It’s been rather quiet here on the blog. For the beginning of June, the reason was more behind-the-scenes work that will be mentioned in my next End Notes. The other reason is that I contracted the damn coronavirus and fell ill with COVID-19.
But now it is the middle of the month, and I did find the energy to compile the usual “throwback”, with photos from and words about activities from ten years ago, in June 2012. This is also the first anniversary of the throwbacks — I began doing them in June 2021, looking back at June 2011. :)
June in Southern California, and especially near the coast, is often dominated by more marine stratus that block the sun — the continuation of May Gray, even though the clouds in June are often more shallow and limited to the immediate coast. This is a good opportunity to make long exposure seascape photos, and I practiced that a bit in June 2012.
The month began with a hike in the Laguna Mountains though, and one photo that I’m quite fond of is this one, of some anonymous ridges that aligned in a very nice way I thought, at the transition zone into the desert that lies further east:
From the same day is also the triptych of Forest Dandelion; one of the photos is the feature image for this post. We were hiking with our friend Detlev if I recall, and he had extension tubes that he let me play with. I combined one with a 50mm prime lens for those photos.
With this reignited curiosity for macro photos, I noticed some ornamental (non native) flowers one morning, and had to get closer, of course. Flowers Around The House contains three photos, and my favorite is this one:
Towards the middle of the month, I hiked to Dry Lake again, in the San Gorgonio Wilderness. I took a different route than the one we chose in July 2011, because I wanted to see the supposedly southernmost grove of Aspen trees in California (I have not been back but after the 2015 fire in the area, I do wonder whether anything remains and if the Aspen grove will grow back in this changing climate). No photos worth showing were made, but it was memorable, nevertheless, because it was a long, long day and hike:
15.5 miles out and back to be precise, and with two hours of driving on both ends. Towards the end, I was pretty much toast and it was getting dark when little Toni, after having hiked this distance with me, took off to chase after another squirrel, in the woods! Luckily, she decided to end the pursuit quickly. Maybe I had managed to deplete her then seemingly limitless, still youthful energy, for once…
During a walk along the north shore of Lake Hodges, near the community of Del Dios, I came upon this mixture of “escaped” Pride of Madeira (Echium candicans, a non-native plant that does well in Southern California’s climate) growing under a nice stand of Coast Live Oaks. Strange, but I like the colors and shapes of this photo — maybe because the plant was just not yet in bloom.
We went for walks at the beach of course, so that Toni could get her “regular dosage” :) of sniffing around and getting sand under her paws. This is quite typical June Gloom weather, at “our” tide pools of Tabletop Reef:
As mentioned, I practiced some long exposure work. The neutral density filters always add a certain color cast, and back then I apparently thought this was an interesting thing! xD Today, I would certainly develop these photos differently, but when I put this Gloomy Morning at Flat Rock triptych together, I chose to embrace it.
I practiced more long exposures at Windansea Beach — this is in fact a photo that I only recently re-discovered/re-developed:
At Sunset Cliffs, there was also a marine layer! And I also made long exposures, there! :D
More towards the end of the month, we went for walks at Los Penasquitos Canyon which, with its west-east orientation, often has a nice breeze that makes it pleasant even on days without a marine layer. This particular photo was later on used as the background image for the small door signs at each exam room in a local hospital, where I was working with an art consultant who had chosen some of my work for this project:
We returned to the canyon twice more. On a morning walk I noticed some four-legged animals in the distance and thought “who’s letting their dogs run around off leash?!” but the animals disappeared into the shrubs quickly. I didn’t have a chance to switch from my wide angle to a telephoto lens, but I did identify them as bobcats! And it was four of them, on the trail! It was an exciting encounter, and then a little bit later, a deer stood smack dab in the middle of the trail too. Just to say: yes, we live here, too. That was nice.
Then on an afternoon walk, I had my friend Doug’s 70-200/2.8 lens — he let me borrow it while he was traveling. It was interesting to play with the limited depth of field, and I made some of my favorite photos of Shuwen with Toni on that day. From this walk, this photo still speaks to me:
I’d like to close with a few more words about that damn virus.
While the Omicron variant of the virus is very prevalent right now, I’m quite certain that I could have avoided it, with a little more vigilance on my part. (I described the circumstances during which I suspect to have been infected in my personal blog.)
The question remains whether catching up with an infinite backlog of photos is actually possible, but if it is, then isolating at home after testing positive would seem like a good opportunity to do so. Except that the disease knocked me out pretty good, despite being vaccinated with booster, and as symptoms progressed, I spent much of the past few days sleeping or resting, in bed.
It is Monday evening as I write this, the fifth day with symptoms, and there has been progress, every day, but the amount of tiredness is just astonishing. I do feel like another break now 😮💨 but I’m certain that at the scheduled publishing time and when you’re reading this, Wednesday morning, I’ll have recovered further.
If I had to make a choice between wearing masks & chasing booster shots or getting infected, you can be pretty sure that I’d choose the masks & vaccinations. Getting sick with this crap sucks!
Amazingly, Shuwen did not get it from me, but the necessary isolation, separation, and extra hygiene to keep it that way was tough for her (as I said, I mostly slept), and I am ever more infinitely grateful to have her as my companion in life.
And that’s it with this throwback. Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed it.