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

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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