Joshua Tree 2024

Amy and I spent the first days of April in Joshua Tree, and had an amazing time exploring the boulders and cactuses (monzogranite and cholla). 

The hikes there are mostly short – pull over, do a mile or two, get back in the car and find another. But some are longer, like the day we veered off the Split Rock trail to find the Miners’ Boulder Cabin, which gold rush miners created by finding a natural confluence of boulders and patching in smaller ones, sticks and boards, and making a hammered tin roof – some of their leftover gear is still present to this day.

On our very first hike, we were visited by a beautiful coyote, out looking for dinner. 

Setting out on the trail to Arch Rock, we spotted this leggy Kit Fox loping through the brush without a care in the world, a harbinger?

We had another amazing evening watching desert stars from “Star Box” – a property out in Wonder Valley that the owner granted access to for a small fee. We had some fun doing light painting while waiting for full darkness and the stars’ own light show. Such a peaceful, beautiful evening.

In Twentynine Palms, we visited the “outsider art” sculpture gallery “Glass Outhouse” and wandered through the array of odd things planted in the ground. 

We watched the sun go down from Cholla Cactus Garden and Keys View. 

In Wonder Valley, we happened upon the Plane With No Wings, and finally found The End of the World.

I’ve been through the desert on a plane with no wings

Just wanted to share some of the pics from the trip, here:

Exploring Vintage lenses

My first vintage lens, recently arrived from Ukraine. This is a 1976 Helios 44mm f2 M-style screw mount (I recently overestimated its age, sorry). Verified not to be radioactive. Amazing how cheap these things are on eBay, but still perfectly serviceable with the right (cheap) adapter. Loving the slightly soft focus, if I can nail it. Some neighborhood shots of Magnolias in bloom.


Paddling near some broke-down pilings at Rodeo, I suddenly realized there was an arrow stuck into one of them, probably shot from shore who-knows-when. I turned around and there was not a soul on shore, so I was fine, but then imagined what would have happened if I’d been there at the right time, and this sucker had gone through me. And that reminded me of the lyrics to Wings’ “Arrow”: “Ooh, baby, you couldn’t have done a worse thing to me / If you’da taken an arrow and run it right through me. Oooh.” And I love that song, so everything was fine.

Watercolor by Tom Vaughan

Well that was fun! A watercolor painter named Tom Vaughan on Mastodon contacted me a bit ago and asked whether it would be OK if he made a painting from one of my photographs (from Pierce Point Rd in Pt. Reyes with Paul Porter last November). I said yes, and this is what he posted in response today. He said in advance that he was an amateur and to not expect too much, but I think it’s lovely. He took some liberties, adding the tree and converting dusk to daylight, but that’s part of what makes it his own.

Watercolor version by Tom Vaughan
My original photograph from Pierce Point Rd.

This image at Flickr.

Cross-posting to image services (made easy)

Every day, twice a day, I post one of my photographs to Instagram, Glass, Vero, Flickr, Facebook and Mastodon. The whole process takes about 10 minutes and involves no exporting. A friend asked how this was possible, and I thought it would make more sense to record the workflow as a video rather than trying to explain, so I’ve done that here. Hope someone finds it useful!

Auto-convert Instagram hashtags to Flickr tags

Discovered this pretty well-hidden Flickr feature by accident and it’s such a time-saver, thought I’d share.

This is for people who post to Flickr from iOS, using the Share Sheet (i.e. from Lightroom Mobile or Apple Photos, you click the Share icon and select Flickr).

  1. When the share sheet comes up, don’t click the Tags section to tag your photos. Instead, type them Instagram-style right into the Description field, i.e. “#landscapes #beautifulcalifornia #roadtrip” etc.
  2. Now delete the tags you just typed. That’s right – delete them (so that you’re not adding clutter).
  3. Post the image.
  4. When the image lands on Flickr, check its Tags section – all of the hashtags you entered and deleted have been auto-converted to real Flickr tags!

If you are in the habit of posting your images to both Instagram and Flickr, here’s where the time saver comes in: Make your Instagram post first, and copy the set of hashtags you created to the clipboard. Then, when you do your Flickr post, in step #1 above, just paste them from the clipboard (and delete). Voila! Now you don’t have to go through the process of adding tags on two different services.

Side tip: If you share from Lightroom Mobile via the Share Sheet, all of your Lightroom tags become Flickr tags automatically.

A Week in the Ventana Wilderness

Still recovering from an amazing week backpacking in the Ventana Wilderness east of Big Sur, and just finished recapping the adventure in a Medium piece, with plenty of photos. A week in the woods is spiritually different from five day hikes!

There’s also a separate Lightroom album with more photos that didn’t make it into the article here. Some of those are slowly trickling into a Flickr album here.

Experience of a lifetime, two years in a row!