In my boundless wisdom and foresight, when me previous Mac desktop — which had long been buggy and glitchy — reeeeaaaaally started to act a fool and make me cry, I transferred all my photos onto an external drive.

We’re talking something like 20,000 of them dating back eight years.

Sure enough the computer booted up for its final time last November and I can’t tell you how relieved I was that I’d salvaged my digital archive. We’re talking various Death Valley trips, plus our travels to Africa, Italy, France, Mexico, Yosemite, Big Sur, Kings Canyon, not to forget the thousands of photos of local stuff.

Of course, when it came time to start building our 2011 calendar, I went looking for and couldn’t find the file. At first I fully freaked. But then I calmed down, knowing that it had to be there somewhere, maybe buried as a subfolder somewhere in that terrabyte of hard drive space that I’d eventually discover.

That day came yesterday, and in celebration of joyfully reuniting with all my past pixels, I give you what is one of my favorite images, taken from our rooftop patio of the hotel we stayed at in Guanajuato during our visit there in 2008:

(click it for the bigger picture)

Besides the unexpected bonus of the cloud containing a ghostly visage in profile looking at an angle heavenward, what I like next most about this image is what you can’t see. First off, it’s about a 3- to 4-minute exposure, and it’s illuminated  at the front by the moon up high out of frame. Making it even more dynamic: the face is backlighted by a series of intermittent if steady lightning strikes from a distant storm (hence that bright spot at center bottom at about where an ear might be).