October 2020 End Notes

October 2020 was… just another strange month of a strange year, I guess. With the current pandemic development in Europe, and the US election just ahead, I found it a strangely paralyzing month, all in all. Nevertheless, here’s the monthly look back with summary, commentary, thoughts, music and more, in my End Notes for the month.

As usual, photos old and new that I’ve added to the site but that do not appear in a blog post or gallery right are spread throughout this article. On small-screen devices like phones or tablets, you can just scroll down. On larger screens, you may also click on any image to open it larger, in the slideshow gallery view – for the best effect, I suggest switching your browser to full-screen mode (Windows: F11, Mac: ^⌘F) then.

Photography & Weather

We actually had some rain, in October. A tiny bit. That weekend, Shuwen and I drove to Borrego Springs to pick up my prints from the show at the BAI (none of them had sold; not entirely unexpected). We enjoyed the back country drive and had lunch in town. It almost felt normal: the same table on the “puppy patio” were we sat together last time, so that we could bring Toni – the 17 ½ year old dog that probably sleeps 20 hours a day now, but was unable to hold still for even 30 minutes then and there of course! Tangling the leash and herself in the table’s and chair’s legs just like she used to, while also begging for food from the table… :P

Photographically, I was hoping that some clouds from the west would make it over the mountains and stream into the desert, for some of that mixed light, but the transition was rather abrupt. In Ranchita it rained and it got lighter on the way down Montezuma Grade, and then it was abruptly sunny and quite warm in Borrego Springs, with hardly any transition, in between. No complaints – any amount of rain in October is a benefit and with a La Niña in the forecast, it will probably be a drier winter this year anyway.

It would have been possible to get a first desert hike in that weekend – the temperatures were surely pleasant enough, and I took the opportunity of the first early-season storms to hike in the desert in the past. This year, I just couldn’t motivate myself to get out there, alone. I guess I need to switch from my own summer dormancy into a more alert and aware mode again, keep better track of the weather, and make use of these opportunities without feeling rushed.

As a result, I made less photos in October than in September, actually! Except for real estates photos, of course, where I come home with many more individual exposures from a single job. :}

On the Trail

On our local walks, we see the typical late summer vegetation and development: a few Vinegarweeds still hold on to their flowers, the Coyote Bushes are beginning to disperse their seeds in fluffy clouds when a gust of winds shakes them, the late season bloomers like Telegraph Weed and the various Goldenbushes add dots of yellow color. The trails are dry and even just a short walk adds a dust tan to human and canine legs. Nevertheless, some plants have sprung back to life – thanks to what little rain we had, perhaps?

Interviewed

I’ve been interviewed (not in person though!) for the “Shout Out SoCal” publication of SD Voyager, which features local entrepreneurs, small businesses and creatives. If you’re interesting, you can read the interview here: Meet Alexander S. Kunz.

Worries

The English version of the lead article in the German news magazine “Der Spiegel” of October 30, 2020: “A Legacy of Hatred, Culture Wars and Discord – The Mess Created By Trump Will Be with Us for Years” offers an insight into how America is perceived from the outside, right now.

We shall see if actual American democracy is stronger than Trump and the Banana-Republicans who try so hard to undermine it (they know full well that vote suppression, voter intimidation and gerrymandering are the only way for them to stay in power). I am deeply worried.

“We cannot control what the world does to us, but we can control our reactions. Move through life with grace and mindfulness. Be kind to yourself.”

I’m trying to do that and I won’t comment more on the pandemic situation and the election that’s already underway – just like you, I’ve had enough doom and gloom for the rest of the year and beyond that, actually…

Good Music

The music section was absent in previous months. Not because I wouldn’t listen to music, obviously. But it wasn’t a time when I was open and ready to explore new music – and then I feel that the most amazing music might be lost on me simply because I’m not open enough to it. And so in the previous months, I enjoyed music from my collection – from old German thrash metal bands to the soothing meditational New Age. In October, I felt like going out to explore music again, and it was rewarding!

  • Linda Buckley and Jonathan Nangle deliver a fantastic “Moog Residency” performance – the first track in particular is pretty intense, and probably most appealing if you’re a nerd for electronic sounds, filters and synthesizers.
  • LOMA’s new 2020 album “Don’t Shy Away” was mandatory of course. Their 2018 debut album absolutely hit the spot back then and from the first few listens, I’d say that the follow-up is “true” to LOMA, and different at the same time – a very positive surprise.
  • Caroline Shaw & Attacca Quartet “Orange” is beautiful string music. Start with the five “Plan & Elevation” movements if you need convincing.
  • Zoe Keating might be familiar from her “One Cello x 16” sessions; on “Into The Trees” and the “Snowmelt EP” she further practices the technique of overdubbing herself into more complex arrangements than you’d expect from traditional solo cello.
  • Last not least, with Talk Talk’s “The Colour of Spring” & “The Spirit of Eden” I’m catching up with music that was perhaps ahead of its time when it was released (I’m not sure about that) and ahead of what I was able to appreciate when it was released (I’m very sure about that). “Spirit of Eden” is from 1991 and it’s fantastic.

Greeting Card Season

The time of year to send greeting cards is inevitably approaching! With the ongoing COVID-19 related production delays, it might be a good idea to start shopping for them a bit earlier this year. If you’re interested in some of my photos as greeting cards, here’s the selection:

Shop for Greeting Cards

If you’re looking for a specific image and can’t find it in the store please let me know – I’ll be glad to help.

Recent Sales

Here are some of my recent sales big and small (the range is from 5×7″ to 60×40″ this month!) from my print-on-demand store, and elsewhere. As usual, I’m saying “thank you!” here and in this way because Fine Art America (who runs my print-on-demand store) only reports a buyer’s location to me but not the name. It is an honor when you’re choosing my photography to decorate your walls, and I’m grateful for your support of my work as an artist.

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 restrictions at the print production facilities (social distancing etc.) are still slowing the order processing down. If you placed an order and are still waiting for it, please have patience. You will receive your prints!

The Convict Lake photo below is perhaps an interesting one for photographers: I made this photo in the late morning (~11 AM), under a clear blue sky – in other words, not with dramatic clouds or anywhere near “the best photographic light” of sunrise/sunset/twilight. Yet, it has sold three times in the past few months.

I do not know whether more “dramatic” images from this location have sold, of course, but it made me wonder whether the crisp, clear and very natural October impression that the image conveys is perhaps something that is more directly relatable to people? I always thought that good photos made in “normal” light are desirable to make and have, and yet as photographers, we often rise at ungodly hours for dawn light, or stay out late for sunset to then hike back in the dark with a headlamp – but only because that’s what we (have been taught to) find desirable!

And that’s it for this month. As usual, thank you very much for following along. I hope that you enjoy my photos and the writing. More to come, as usual! See you around, soon.


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10 thoughts on “October 2020 End Notes”

    • I only knew Such A Shame and It’s My Life – I distinctly remember that I loved the organ-like sound in the first, but it was the time when Heavy Metal pretty much took over music, for me. :)

      For some reason I always preferred regular albums over Best Of compilations (I usually found myself buying all the albums then anyway). With Talk Talk and Mark Hollis, I’ve yet to give Laughingstock and his last, self titled album a try.

      Reply
  1. I was tickled to see your mention of Talk Talk’s “Spirit Of Eden.” I recently moved a large portion of my music library from my older Mac to my new one. I’ve been slowly reviewing stuff I haven’t listened to in a long time. I came across “Spirit Of Eden,” which had only been played once on my old computer when I purchased it ten years ago. I was thrilled when I spun it again a few weeks ago. The more I learned about the album, the more interested I became. I also just purchased “Laughing Stock,” which is recorded in the same manner. Great stuff! It’s easy to imagine that it wouldn’t have grabbed me 10 years ago, but it’s hitting the sweet spot now.

    Reply
    • Played once in ten years?! I listened to Laughing Stock once or twice (streaming) but found it almost too reduced; perhaps it will grow on me after repeated listens to Spirit of Eden. :)

      Reply
  2. It’s been quite a month, that’s for sure. Interestingly for me, my creativity has dropped tremendously this year but in October I felt it starting to resurface, so I’ve begun shooting more than I have for many months. I’m hoping that will continue. That first photo in the post, of Torrey Pines, really stands out to me. I love the contrast between the interesting patterns and brown colors of the ground against the blues of the sky. And the whole feel of this island of green standing above the rest, very nice. I love seeing your selection of sales (and congrats on that). You make a really interesting point about what folks enjoy purchasing versus what we’ve almost been programmed to shoot and how sometimes they don’t always mesh. It’s further evidence we should keep an open mind and keep shooting.

    Reply
  3. It seems to me it isn’t easy to make a purely sky image work but you’ve done it! When you talked about needing to switch from summer dormancy into a more alert and aware mode, keep better track of the weather, and make use of opportunities – well, that sounds familiar. Just change the seasons around. It takes time to adjust, especially when one feels rather numbed from all the intensity around us. I like the Torry Pines image a lot, and Waterfall Light, and the Silent Temple – you know that’s my kind of look. :-) The blues in the Alps photo are beautiful. The Zoe Keating piece is beautiful – I’m not much of a synthesizer/electronic music fan but this one has enough basic cello for me. I love that she releases her music herself and does lots of work with dancers. I like ‘Possible’ too. I have a blind spot with music these days so thanks for the intro.
    Here’s hoping for a better November….

    Reply
    • Thank you very much, Lynn. I guess when you wrote about the intensity around us, no one anticipated that it would increase even more! Happy to hear that you like some of the music I recommended too! Hang in there…

      Reply

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