a seldom-seen view of Yosemite's Half Dome, avoid the treacherous hike and instead head to Vegas.
Mitchum captured the image, with its crisp shades of gold, blue and orange, at sunset on May 4.
"You need the right sky," he said. "You need the right clouds. You need the right light."
"I was in Cook's Meadow, and I had my Kodak camera," Mitchum told me. "Ansel was just walking around. He asked, 'Do you mind if I look through your viewfinder?' I said, 'Sure.' I was overwhelmed because I knew who he was.
"He looked through the viewfinder and he said, 'Hey, you got it.'"
Mitchum's destiny as a photographer was sealed.
The Eastern Sierra continues to be a source of inspiration for the San Diego resident. The master copy of his "Third Day," a mountain scene with spectacular fall foliage in the foreground, recently sold for $1.8 million.
The "Range of Light" original replaces "Third Day" as the showcase piece of Mitchum's MGM Grand gallery. The photographer hopes to eventually sell it for seven figures, but a limited edition of 25 prints costs a little less.
More than half the prints are already sold, and with each purchase, the price increases by about $2,500. As of late July, a print could be bought for about $25,000.
"This [photo] is 20-something years of my life trying to get everything to come together," he said.
The Bellagio gallery is open 10 a.m.-8 p.m. daily. The hours at the MGM location are 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays and until 11 p.m. weekends.