April 2022 End Notes

April ends, May only begins, but the year feels oddly old already. I don’t know why that is… but as usual, I have compiled some thoughts and links and updates for the end of the month, garnished them with some photos… and here they are, in my End Notes for April 2022. :)

Weather & On The Trail

At the end of March, after I published my March 2022 End Notes (which were a bit early), I hiked to Anza Borrego’s Inner Pasture with friends. We started at Agua Caliente County Park and went up Moonlight Canyon. This was the second attempt — I mentioned the first one in the March End Notes, when it was too bloody hot, and we went to the hot springs instead. While the hot springs were thoroughly enjoyable, the Inner Pasture was better. :)

It’s a real gem in spring and I had no idea — after all these years of desert hiking! Tiny flowers coming out of the gravel, hundreds of cacti in bloom, “forests” of Ocotillos, birdsong and the distant call of a roadrunner, rattlesnakes… 😬

I enjoyed it so much that I wanted to go again, this time with Shuwen, a few days later. We chose an easier looking approach, through a broader canyon — and it wasn’t that enjoyable, unfortunately. In the canyon, walking in the soft sand was exhausting, there was more exposure to the sun, and the center part of the Inner Pasture wasn’t as pretty as the northern section with its more dense stands of Ocotillos. Because I was really keen to photograph some specific flowers, I carried “Big Bertha” as well — and hauling a five pound lens over 7.5 miles in warm weather MAY have attributed to this less favorable experience… :P

Then a few days later, guess what: ANOTHER heatwave. Temperatures at our house reached 97℉ (36℃), on April 7th. APRIL SEVENTH! This weather is just plainly annoying, and any benefits from the late March rains were obliterated by this heat. We had brush fires, when we used to have storms and snow in April. Like so:

Okay, we did get a little cooler weather again, of course. But the general pattern of “some days with onshore flow and seasonal temperatures” followed by yet another round of dry Santa Ana winds remained persistent in April. Annoying. I do not even dare to hope that May will be more normal, with a deep marine layer, like it used to be.

Despite the strange weather and less than average rainfall, we actually had some surprisingly nice wildflower encounters, and most of the photos that I made in April are of course photos of flowers and plants. Every year I tell myself that I won’t get into a flower frenzy again, but then I found Chocolate Lilies! And Delicate Clarkia! And so many others that I had not seen and photographed before. Sigh. The amount of different flowers and plants that grow here is just absurd. As a result, this month’s End Notes are garnished with plenty of flower photos. And I’m sure I missed some that are new…

What’s still the same is that I’m hopelessly behind catching up with all the photos that I made in April. My April folder contains nearly twice as many photos as the March folder. It’s the damn macros and flower close-ups, of course! 😅 And I “bagged” some more peaks from the 100 Peaks list. Then add to that the photos from our two Death Valley trips in February, and the hikes we did in March… early 2032 seems like a realistic date to finish work on all those photos (if our planet is still inhabitable by then).

In the Backyard

The White-crowned Sparrows have left for the season (they’ll be back in fall) and “our” backyard coyotes haven’t shown up again. Finches and Mourning doves are regular visitors to our feeders, and of course a California Ground-Squirrel had also discovered the feeders, a while ago. And then it brought “a friend” — seeds and grains in a little bowl must be like fast food for them! And then a few weeks ago, a ball of two playing baby squirrels came rolling down the slope. Oh joy, they’re a family now! 😅

It’s said that those squirrels crowd out other species but in our backyard? I’m not sure if I should do anything about it… and what! Catch the entire squirrel family and relocate them to Lake Hodges? That’s going to be tricky…

Portfolio Updates

I have added a number of photos to my various portfolio galleries. I have updated the dates of these galleries, to match the one with the newest photo in them. If you visit the portfolio link, the galleries with the new additions are the first ones. :) Here are those photos.

Beautiful Things & Good Reads

Here are the most interesting articles I’ve read in April:

Cleaning Up More WordMess

The following will be most interesting to other WordPress users who contemplate building (or maintaining) a photo archive, or who are already dealing with (too) many photos on their WordPress sites. If you’re not at that geek level, you can just skip this section. :)

Since my photo archive is now on PhotoShelter, I continued to clean up the “leftovers” in the WordPress Media Library, removing photos that do not appear in any blog post, plant portrait or portfolio (while adding them to PhotoShelter, obviously).

The biggest problem is that WordPress doesn’t track where a photo (“attachment” in WordPress) is actually used. A pretty good indicator is where that photo is “attached” to. When the parent is my old “Photo Archive” page, chances are it’s not used anywhere… but not always! 🙄 So I have to manually check. If there was a plugin that scans the entire WordPress database and identifies completely unused photos and then spits out a list, with an option to directly delete — I’d pay for it!

Thanks to the Media Library Assistant (MLA) plugin, it is at least partially possible to get some insights into this — it doesn’t track photos in galleries that are automatically populated with WP/LR Sync though. Which is what I’m using to maintain my portfolio galleries and some of the themed galleries. So to verify that, I have to go back to Lightroom, find the photo there, and then make sure that it isn’t in any LR Collections that are published with WP/LR Sync…

The worst is when I used those photos as “decoration” in my Monthly End Notes — and nowhere else. There are plenty, of course. What do I do with them? Delete the photos from WordPress, and fix the old End Notes post? Waaay too much work. So I’m “re-attaching” them to the End Notes, and if I continue cleaning out older End Notes because they only consist of broken links and outdated information without value after five years, it will be easier to delete those photos then (because they will be “unattached” after deleting the post).

I’m slowly making my way through 120 pages of 50 images each in my WP Media Library. So far, I’ve deleted ~150 photos. If this task sounds quite mind-numbing: it is! So I’m fairly certain that I broke some older blog posts by deleting photos that SEEMED to not be used anywhere and slipped past my numbed mind (but who’s looking at all this old crap anyway… 😜). So if you, by pure chance, find a blog post with a broken image, let me know…

And then there are quite a few photos that I really, really like, for whatever irrational reason, and just can’t bring myself to delete. So I’m adding one of those here. :)

Blog Archive

The above mentioned cleanup has led to some “fun” discoveries — like photos that belong together, from a trip, but that had never made it into a (little) gallery, together. Undoubtedly, this happened because of my ever-growing processing backlog and the cherry-picking style of work that I did on it, in the past! :P Here’s one such grouping that I found. All photos were on my site already! 😂

Del Norte Coast

And of course there’s been another occasion where I had a draft of a blog post saved, and then never finalized it. The photos (and two videos!) in this one are from February 2021, when I hiked in my favorite part of the desert (for a change;-).

Coyote Mountains Wilderness Prominence Point

Changing Definitions

While building the archive on PhotoShelter, and trying to find a simple organization with just a bunch of galleries, I found that my definition of “intimate” photographs has changed, over time. Many of the photos that I had previously filed into the “Intimate” gallery went into the “normal” Landscape archive instead, and the “Intimate” gallery itself mostly contains even smaller scenes now.

I guess it’s only normal that our definitions and ideas change over time, and some photos will never perfectly fit the categories I’m trying to shoe-horn them into, but it was funny to look at the old “Intimate” archive, thinking: “why the heck are all these photos in there?!”

The above photo is not one I’d call “intimate”, either — just one that I found later and added it to the “The Landscape as Abstract” blog post/gallery, with images from Death Valley… :)

Recent Sales

Last not least — the two month dry spell of print sales ended in April. Phew. Thanks to the art buyers from Reston, Virginia, Diamond Springs, California, and also the licensee from Alpine, California.

And that’s it for the month of April. I hope you enjoyed the photos, links and insights. Enjoy the month of May!


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4 thoughts on “April 2022 End Notes”

  1. I had a good laugh about your squirrels. My folks have lots of squirrels in the neighborhood, which of course can reek havoc on feeding the birds as squirrels can empty a feeder far faster than birds (though they’re pretty good, too). So over the years my father tried one bird feeder design after another, looking for one that was “squirrel-proof.” I had thought it was a fool’s crusade but he actually found one. We were visiting a friend who claimed to have found the solution and he gave his to my father, and if the feeder is installed far enough away from any high points then it works perfectly. We’ve never seen a squirrel on it, and yet they can still feed along with the birds, they just do it on the ground with the seeds that drop. It’s a win-win for all. :-)

    I love that photo of the backlit Cholla cacti, the way the spines glow. Fantastic!

    Reply
    • Thank you, Todd! The two baby squirrels were doing synchronous sipping at the bird bath today. Can’t help it, they’re just adorable.

      The platform feeder isn’t squirrel proof either — at least not for the adults! They rarely go there though, and by the time they do, the birds have usually cleaned it all out anyway. :P

      Reply
  2. The Inner Pasture at Anza Borrego sounds wonderful. (Can’t imagine hauling the Big Bertha two miles, let alone 7.5). Why shouldn’t you get into a wildflower frenzy? Well, I sort of tell myself that too but it’s more like, “Keep your feet on the ground!” I guess it’s the same thing. And we have far fewer here than you do but that doesn’t matter, when you’re infected, you’re infected. Your Phaecelia reminded me of seeing a lovely field of another Phaecelia in western NC many years ago on the side of a dirt road back in the hills – and that flower was blue! So pretty.
    People on the local bird feed are talking about seeing loads of White-crowned sparrows. Your loss is our gain. I equate their plaintive song with Seattle because I used to hear them on city streets when I first moved to the PNW. We came back from Utah to find no birds at our feeders…still very few. Turns out “a hawk” has taken up residence, according to our close neighbor. I don’t know what species as I haven’t seen it. Oh well, such is life!
    Love the thorny tangle. The backlit Cholla, too. They are the kings of backlighting!
    I try to review my WP photo archive after publishing each post and remove anything I didn’t use. I’m sure I’ve missed some. And I get it about changing definitions but that’s life. We evolve, hopefully! Doesn’t have to be better or worse, just morphing. ;-)

    Reply
    • I had a client’s OM-D Mk III or something in my hand a few days ago, with the 14-150mm lens. What a nice and lightweight combo! The thought of a full frame camera must be horrifying to you, haha! :)

      The problem with the wildflowers is the amount of photos… I have MORE photos in my 2022 folder right now already than in the 2021 folder! Ugh. Maybe 2033 is too optimistic? ;)

      And morphing sounds great! :)

      Reply

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