It’s spring, and the swallows have returned to Capistrano. At least, I suppose they have. They’ve certainly returned to Irvine.

Swallows are hard birds to photograph! They might even be worse than those damn honeybees. They never get very close, they’re really fast, and they change direction constantly. Not only does that make them hard to follow, but even on the rare occasions when I manage to follow one for a second or two, the autofocus still needs at least a little time to lock on before the bird decides to pull a 180 and disappear. That doesn’t happen very often.

But it does once in a while. I’ve been experimenting with triptychs lately, and it works nicely with the swallows for two reasons. First, the color of the water changes depending on time of day and whether I’m shooting into or away from the sun. It’s kind of striking to see the different colors all in one place. Second, the individual photos are smaller than usual, which lets me hide the fact that they aren’t completely sharp. Except for the top one, which is really good. And the timing is really nice on the bottom one. The middle one is kind of meh, though.

May 2, 2018 — Irvine, California

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WE CAME UP SHORT.

We just wrapped up a shorter-than-normal, urgent-as-ever fundraising drive and we came up about $45,000 short of our $300,000 goal.

That means we're going to have upwards of $350,000, maybe more, to raise in online donations between now and June 30, when our fiscal year ends and we have to get to break-even. And even though there's zero cushion to miss the mark, we won't be all that in your face about our fundraising again until June.

So we urgently need this specific ask, what you're reading right now, to start bringing in more donations than it ever has. The reality, for these next few months and next few years, is that we have to start finding ways to grow our online supporter base in a big way—and we're optimistic we can keep making real headway by being real with you about this.

Because the bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. The only investors who won’t let independent, investigative journalism down are the people who actually care about its future—you.

And we hope you might consider pitching in before moving on to whatever it is you're about to do next. We really need to see if we'll be able to raise more with this real estate on a daily basis than we have been, so we're hoping to see a promising start.

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