October 2021 End Notes

It’s the end of the month and here’s the usual look back at this month’s photographic activities, the weather, and everything in between. To keep it visually entertaining, the words are, as usual, garnished with “archive additions” of photos that have, also as usual, nothing or very little to do with the text. 😅

It seems like there’s two kinds of people in the photographic world: those who argue over technical details of cameras, lenses and whatnot in online forums — and those who make actual photos. 😉 (needless to say, I generally prefer to be among the latter ones.)

I’m referring to the buzz around Nikon’s latest mirrorless camera here of course, the Z9, which has officially been announced at the end of October. I couldn’t help but take a peek at it’s tech specs and surprise: it doesn’t have a mechanical shutter anymore — and it does have a shutter to protect the sensor from dust when the lens is off! Ha!

Not that I’d be able to afford a $5500 camera body, or would have the need for a thing that can capture 20 frames per second (or whatever the number is) — I’m just referring to my own continued ranting about the complete shift towards mirrorless that all major camera makers have performed now. Dust is a problem, hu? I rest my case!

Wow, The Weather!

In my September End Notes, I fully expected that our October weather would be awful — dry, hot Santa Ana winds that suck the moisture out of the soil, the vegetation, as well as your nostrils, your skin, your lips. Which means at the very least high fire danger, but because too many humans are inhabiting this landscape, most likely wildfires too.

On top of this typical autumn weather though, a La Niña had been forecast, which often means drier than average conditions for California, and in particular the south, but records and observations of the La Niña/El Niño swings do not date long enough to really make that a given, if I understood it all correctly.

And then, October began with a thunderstorm that brought rain and over 500 lightning strikes to San Diego County. On October 8th, it was already the wettest October since 2010 (the year I moved here, and the winter that mislead me quite a bit on what to expect with regards to winter rains and spring blooms). This was a great start to the month.

Towards the end of the month, I led my photo club to the tide pools of La Jolla’s Hospital Point for dawn photos. I was hoping for photos like the one below — clear skies, beautiful twilight. It was overcast and drizzly instead, and a few days later, we had a little more rain. It wasn’t much, but with the drought conditions, every little bit counts!

On The Trail

Thanks to the October rains and mostly low(er) temperatures, some fresh green has begun to line the side of the trails. It’s mostly grasses and weeds but it’s refreshing nevertheless.

Temperatures were cool enough on a couple of days to begin the desert hiking season, but I had difficulties to motivate myself — one hike that really tempts me is 12 miles out and back with ~4500 feet elevation gain, and considering the drive out there, the time the hike itself would take, and the drive back, I didn’t really find myself in the mood to do that. I have to start with something a bit simpler… like returning to the Coyote Mountains Wilderness, perhaps? :)

Except for the La Jolla morning photos, I haven’t been very active photographically in October. I made macro photos of our Datura’s seedpods but haven’t gotten around to publishing them. I photographed some backlit trees at Lake Hodges and the scene turned out to be one of those that looks so nice in person, but doesn’t translate into a photograph. Last not least I made some images for my photo club’s monthly “photo quest”, but all in all, I’ve spent more time digging through my archives, in my quest of marking older photos as entirely “done”.

Blog Archive Additions

I’ve added a couple of older photos to the “archives” of the blog, in order to have a chronological archive at least of hikes, trips and other such activities. I used to “push” them to followers by posting them as new articles and then dating them back to the day when I originally made the photos, but since I added quite a few blog posts this month anyway, I instead backdated them right away so that they wouldn’t clog people’s already clogged inboxes even more.

First, impressions from a day-trip to Königssee, when Shuwen visited me in Germany, in May 2010. About half of the photos in the gallery had been available on the site for as long as it exists (some of them appear in my Nationalpark Berchtesgaden portfolio) — just never combined. For this archive addition, I’ve complemented the existing photos with some more documentary and/or personal images:

Day Trip to Königssee

Next, a few photos from a hike in the San Gabriel Mountains that a friend had recommended to me. I went there at the end of October in 2011:

Icehouse Canyon to Timber Mountain

And last not least, three photos from a short stop in Lundy Canyon, during our Eastern Sierra trip in 2014 — I had to add those primarily because of the terrific beaver dam, of course. :)

Fall Colors & Beaver Dam in Lundy Canyon

Increasingly Anti-Social

I took a time-out from Twitter in October. While I did reactivate my account in the meantime, it will only serve the purpose of syndicating content from this site and my print store to Twitter. After a month “off”, I just don’t see myself participating actively on Twitter anymore.

Originally I intended to add a little “summary” of my thoughts here, but it grew into yet another wall of text that didn’t seem like a good fit for a photography blog and website — so I moved it to my personal blog: Steps Away From The Madness.

Good News & Beautiful Things

Because the never-ending negativity cycle of “daily news” is only inducing depression and anxiety, here are some GOOD news for a change, and galleries of beautiful photographs to look at:

Recent Sales

Your print purchases supports me as an independent artist and freelancer. Since Fine Art America only reports the rough location of a buyer to me but not who they are, I’m adding a whole-hearted THANKS to all the buyers of my photos, here.

And that’s all for now. As always, thanks a lot for your time and for your support. Have a great start into November!

PS: I am aware that some images that are embedded in the email notifications (for those who follow my blog via email) do not load on Apple mobile devices that use iOS version 15. This should be fixed for the newer images, but older images (like my logo etc.) don’t load.

The background is that Apple protects their users’ privacy better by making it harder to track emails — which I’m all for of course. Apple retrieves content embedded in emails through a proxy for this purpose. The way Apple is doing this triggered one of my web hoster’s security rule (I’m also all for security…) that prevented Apple from accessing the images in my emails anonymously (for the technically minded, my web server returned an error “406 – not allowed” to Apple).

Unfortunately, if this request fails, they seem to not retry, ever. That seems rather silly. I’m working on it!

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5 thoughts on “October 2021 End Notes”

  1. I’m still on the fence about mirrorless vs DSLR. I don’t feel they’re quite where I’d like them to switch over (and I wouldn’t switch unless what I have dies anyway), though I do like the sound of higher frame rates for when I’m capturing wildlife action moments. But 20 fps would fill the card much faster… And $5500? Ouch! Trade offs.

    I love that frog in Falkenhof. It’s like a little green gem hidden among all the rocks and pebbles. Great eye seeing that one. I also love the look and feel of “Dark Green.” That seems an unusual photo, one I don’t think I’ve seen the like of before. I love how the shadows are kept as shadows, that dark look works so well with the lighter green.

    And nice addition of “Good News & Beautiful Things!”

    • Thanks, Todd. The forest photo’s relatively “dark” appearance is a result of the process I began to explore more and more (drop exposure a LOT, then increase just Whites, also a lot). And I had the feeling that you might like that little froggie! :)

      With the cameras… I’m not in a hurry to change either. If my D800 would break tomorrow… I’d continue using the D750 (currently, portraiture and real estate camera because its resolution is easily enough for those). ;)

  2. So many beautiful images here, Alex – of course! Love that Manzanita. ;-) I would disagree about dust problems, as you’d guess. I did have that issue a few times but that was a long time ago. A good cleaning solved the problem. Olympus mirrorless cameras are supposed to have some kind of automatic internal cleaning. Anyway, as you said, other considerations, like price, certainly are a factor. It’s funny that while you’re able to get back into hiking after it being so hot, I am feeling less motivated because of the cold, not to mention the extra rain we’ve been having.
    I hope staying off Twitter except for very practical purposes turns out to be a good thing. The news is bad enough and we need every Bears Ears story we can get.

    • Thank you, Lynn. :) With regards to outdoor activity, living in the southwest certainly feels like a reversal of the patterns that I was used to as well, from Germany!

      Larger sensors suffer quite a bit more from sensor dust, unfortunately. There’s simply (much) more surface area, and that surface area is also somewhat charged, electrically (in other words, it attracts dust – great!). :P

      • I think mine attracts dust too but supposedly the camera gives it a good shake regularly. BUT it’s not as large as you’d want, I get that.


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