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I’m in a state of vague-packing.

In other words, I’m not really packing for my trip yet,


I sort of am.

I’m accumulating piles.

I’m making a lot of lists.

I’ve decided, once I get everything together and actually packed,

I will probably begin my road trip.

My departure is very tentative and vague … just like my vague-packing.

As usual, I haven’t even thought about clothes.

When I pack it’s all about what gear I’ll be taking.

I know, with one hundred percent certainty, whatever I don’t bring will be the very thing I *need* when I’m shooting.

Because this will be a road trip, it’s tempting to throw “everything” into the car.

But …?

That isn’t smart or safe.

I’ve had photographer friends who have lost all the gear they own when their cars and/or hotels were broken into.

I plan to keep whatever gear I take with me at all times.

My bum arm limits me considerably.

This is what I know I’ll be taking so far:

•  Camera bodies (2-4)

•  Tripods w/ballheads (2)

•  Cable release (2)

•  Flash (2)

•  Wireless flash remote (2)

•  Portrait lens  (I promised my parents I’d do portraits of them.)

•  Reflector  (for above mentioned portraits)

•  Long distance lens (70-200 with 2x extender)

•  Mid-range telephoto  (probably the 24-70)

•  Several wide angle lenses (because I have a “thing” for shooting wide)

•  Macro lens  (because you just never know when something super tiny will catch your attention)

•  Multiple filters

•  Camera cleaning stuff

•  A zillion (????) compact flash cards

•  Photography backpack and rolling gear bag.

I also bought cases of water to keep in the car.

In theory, bringing water is ridiculous because I can stop anywhere, anytime, and get water to drink.

But …?

I’m one of those people who is rarely without water for even a few minutes.

I’ll keep a small cooler in the car with me and keep a few water bottles cold each day.

As long as I’m hydrated and have my camera,

I’ll be good for hours.

I wish I could blink and have all the pre-vacation stuff done.

I’m getting antsy to GO.

(Oh, and I can’t wait to take you with me too!)

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And Then My Arm Fell On The Floor

Yesterday, I visited with Dr. Painless.

He loaded me up with drugs to take on my upcoming travel-binge “just in case” my arm flares-up.

My arm flares up every time I travel, but neither of us came right out and stated the obvious.

Dr. Painless loves to travel and we often spend a good deal of time chatting about our dream travel destinations.

I love how he has always, always, encouraged me to live the fullest life I can in spite of my physical limitations.

A little later in the day, I texted Paul Newman because I hadn’t heard from him since he got back from vacation.

His silence was a very curious thing.

(We all know, I’d be the first person he’d get in touch with upon his return – right?)

Turns out, Paul Newman is not back.

I’m sure he loved hearing from me while he’s on vacation though?

(And especially when I responded to his catastrophic still-on-vacation information with a text message beginning with the eff word?)

Paul Newman works very, very, hard and he certainly deserves a break from work.

I’m pretty sure his secretary, who scheduled my appointment, needs a vacation too.

(Actually, ahem, I think Paul Newman recently gave her a permanent vacation due to some ongoing … scheduling issues.)

But, alas, now I know ….

Paul Newman will return after I have left on my trip

Which means my arm will explode and fall off my body any day now.

I will have to cart my arm around in a suitcase, attached to my body by a painful string, for several weeks.

Eventually, someday ….

In a land far away,

Paul Newman will be reunited with my arm and be forced to reattach it to my body.

It will not be a fun day for him, for me, or for my arm.

I admit, I felt a big jolt of discouragement when I found out I will have to go so long without treatment.

It comes from knowing what happens when I even skip *one* week.

One visit in seven weeks means …??????

Deep breaths, right?

I can do this?

And if I can’t, I’ve got a suitcase full of Dr. Painless drugs available.

I suppose I can drug myself into oblivion until my arm gets reattached.

Why do I have to be the only person in the world who absolutely hates pain meds?

For that matter, why do I have to be the only person in the world with a (very painful) detachable arm?


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This And That …

•  I took my camera gear in for routine maintenance at my Canon Factory Service Center yesterday.  I didn’t make an appointment ahead of time.  The waiting room was packed when I arrived.  Apparently, a lot of people attempted to use their cameras over the holiday weekend, and decided their cameras were broken.  I listened, time and time again, as the Canon rep (with the patience of a saint), calmly explained to people their cameras weren’t broken.  Then he would nicely, calmly, inform them of something basic like, “Auto focus doesn’t work right now because you have the dial turned to manual focus.”

•  I have to admit, I shuddered a little when I heard one young woman proclaim loudly she is a “wedding photographer.”  Then she explained her one, and only, lens was not exposing properly.  She wanted to know if it was because it was a non-Canon lens on a Canon body.  “The camera is just broken,” she repeated time and time again.  After a few minutes, she was told it wasn’t the lens or the camera.  She had her settings turned on for movies (video) but was trying to take still photos.  Note to self:  Never hire her as a wedding photographer.

•  Please research your photographers before you hire them.  Every person who owns a camera is not a professional photographer …. just like every person who owns a stove is not a chef.

Click on photo to purchase, or to view larger, in 24atHeart gallery.

•  The underwater housing I ordered for my camera has not arrived yet.  I knew when I ordered it, it would take a few weeks to be delivered.  Still, I find myself hoping every day for a package from the UPS man.

•  I’m seeing Dr. Painless for my arm today.  I’ll be seeing Paul Newman by the end of the week too.  Fingers crossed for a little pain relief before I take off on my next journey.

•  I’m not much of a beer drinker, but last week I was served a Shock Top Lemon Shandy.  It was a very hot day and the lemon-y beer was icy cold … delicious!  I just thought I’d pass that on in case any of you want to give it a try this summer.

•  Have you seen any movies this summer?  A couple weeks ago I saw Edge of Tomorrow.  It was good.  I think it’s more of a guy-movie than a girl-movie, but I was entertained.

•  The local coyotes have been howling a lot every night lately.  I would love to capture a photo of them, but I always opt for sleep instead!

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And Suddenly Summer Hits Fast Forward

My youngest son got home for “summer” vacation the first week in May.

He’s been home for two full months.

The 4th of July is now behind us, and I realize how little time there is left before he heads back to Texas.

In addition, the remainder of our summer is booked with one thing or another.

I feel a sudden sense of panic about getting everything done these next few weeks.

Do you ever glance at your calendar and think, “But wait …!?”

I have a lot of work this week for various clients.

I also need to start getting my thoughts together for my upcoming road trip.

I’ve scrapped most of my previous road trip plans.

I’m re-thinking exactly how to pull off the whole trip.

I’m still taking the (massive) trip.

I need to see my parents.

I’m just not sure which route to take, how many days to spend taking it, where I’ll be staying as I journey, etc.

(Note to self:  Get your shit together!)

I have the added complication of trying to figure out what gear I’ll be taking …

How to manage file storage while on an extended trip, etc.

I need a new laptop, but I don’t have a new laptop.

It’s so much easier to go places just to go.

When you mix work and travel it gets more complicated.

Of course, I also have to factor my bum arm into my decisions.

What can I carry one-armed?

Will I be able to do this?

What if my arm flares up?

Am I better off doing that?

On the other hand, I suppose part of the adventure is in not planning.

Maybe I should just hop in the car and head up the coast ….

And, take everything as it comes.

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Happy Weekend

I hope you’e having a nice, holiday, weekend.

It’s been very hot here.

I have visitors at my house so I’ve been extra busy.

Also, the 4th of July was my 27th (!!!) wedding anniversary.

A very pretty bouquet was delivered on the 3rd.

FlowersAnniv © SHaggerty 2014 W-1

On the evening of the 4th, I was at an Angels baseball game.

The Angels put on an (extra) amazing fireworks show after the game.

(They put on a fireworks show after Saturday home games all the time, but for the 4th of July holiday it was a lot MORE than normal/expected.)

For some reason, my arm popped off a couple days ago.

I wasn’t shooting, so I’m not sure what caused it to subluxate.

As of right now, it hasn’t popped back into place.

Hopefully it will SOON since Paul Newman is out of the country right now.

(I can’t pop it into place on my own willingly, but sometimes it will just snap back into place.)

Having an arm that pops on and off your body is a pain – literally.

I’ll have more soon …

I just wanted to get a brief update posted since I’ve gone missing the last couple days.

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I’ve spent the last few days doing very little other than editing fitness photos.

I’m very happy with how they’ve come out.

Hopefully, WrightWay Fitness will be happy with them also.

I have guests here for a few days.

Blog posts might be hit or miss between now and the end of the 4th of July weekend.

I imagine readership will be down over the holiday weekend anyway.

(It seems like everyone I know is on vacation this week and/or next.)

In the meantime, here’s another photo from Pearl Street beach in Laguna:

Click on photo to purchase, or to view larger, in 24atHeart gallery.

We don’t get many seashells on our local beaches.

I was thrilled to find the perfectly placed shell in the above photo.

I left it where it was – I never bring shells home.

Still, I was happy to find it “posing” so perfectly for the above photo.

I usually try to avoid the beaches on holiday (and summer) weekends.

I could use a dose of ocean, though.

Maybe I’ll go for a walk at the beach one evening after the holiday crowds have gone home for the day ….

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Trip Planning

I’m planning a trip to Oregon to see my parents.

They’ve moved (downsized homes) recently.

They’d like me to see their new home and I’d like to see them.

It’s always difficult to find a big enough chunk of time to make the trip.

I’ve decided to drive round trip, alone, this time.

The drive could be made in three days (each way), but I think I’m going to take four.

After all, if I’m driving past some of the most beautiful scenery in the United States, I want to be able to SEE it.

I’ve driven up and down the California coast numerous times in the past so I don’t need to stop and do everything.

On the other hand, I don’t want to be setting driving records without noticing my surroundings either.

I’ve made tentative plans to depart mid-July.

On the first day I plan to leave in the afternoon and make the jaunt to Santa Barbara.

I will visit with friends that afternoon and evening.

The second day, I’ll drive up the coast from Santa Barbara to Santa Cruz.

If it works out as I hope, I’ll have a chance to shoot with my friend Barry Blanchard (and a few others?) that evening.

The third day, I’ll drive to Eureka.

The fourth day, I’ll drive to Eugene, Oregon.

I haven’t figured out how many days I’ll be in Oregon -

Probably three or four days.

I hope to route my return trip to stay at different spots than those I stop at on my way up.

(I’ve booked hotels for my trip up to Oregon, but haven’t booked the return trip yet.)

I’ll be staying at a decent hotel in Santa Barbara, but all my other hotels will probably be sketchy.

Since I won’t be spending much time in the hotels except to sleep and shower, I don’t want to spend much money on them.

On the other hand, a woman traveling alone (with professional camera gear) and staying in sketchy hotels might not be the safest combination?

In an attempt to make things as safe as possible I’m going to take the minimum camera equipment possible with me.

I will keep it with me at all times – no exceptions.

Also …?

I’ve ordered hands-free pepper spray.

I always carry pepper spray when I’m out shooting, but I like the hands free design of the type I just ordered.

(No fumbling for it if I need it.)

Like my camera gear, I will have it with me at all times.

I also bought a personal alarm.

I’ve heard great things about it.

I don’t want to go overboard on the safety thing, but it’s smart to take a few precautions since I’ll be alone.

I was talking with one of my male photographer friends the other night.

He commented on how he never has to think about where he goes, what time of day it is when he shoots alone outdoors, etc.

He was almost apologetic about this fact of life.

Gender still plays a huge role for women whether we want it to or not.

Misogyny runs deep in our society.

Over the next few days I’ll be trying to nail down more details for my trip.

I’ll also begin booking hotels for my return trip.

If you have any suggestions of places or things I *must* see and/or photograph,

I’d love to hear them.

I may not have time to do everything I want on this trip,

But, of course, I’ll be squeezing in as much as possible.

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Brown Widow Spiders

A few days ago, my “Bug Man” came for a routine, maintenance, visit.

My house borders a wilderness area so I never have a shortage of critters.

Bug Man discovered lots and lots of brown widow spiders in my yard.

Brown widow spiders are dangerous just like black widows (which we also get here).

Apparently brown widow spiders are taking over Southern California in record numbers.

Who knew?

I *hate* spiders.

I’ve had a spider phobia my entire life.

When I was a child, my mom read me Charlotte’s Web in an attempt to rid me of my spider fear.

(Nice story E.B. White, but it didn’t work.)

Spiders have too many legs and creep me out.

I try telling myself spiders are good beause they capture mosquitoes in their webs,

But, let’s face it, a poisonous spider is NOT good.

I was happy Bug Man was here to eradicate the spiders.

A problem arose, however.

One (big, gigantic, hairy, scary!!) brown widow must have managed to elude Bug Man.

It came walking across the ceiling right above my workspace yesterday morning.

I was home alone.

I thought about calling (the very hot!) 911 guys, but I they *might* laugh at me??

“911 What’s your emergency?”

“There’s a hairy, scary, spider in my house!”

**  Click  **

Alas, I decided this was an emergency I had to take care of on my own.

A scene ensued.

It might have involved ladders, screaming (me, not the spider!), a flying spider, resulting multiple freak-out sessions, a search for the poisonous flying spider, a bad case of heebie-jeebies, etc. -

I eventually found the (enormous, hairy, sinister) brown widow spider.

I’m not ashamed to admit I squished him.

I used a fly swatter.

I could never do it with my actual hand!  Ew!

Then, fearing he might rise from the dead and chase me,

I flushed him down the toilet.

(And closed the toilet lid soundly, for good measure.)


It was an emotionally exhausting experience.

P.S.  Later in the day I found a lizard’s tail outside my door.  Not the lizard, mind you.  Just a tail.

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Babysitting Reggie

My friend, Nike, went out of town for a wedding.

While she was gone I took care of her “baby,” Reggie.

Reggie is a rescue dog.

Nike’s college-aged son adopted Reggie when Reggie was just a puppy.

Now Reggie lives with Nike.

Reggie is pure love and sweetness.

Reggie © SHaggerty 2014 W-1


I think Reggie enjoyed his brief dog-staycation.

He seemed to love my backyard … bunnies to chase, lizards to run after, dirt to dig in, etc., etc.

Nike only lives half a block away.

Reggie spent his vacation time between our two houses.

I’d bring him to my house to play for awhile and then let him nap at home when he seemed worn out.

I think he enjoyed the combination of new adventures and familiar surroundings.

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At This Moment

I’m pretty sure I only exist to refill the hummingbird feeders with two gallons of food each day.

Click on photo to purchase, or to view larger, in 24atHeart gallery.