February Summary

The misery of the severe drought has hit Southern California in full swing in February. Hillsides and pastures in the back country are so depressingly dry and brown, it’s shocking. Usually, February through May is a wonderful time here because everything is green, wildflowers and trees are in bloom, and creeks are running (I have enough photos to compare). So far however, there’s only been a little bit of green in the shelter of the shade of some riparian areas, and nowhere near as much as in the previous years (and 2012 and 2013 were already pretty bad and dry winters).

Tree with a Golden Eagle at Lake Henshaw, Warner Springs, California, United States.
Tree with Golden Eagle — Lake Henshaw, Warner Springs, California, United States.

It’s hard to cope with it for me. I grew up in Germany, and when green came back in Spring there, it was always such a relief. After what could often be 6 months of grey and cold (November through April), the burst of life by the end of April and in early May brought back the green until at least September. This “green time” here in Southern California is limited to February through May (and maybe June, but only at the highest elevations) – and now the drought limited it even more.

As I write this, two storm systems have reached California, a smaller one on Thursday and a big one on Friday. It’s the first storm of this type to reach California since December 2012, or more than 14 months. They did bring considerable amounts of rain for a single event, but total precipitation for the “rain year” (which starts on July 1st) is still way, way below average: for Los Angeles for example, it’s about 5 1/2 inches right now, and that’s still 6 1/2 inches below the average.

The rain of the past couple of days will hopefully be enough to kickstart the growth of fresh green now. I’m looking forward to some back country hikes in March! The gallery additions of February though are a direct reflection of these climate conditions – it’s all about the desert and the coast. Here’s a summary:

  • New galleries: “Arroyo Tapiado Mud Caves“, “Water, Vapor, Light
  • Additions to existing galleries: “Desert Florals“, “Desert Landscapes“, “Desert Monochrome“, “Badlands“, “Coastal Close-Ups” (formerly called “Ocean Up Close”, which was a pretty silly name), “Seascapes Monochrome“, “Hinterland
  • The February blog post archive contains new posts about outings to the coast and desert with some background information. I’m still catching up with those, sorry.
  • I’ve reached 40 accepted submissions to Seen.By – which means that my upload slots are all full now. The difficult task of removing photos to make room for newer ones begins again…
  • I pulled the “Desert by phone” gallery entirely; the few images that I still like are in the “Mobile Art” gallery now. I’ve yet to decide if I keep that one on the site in the long run. Phone photos with filters applied just look all the same, and I got bored by them rather quickly. There’s more to photographic art than slapping some filters, textures and hue-shifts onto a crappy cellphone JPEG! ;)

In other news… I’ll be running a regular monthly promotion now: around the middle of each month, I will select an image from my personal Favorites (hint: I do accept requests!) and offer it as a stretched canvas at a very low price, in a limited quantity, and for a limited time. I’m not doing this for the money. If they don’t sell, they don’t sell, and the chance to buy at that price won’t come back.

What else? I’ve been blogging on WordPress.com for quite a while already (the pauses were bigger than the posts though), but neglected it’s “social” aspect. It’s actually a really good platform that goes well beyond blogging. So in an effort to diversify my activities (and to offer users who are not using Flickr or Google+ an alternative to keep up with my photos), I’ve begun to post additions to the galleries and other photos there. I’ll try to keep this activity in sync, so if you prefer Flickr, then follow me on Flickr, if you prefer Google+, then follow me there, and so on. You get the idea. (I do share a little bit more on Google+ perhaps because I participate in one or the other photo “hashtag” theme there).

I think that’s it for February. See you around!

PS: If you’re from San Diego and love the back country like I do, and if you’re on Flickr, have a look at the “San Diego Back Country Landscapes” group that I created.

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