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Paso Robles – Wine

Paso Robles has over three hundred wineries.

Napa used to be the only ‘known’ place in California for wine tasting, but Paso Robles is intent on catching up.

Although, I was in Paso Robles to photograph the beer festival,

It was impossible not to notice I was in wine country.

Driving into town, I saw hills covered with grapevines.

I love vineyards.

There’s something very magical about them.

I think, because I’m a visual person, it’s all those LINES!

The vineyards looked beautiful surrounded by lavender.

Paso Robles is never as green as Napa.

Adding to that, California’s “extreme” drought has hit the Central Coast hard.

Golden hills are a trademark of the Paso Robles area.

Now, “golden” looks a lot more like brown.

It’s still beautiful, at least to me.

A valley of vineyards.

I couldn’t keep my lens away from the magic of the hills, valleys, and grapevines.

Well, except for a brief time on Sunday when I stopped for wine tasting at two Paso Robles wineries.

Wine tasting at Law Estates winery.

I couldn’t visit Paso Robles and NOT stop by a winery or two.

Wine barrels.

There’s something very visually appealing about wine barrels too.

Maybe it’s because they’re filled with wine?

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Enough Is Enough

Yesterday, for the first time ever …

I “unfriended” someone on Facebook.

I realize it’s not a big deal.

But, I wanted to share with you what made me even bother to hit the “unfriend” button.

The person I was “friends” with is another photographer whom I have never met.

He/she had sent me a friend request about six months ago and I accepted.

I accepted this unknown person’s friend request because I assumed he/she probably wanted to bond over photography.

Instead, day after day, I kept seeing this person vent on political issues.

I found some of the posts a little offensive, but I just ignored them.

I could have “hid” her/his posts from my timeline – but why would I do that?

Why be “friends” with a total stranger and then “hide” their posts so you don’t see anything they write.

There are a lot of people I know who I don’t share political beliefs with.

That’s fine …!

Think how boring life would be if we all agreed on everything.

But, yesterday, this particular “friend” began spewing pure, bigoted, ignorant, hate.

And …?

Even though it was not directed at me, or anyone I know,

It made me ill.

I didn’t even pause in hitting the “unfriend” button.

It seems to me, by the time you’re an adult, you should know how to express your opinions in a manner that is respectful to other human beings.

Hate usually comes from fear …

And people fear what they don’t know and/or understand.

It’s very difficult to hate anyone if you take the time to actually really get to know them.

The situation made me reflect on two things:

1)  There’s way too much negativity in the world to invite more of it into life via the social media posts of total strangers, and

2)  I doubt if a single person has ever changed their opinion/belief system after reading someone else’s political rant on Facebook – so why do people bother ranting?

Personally, I’m going to try to be a little bit kinder to everyone who crosses my path today.

The world needs a lot more NICE in it.

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Firestone Walker Beer Festival

Last Friday, I drove to Paso Robles to photograph a festival.

I drove north via California’s Central Valley to save some driving time.

California’s extreme drought was very evident everywhere I looked.

California Drought – brown everywhere!

Specifically, I was in Paso Robles to shoot the Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Festival which was held on Saturday, May 30th.

Beer Tshirt 3  © 2015 Suzanne Haggerty W

Feel The Burn?

Around three thousand people attended the event.

I wasn’t expecting such a wide variety of beer-related tee shirts in the crowd.

I had fun photographing some of them.

Beer Tshirt 1  © 2015 Suzanne Haggerty

Without Beer, Things Do Not Seem To Go As Well

For the price of admission (which was around $85.00), visitors could sample beers from breweries around the world.

Beer Tshirt 4  © 2015 Suzanne Haggerty W

Make Good Choices

Beer Tshirt 2  © 2015 Suzanne Haggerty

I Drink Beer For a Living

Beer “tastings” were free once you paid admission.

(Tickets for the festival sold out in minutes – months ago.)

Upon entrance, attendees were given a beer tasting glass to carry with them and use for tastings.

As the day went on, more and more people dropped and broke their beer glass.

Firestone Beer Festival – Beer Tasting

Yes, that’s right … the beer was flowing and unlimited.

In addition, local restaurants had booths set up and were giving away free food.

It was a drinking, and eating, free-for-all.

I met beer vendors from Italy, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Scotland, etc., etc.

Live music added to the festive atmosphere.

Beer Fest Band  © 2015 Suzanne Haggerty W

Live Music

I admit, I’m not the biggest beer drinker in the world.

I was astounded by the large variety of beers represented at the festival.

I was told by beer vendors, and attendees, the Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Festival is “the best beer festival anywhere in the world.”

I’ve never been to a beer festival before, so I can’t say if that’s true or not.

I can tell you,

If you’re a beer afficionado, you’re bound to have a fantastic time.

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Far Out Friday!

Sheesh this week went by fast!

I’m headed up the coast this morning for a few days on a project.

I’ll be back on Tuesday.

I’ll try to have a post up on Monday, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to pull it off.

After this, I don’t have a single trip on my calendar.

(It’s a good thing because I think  Paul Newman  my arm is very unhappy with how much PT I’ve missed recently!)

My toes look like this right now:

Nail Art © 2015 Suzanne Haggerty W

Nail art!

I think it might be my favorite nail design yet.

By the way, while I was getting a pedicure, I overheard two separate women being extremely, over-the-top, rude to the people giving them pedicures.

It was appalling.

If there’s anyone you should be EXTRA NICE to, it should probably be the person who is clipping your disgusting toenails.

I get so tired of Orange County women who think they’re better than everyone else.

Ugh!

In other news, Fred has a new friend.

Deer © 2015 Suzanne Haggerty W

 

Deer

I think she’s expecting a baby.

She comes to my backyard fence to see Fred every day.

Fred is quite enamored.

They seem to be fascinated by each other.

It must be the season for wildlife to appear at my doorstep.

I’m used to hearing coyotes howling at night.

But, two nights ago something eerie was going on with the coyotes.

I woke up to an entire pack of them howling …

And one of them doing the loudest, blood curdling, type of screamy-yell.

It wasn’t “normal” coyote speak.

It was a very haunting sound.

Fred was flipping out … and he’s become quite accustom to “normal” coyote howling too.

Eventually, most of the coyote howling faded away.

(After I spent hours in the middle of the night comforting Fred who was terrified.)

The one injured/sick coyote gave it’s final blood curdling scream at 7 a.m.

It was SO creepy!

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LG Pocket Photo Printer

**  This is not a sponsored post.  **

I recently bought an LG Pocket Photo Printer and I LOVE it!!

What is it?

It’s a small (3 inch x 5 inch) photo printer.

It comes in yellow, pink, and white.

It’s SMALLER than my iPhone 6 Plus which is 3×6.

It is, however, fatter than an iPhone … it’s about 3/4 of an inch thick.

It can easily fit in most pockets/handbags.

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LG Pocket Photo Printer in yellow.

I thought I’d share with you some of the pros and cons of this particular photo printer.

First of all, there are several new “pocket printers’ on the market.

Being a photography nerd, I researched my options thoroughly.

NONE OF THEM produce great prints.

If you want the best quality (archival quality) prints for photo albums/scrapbooking – you aren’t going to get them with a pocket printer.

I have no doubt the photo quality will eventually improve with these small mobile printers – but for right now it’s just okay.

(My friends tell me they think the quality is “fine” from my LG so maybe I’m being a bit of a photo snob?)

After hours of research, everything I learned indicated to me the best pocket printer on the market at this very moment is the LG.

That might change by next week?

So, how does this tiny printer work?

The top of the mini-printer lifts up and you insert ZINK paper.

The paper is small – only 2×3 inches.

The prints you get are, therefore, the same size – tiny … sort of like a business card size.

ZINK stands for “zero ink.”

That’s right – the photos are printed with heat technology and NO INK is used.

(And therefore, there are no ink cartridges to ever need replacing.)

LG3

The top of the LG Pocket Photo Printer opens to insert paper.

There are a few ways to print photos.

What I find easiest (for me) is to connect bluetooth between my phone and the printer.

(It takes all of one second to do so.)

Then I send a photo from my phone to the printer via the LG app – which is free.

A photo spits out of a slot on the end of the printer a few seconds later.

It isn’t a super fast printer, but it’s okay considering it’s size and mobility.

LG2

The photo comes out of a slot at the end of the LG Pocket Printer.

As you can imagine, this little device is wildly popular with teens and twenty-somethings.

The cost is only, approximately, $150.00.

(Which is much cheaper than a “real” printer.)

It can be a lot of fun to take a phone photo and then print out a copy right then to share with a friend.

The pocket printer is also a huge hit at any party/social gathering it appears at.

People are amazed by it.

I’ve found vibrant photos seem to print much better than black and white photos.

The color quality is sometimes good, sometimes okay, and sometimes meh, depending on the photo.

(I’ve noticed whites often come out light blue-ish.)

ZINK paper is available in two options.

There is “normal” ZINK photo paper.

And, there is ZINK “sticker paper” with a backing that peels off.

The ZINK sticker paper is very popular with scrapbookers.

(I haven’t tried the sticker paper yet, but I will eventually.)

I’ve used my printer quite a bit in the couple months I’ve had it.

I took it to Texas with me.

I let my son pick out his favorite Fred photos on my phone and printed them for him right then.

(My son has been very homesick for Fred!)

I’ve also kept a type of travel notebook/scrapbook for quite a long time.

In the past, I’d just glue or tape in ticket stubs from events.

I’ve never put photos in it.

Now, however, I find myself printing out mini-photos from my trips and putting those in also.

I don’t “decorate” like a scrapbooker would … it’s more just memorabilia from wherever I’ve been.

As an example, my ticket from the Kentucky Derby is in my book.

And, from the same trip, I also glued in my “Passport to the Bourbon Trail.”

In the past, that’s probably all I would have put in.

But, now that I have my LG Pocket Photo Printer, I also put in a couple photos.

There’s one of my Derby hat and one of our entire group at Churchill Downs.

As I put the photos in my travel book, the thought did cross my mind I should probably get those photos printed “properly” so I have them forever.

But, like many people, I’m terrible about ever actually PRINTING my personal photos.

I just never get around to doing it.

I know the mini prints aren’t “forever” quality,

But …?

It’s better than not printing at all –

And, it’s a lot of fun.

More importantly, because the printer is so small, and lightweight, it’s going everywhere with me.

I can print out a photo right after its taken.

I’m so much more likely to actually print a photo right when I’m experiencing an event than weeks later.

I anticipate the LG Pocket Photo Printer being a highly requested gift for graduations, birthdays and next holiday season.

They seem to be catching on like wildfire.

 

LG5

LG Pocket Photo Printer

I think it will be interesting to watch them over the next year or two also.

I imagine technology will continue to create even better images on small printing devices.

For the time being, I’m really having a lot of fun with mine!

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Let’s Catch-Up

I’ve got bits and pieces of randomness for you today.

I’m still finishing up the final steps on the website, so I didn’t have time to write a proper post.

Also …?

I kind of like random posts now and then.

•  Last week, my right thumb was x-rayed.  It’s NOT broken.  It IS sprained and I was given a brace/splint thingy to wear for 4-6 weeks.  After one hour, I texted Paul Newman and told him I “hated” it.  I’m *trying* to wear it several hours a day.  It’s removable.  (Clearly, the orthopedic doc who saw me does not know my personality type!)  Anyway, I can’t type with the brace on.  I can’t do much of anything with it on.  (Which, I suppose, is the whole point?)  When my thumb hurts a lot, I put it on.  When I get really frustrated with the brace/splint – I take it off.  Either way – I’m sure my thumb will get a little better each day.  You never really realize how much you use/need your thumb until it screams at you when you use it.

•  Do you ever buy and/or sell things on eBay?  I’ve yet to sell anything there, but once in awhile I’ll find an antique or something very vintage-y to purchase.  Most of the time, I try not to even look because I don’t want to be tempted to purchase things I can, most likely, live without.  I think I might start selling a few things there soon.

•  Proving I’m getting old … my eyes have recently been opened to the “planner cult” which now exists.  As some of you will recall, I’ve been on a ‘get organized’ kick.  As a part of that process, I bought a pretty purple planner.  I’ve since found out planners are “in.”  People collect every planner they can get their hands on and decorate them to the hilt.  There are planner meet-ups, planner groups, planner forums, and zillions of youTube videos about decorating planners.  I admit, I’m a little baffled.  I can understand someone putting pretty and/or useful stickers on their planner page now and then.  And/or color coding with pens.  But …?  There are tons of people buying planners just to decorate them.  It’s kind of like scrapbooking without the photos?  They say they’re going to spend the day “planning,” but they don’t actually PLAN anything.  There are no appointments or schedules in their planners.  There are just decorated pages.  Why spend all that time and money decorating a planner you don’t actually USE for anything.  I don’t understand.  Do you?  

•  Adult coloring books – are not X rated coloring books.  They’re just coloring books illustrated for adult-aged people.  They are also, apparently, quite trendy right now.  I admit, I really love my coloring book.  Unfortunately, I haven’t had time to play with it since I returned from Texas.  I’ve been too busy with my website.  But, I hope to have coloring time again soon.  I, particularly, think coloring is great for long flights.

•  I previously wrote a post about my very small (passport sized) Midori notebook.  I wanted to follow-up and let you know I’m using it daily.  I keep it in my purse.  I use it to jot down random notes/ideas as needed.  I’ve been amazed at how often I reach for it.  I find it more efficient, and more referred to, than my old system of using the “notes” feature (or my Evernote app) on my phone.  I used to add digital notes via my phone, and then forget I had done so.  My little notebook has become an extension of me.  I know it might not work as a great system for everyone, but it seems to be perfect for me.

•  As of right now, I don’t have any summer vacation plans.  My life, however, is crazy and I know I might find myself off on a photography project somewhere on a moment’s notice.  I do have one short road trip coming up soon.  It isn’t a vacation, per se, but I imagine I’ll be able to squeeze in some fun.  I’m looking forward to actually be out shooting vs. spending my time working on non-fun business stuff such as websites and servers.

•  I have a new toy.  It’s a gadget, really.  I hope to have a post up tomorrow about it.  I want to have photos of it in the post, and I haven’t had a free moment to take the photos.  Hopefully, I’ll have it for you tomorrow ….

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Welcome Back!

Here we go!

Please let me know if you have any problems with my website.

Memorial Day Weekend was a big (behind the scenes) transition period for my site.

Supposedly (?) everything is up and running now, but these first few days will be critical.

Funky things might happen?

I appreciate your patience.

Fred and I have had a couple very busy days.

I’ve been frantically working with super-smart techy people on my site.

I might have said, “I don’t understand what you just said – can you explain that again in photographer terms?” a zillion times to them.

They were, thankfully, very patient.

“Suzanne, you need to type in the following line of code …. blah, blah, blah.”

(Said very slowly and with over-emphasized pronunciation!)

Sigh.

Whenever I had a break, I tried to get Fred out and about on some adventures.

Fred appreciated it!

I love this photo of Fred, after a hike, looking over the Orange County coastline.

He just loves our adventures together!

Fred The Newf, six and a half months old, looking over OC coastline.

I got Fred from Trinity Cove Newfoundlands in San Diego.

(I can’t say enough about them.  Working with Trinity Cove was a night and day difference from the unprofessional, unethical, horrible first Newfie breeder experience I had!)

Fred’s breeder is very proud of the Newfie Fred is growing up to be.

He has the wonderful, sweet, gentle, temperament Newfies are famous for.

And, as you can see in the above photo, Fred has VERY large feet and a big monster-sized head to go with it.

I think everyone is in amazement at Fred’s size …. he’s a super-sized Newf – not just a normal giant-sized Newf.

The breeder told me Fred’s dad (who was ranked as a top Newf in the show world) was “the largest Newfoundland I’ve ever seen.”

She has seen thousands of Newfoundlands.

Fred’s entire litter is on the large side, but Fred …

Well, he’s in a size category of his own.

It’s a good thing he’s extremely gentle, calm, and loving in temperament.

He was even gentle with the sand crabs when he discovered them a few days ago.

“Mom says they’re called sand crabs.”  –  Fred The Newf

Over the weekend, Fred also had an opportunity to meet his almost eleven week old cousin, Dexter.

Dexter is also a Trinity Cove Newf.

Dexter was with his new family, on a boat, at Dana Point Harbor.

We were invited to come meet him.

This is what four months of growth in a Newfoundland puppy looks like …..

Fred, six and a half months old, meets Dexter who is two and a half months old.

Dexter was a little intimidated by Fred’s size at first.

Fred seems to be saying, “Don’t be afraid little guy – I’m a puppy too!”

Dexter tried to nurse from Fred but quickly realized Fred was not properly equipped for nursing.

It was really fun to see the two puppies together.

I need to get Fred weighed again, but I’d guess there’s about a one hundred pound weight difference between the two?

The negative of having such a big puppy is that he intimidates people who aren’t familiar with the breed.

People think he’s scary and/or project their own fears of big dogs onto him.

Fred is a six month old puppy and, other than his size, he’s just like any other six month old puppy.

He’s a baby who wants to play and be loved.

There’s not one ounce of aggression in him …

The only circumstances Fred would ever be aggressive is if he saw me being threatened or harmed.

He’s a big, furry, hunk of love!

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Test Post

Hello, hello out there.

My website is in transition this holiday weekend.

This is a test post.

If you happen to see it – and have time,

Please leave a comment so I know it’s visible!

Thank you.

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When It Rains, It Pours …

I’m getting x-rays of my right thumb and hand this morning.

I had a little mishap about a week ago – right before I rushed off to Texas.

I assumed my hand would be feeling better by now.

Instead, it’s still swollen and very sore.

(Maybe because I can’t seem to stop using it???)

Just to be careful, I’m “ruling out a fracture” today.

I’m 99% sure it’s just a bruise and sprain, but considering almost nothing but my hand DOES work on my right arm –

I felt I should be smart about it and get it checked out.

(It’s always SOMETHING, right?)

I’m also working on my website issue again today.

There sure has been a lot going on lately … my son’s illness, the website problem, a wayward thumb …

Sigh!

I also wanted to let you know, it’s possible my website might be down, for an hour here and there, over the next week or so.

I *think* I’ve found the right situation to keep things aloft,

But, there could be a little down time as things transition.

I hope to get some good quality photo time with Fred over the upcoming holiday weekend.

He’s been such a good puppy lately.

He really is coming along with his training.

I’ve been taking him out to stores, etc., and he’s been very well behaved.

I still have visions of a major puppy-lapse while I’m with him in a public place, but it hasn’t happened – yet.

Instead, I’ve had so many people comment on how well trained he is.

He really has learned a lot in his six months of life.

Of course, he’s not perfect with all things all of the time.

But …?

He’s really come a long way.

It’s a joy to see all the hard work of training beginning to pay off.

In fact, he’s become a bit of a local celebrity.

Yesterday, for the first time, I had a stranger approach and ask,

“Is that FRED?”

Yes, yes it is ….

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Copyright Infringement

All my images are copyright protected – all rights reserved.

That means, unless I give someone permission, they’re not allowed to use my images.

Using my images without my permission is breaking the law.

Pretending to be ignorant of the law, and/or ignoring the law is no excuse when you go to court.

Yesterday, a big chunk of my day was taken up with copyright infringement issues.

As one example, a media company published a video.

They took full, attention-grabbing, credit for having made the video.

The opening scene of the video …?

Was one of my images – frozen as the opening credits/title/etc. was played.

Instead of immediately filing a lawsuit, I emailed the company and informed them they needed to remove my image from their video immediately.

What did they do?

They edited the video slightly.

They continued to use my image but they added a watermark to my image with my name.

Apparently, they thought if they put my name on my image I would be happy?

They sent me an email saying they were sorry for the “miscommunication.”

They told me they wanted me to know they had “left” my watermark on my photo.

Say what?

I responded again and I wasn’t nearly as nice the second time.

I informed them none of my images are watermarked.

I don’t want them watermarked.

I think watermarks are ugly and distract from the image.

[Not to mention, the “fake” watermark they made to put on my image (which they were using illegally) was exceptionally ugly.]

Long story short, by the end of yesterday I gave my last warning ….

Remove my image from your video immediately or my lawyer will be contacting you.

These are the type of days that eat away at my productivity.

Sometimes, it’s just a pain in the ass to be a business owner.

And, just in case any of you don’t already know this –

You can’t, legally, use other people’s property (whether it be music, art, writing, photography, etc.) without their permission.

(Some forms of copyright allow limited use … but unless you’re familiar with the different types of copyright you should assume you CANNOT use other people’s property without written permission.)