Thursday, February 29, 2024

Staying "Local"

 By "local", I mean no big hikes or adventures to report. I did go hiking up in the local foothills last week. Of note, we've had quite a bit of rain, and our normally bone-dry hills now have water! I know, no big deal for those of you in wetter climes, but in my neck of the woods it's something to celebrate!
This is a water catchment basin. It is designed to replenish groundwater after a storm. After most storms, the water quickly soaks into the ground. Occasionally you can see a little mud puddle after a larger storm. This is the most water I've seen in the years I've been hiking in the area.
Turn up the volume on this video to hear the startled ducks as I approach the water!
It turned out to be a muddy hike! This water was draining into the catchment basin.
Beautiful skies!
A nice view toward Long Beach Harbor and the dock cranes.
Moon at rest.
I even found this interesting rock. See the fossilized shell fragments? Geologists say the ocean came right up to these hills (a very long time ago!). I guess I missed out on having a home on the beach. Way too expensive now!
Over the weekend, we made a quick trip out to the desert to spend some time with visiting relatives.
Even Lilly joined us for this short hike right out the back door of our desert house. Here she is trying to keep this huge boulder from rolling on top of the red barrel cactus!­čĄú
Here she is under a local arch.
And a final Lilly photo... blending in with the rocks!
Amazing contrails! The sky reminded me of Joni Mitchell lyrics in her song "Amelia": 
It was the hexagram of the heavens
It was the strings of my guitar
Bladderpod in bloom.
6:08AM Sunday
Photoshop now has AI capabilities. For the above photo (can I even call it a photo??) I typed in "Joshua Tree forest with boulders at sunset" and this is what it generated. Not sure what I think about all this, other than it seems way to easy to "generate" photos. They also make it easy to add or replace things to improve a mediocre photo. Want to add a more dramatic sky? How about a full moon? Not sure about the rest of the world, but I'm going to keep my camera and do it the old fashioned way!
Thanks for stopping by!!
Linking with Skywatch Friday.


  1. The old fashioned way is more fun for me! Great fossil find.

  2. ..staying local suits me just fine! Again you have such fabulous things to share. Thanks for taking me along to see the local sights.

  3. Yeah, we sure did get a lot of rain. Your local walks produce nice shots, too.

  4. Wow! rare to see water in your photos ~ rocks yes, but water ~ amazing and ~ But Lily is the best ~ quite the pretty young lady ~ And I am with you ~ AI ~ not for me ~ just an 'old fashioned' girl ~ lol ~ Thanks for the great photos ~

    Wishing you good health, laughter and love in your days,
    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  5. Dearest Peter,
    Beautiful skies and especially with them reflected in the water!
    Gorgeous photos and also videos.
    As for such AI—not for me. Try to be observing and capture the moment with your own camera. That is REAL!

  6. It must be heaven for those ducks seeing such a big pool of water. As for Lilly, her cuteness and sparkling personality shines through every photograph. You can't AI that!

  7. AI generated arts are easy to pick with my eyes these days. For the keen eyes of experienced photographers, we can pick up these little cues on AI images. Your excursion to the desert is one of the weekly spiritual rations I have

  8. Yup, no AI for me. I prefer to create photos the old fashioned way! Glad your area is getting some much-needed rain.

  9. And some of us take rain for granted...
    Wherever you go you always take magnificent pictures.
    A have a few favourites. "Moon at rest" is one of them.
    : )

  10. Beautiful captures and yes the old fashioned way is the way!

  11. Is Lilly still there, holding that big boulder off the cactus? The ducks must be very happy with the water catchment. Your sunrise photo beats out the AI sunset one by a long shot. The AI shot does not look real. What program did you use to generate it? Was it microsofts chatbuddy? They're really pushing that one.

    1. Microsoft copilot I meant, as the one being pushed.

    2. I used Photoshop to generate that image.

  12. Amazing place, Stunning clicks.

  13. Beautiful photo series. I'm with you on the AI developments. Here at home we had a lawyer disciplined for using AI to draft legal arguments. The AI generator came up with non-existent case law which the lawyer used and relied on in court. Some people want everything on a platter.

  14. Beautiful reflections in that water basin.
    I will keep on using the camera and create my shots the old way too!

  15. I am very excited about this great photo series. It really is a fantastic rocky landscape! The reflection of the sky in the water basin also inspires me.
    Ki is certainly a nice toy, but I also prefer the real pictures!
    It's good for Lilly that she can grow up in this great area, the photo with her and the rock is great!
    Thank you very much for your lovely comment.
    Best regards

  16. Amelia-- It was just a false alarm. Wonderful memories to look back on for both you and Lilly.

  17. The so-called images generated by AI are not natural. Basically, that moment in the photo is something sci-fi.

  18. Did you know that female mallards are the only ones that actually "quack" like that startled duck? The first sound you hear are the males, that kind of murmur as they feed, then the loud quacking of the female.
    I do not know what to think of the AI photos either. Beautiful, but obviously not real.

  19. You have created another beautiful photo series, Peter. At the beginning of your series I almost started to feel at home with all that water and those chatting ducks. As soon as Lilly came into view, I returned to reality. ;-)

  20. old me staying old fashioned. too lazy to learn to play with Photo shop as well :-). your "local" offers plenty.

  21. Love that you guys have some water and even filling up some ponds for a while. I laughed again at your great photo of granddaughter holding up the rock.

    I find the whole AI image thing to be kind of icky. I played around a lot with image generators and posted on facebook and instagram but I hated the images. The problem is that the images are going to get better and better and I think that is going to be a problem on a number of dimensions.

  22. There was so much to enjoy in today's post. Lilly is growing! I laughed at her heroically trying to save the cactus. Puddle pictures, something rare for you. The converging contrails. (Great minds; my post today also has contrails). As for the AI photo, I'll continue to prefer real life photos created by real life people, but who knows? One day, will there be AI photo bloggers? It's an interesting (and maybe scary) thing to ponder.

  23. I'm not sure what to think about AI either. I'll stick to the old fashioned way too.
    Great set of photos today. It's good to see the water flowing and the startled ducks were a special treat.

  24. I like the contrails. I have played with AI just a bit, usually just to add something for fun, and I say it if I do. It will never bring the satisfaction that a proper photo does.

  25. A fun hike! And hmmm... no idea about AI in this...

  26. "Not sure about the rest of the world, but I'm going to keep my camera and do it the old fashioned way!"

    Truly said. I want this way as well. I dont want drama but keep things natural and upskill myself.

    Meanwhile I love the clouds reflecting on still puddle. This is what I look out for during summer when strolling along lake

  27. Lovely pictures - not always we must search them far away! Rain can be a blessing, even we in Germany appreciate that in last years. Lilly did a great job to save the cactus!
    I make my photos with my camera and do not add foreign attributes - it's no longer an honest photo.
    KI is a nice game for phantasy pictures or other things, now and then...
    Have a nice weekend

  28. That water must be a welcome sight and those skies in the end are fantastic again.

  29. Outstanding landscape photography. There simply are no skies like those of the desert. Good to hear you have had enough water to accumulate for awhile.

    I reckon, for me, photography is a way to share the memories I make. For some, it can be a creative tool for producing "art". In any case, once we begin accepting artificiality as the "norm", we may be stepping onto a slippery slope. Old fashioned opinion from an old actual human.

  30. Nothing wrong with saying local I do it quite often and your shots are wonderful to see even if it is not far from home. It's been wet here for a few weeks, over the last 36 hrs we had around 30mm of rain. I like the desert photos as they are leave the AI where it is, I certainly have no use for it

  31. It saddens me to know that last one was AI generated. Why can't the tech overlords just let somethings be.
    We have a week of rain in our forecast.. I'd gladly send some over to you.

  32. Some of my favourite fossils are friends. :)

  33. You (and LIly and other family) have the best backyard hike I've ever heard of! I've been reading about the "Lake" that formed in Death Valley because of all the California rain, as hard to imagine as it is hard to image muddy paths in Joshua Tree..... Please do continue to use your own camera. I was trying to sort and label pictures from a recent trip when I saw something about how good AI-generated photography was -- for just a tiny second I was tempted just to toss it all and generate the whole trip artificially. But then I remembered that I was an honest woman -- and also that I actually enjoy taking my own!

  34. Atemberaubende Eindr├╝cke!!!
    Liebe Gr├╝├če

  35. A marvellous time in the desert with Lily and your relatives. I love that cloud reflection and the moon taking a rest.