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Paradise

Yesterday was a very busy day here in Kauai.

I was at Allerton Garden in the morning and Polihale State Park in the afternoon/for sunset/evening.

No photo can do justice to the beauty of Kauai.

But, of course, I tried to capture just a little bit of it.

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

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Is It Already Wednesday in Kauai?

I can’t believe it’s already Wednesday.

We have more people arriving today.

This trip has been very different from how I expected it to be.

(That’s both a positive and a negative rolled into one.)

I find the “wild” roosters all over the island of Kauai quite charming.

Yesterday, one particular rooster became obsessed with me.

Or rather –

He became obsessed with his own reflection in my lens.

I don’t think he was the smartest rooster who ever crowed.

He did make me laugh, however.

How often do you have a rooster follow you around so he can look at himself up close in your lens?

The Hawaiian outlook on life is summed up in this sign I found outside a little Shave Ice shop:

It’s really beautiful here.

I’ve spent very little time on actual beaches though.

(Our backyard is grass and leads right to the ocean’s rocky edge.)

I need to take photos of this amazing HOUSE to share with you too.

In the meantime, here’s one of the few Kauai photos I’ve even looked at yet.

It was taken on a little known East Shore beach.

I avoid the tourist beaches here, just like I avoid them at home.

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

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Kauai Traffic

No time to write today, but I thought I’d share this photo.

I took it through the car windshield as Briefcase drove.

We spent yesterday on the East Shore of Kauai.

(Tangent:  Yes, my arm is a MESS even though I haven’t done anything to warrant a flare-up?!?  I’ve had other people carrying my gear, taken very few photos by my standards, and only used my legs for snorkeling ….)

There’s traffic in some places on the island, usually due to road construction.  The road around the accessible part of the island is only two lanes.  It’s quaint and charming when it isn’t bogged down with traffic.

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Kauai Arrival

Yay!!  I’m in Kauai.

I’ve taken fewer photos than I expected so far.

I don’t know why …

Perhaps because I’ve been absorbing the beauty instead of recording it.

(Although, I’ve still probably taken more photos than most people would??)

It’s been a long time since I’ve been here, and I’m happy to report it’s just as stunningly beautiful as it’s always been.

The house we’re staying in is the most amazing house I’ve ever stayed in.

It’s HUGE (4,000+ square feet), and all one story – ranch style.

It goes on and on, and on, and on!

The wonderful part of the house, however, is the way it was designed.

Every single room has an amazing ocean view.  (A minimum of one full wall of pure glass facing the ocean.)

We got up before dawn on Friday to travel here.

We got settled into our rental in the afternoon.

Our backyard is all, well, OCEAN.

We made cocktails, grilled some chicken, enjoyed the sea turtles swimming past us …

Saturday we went to the Mahaulepu Beaches which are on the South Shore of Kauai.

We were seated next to a monk seal for our entire visit.

We had a Puka Dog (with mango relish) and lemonade for lunch.

Then we returned to our amazing backyard.

Honestly, I could stay in “our” backyard for the remainder of my life and never grow tired of it.

Cocktails again, dinner outside – again.  (Fresh caught Mahi Mahi cooked on the grill along with Kabocha Squash and watermelon.)

Saturday evening also gifted us with the most amazing FULL rainbow any of us have ever seen – during sunset, too!

It was so BIG and so VIBRANT.

Sunday, we woke up early to go on a Zodiac raft trip I had planned ages ago.

It included some snorkeling on the Na Pali Coast.

I took the above photo with the little GoPro camera (it was in waterproof housing).

I believe that’s my son, PR, you see on the right hand side of the above frame.

The GoPro camera doesn’t shoot in RAW, but I was very pleased with the results considering the camera is about two inches big.

The Zodiac trip was long, but absolutely amazing.

I’ll tell you so much more about it in subsequent posts, but SEA CAVES and BEAUTY and FANTASTIC!

Naps by everyone followed, then more cocktails, and another ocean-front outdoor dinner.

We had Internet problems our first couple days here, but our super-dooper rental agent got everything fixed for us.

With so many people staying with us, however, I don’t expect to have much time to go through photos or write.

I’ll just take it day by day, but I promise I’ll tell you all the amazing details at some point soon!

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Orange County Sunset

I thought I’d share this Orange County photo with you today.

I’m (hopefully) getting settled into our rental (over in Hawaii) this weekend.

I took this shot in Newport Beach at sunset a week or two ago:

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Somewhere Over The Pacific

I’m finally headed off to Kauai!

I don’t know what my Internet connection is going to be like over there.

Probably a little bit sketchy.

I’ll try to get a post, or two, up …

Or at the very least a few photos.

If you don’t hear from me while I’m there, you’ll know it’s due to a lack of Internet.

(We’re staying in a rental house.  I’m not sure what the technology accommodations will be!)

In the meantime, I thought I’d leave you with this photo.

I took it a few months back as I was coming into Salt Lake City.

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Me, Unfiltered

It’s becoming increasingly clear, I’m not going to get *everything* done prior to my trip.

But …?

I’ve made some progress.

For instance, I now have my vacation pedicure.

Priorities people!  I haven’t packed a thing (although I’ve made my photography gear packing list), but I have pretty toenails!

Today I’ll get my bikini wax crossed off the list – progress!

My pre-vacation ADD continues, as I try to remember a million details and find myself unable to focus on any ONE thing for more than two seconds.

For instance,

•  Why in the world would any OC business not have (or not use?) air conditioning when we are having the worst weather of all time?  I’m talking to you “Happy” Nails.

•  As I was leaving PT yesterday, The Neanderthal said, “I see you spray tanned.”  I instantly apologized, thinking I had rubbed off on him while he worked on me.  He laughed and said I hadn’t come off on him, he had just noticed my ORANGE HANDS.  (The last two sentences sound very WRONG in so MANY ways.)

•  Working out your healthy body to the point of “pain” (as in: No Pain No Gain) is NOT ANYTHING LIKE what I’ve gone through.  I will try to forget you said something so ignorant, and I sincerely hope you never experience even a portion of what I have.

•  I’m offering a 20% discount code to my readers (up to a $100 value) on my public photo galleries from today through September 1st.  Use code 24atHeart when checking out.

•  Tangent:  I’m sorry friend-of-a-friend, but I do expect to get paid for the photos I take.  I realize you snap pictures with your phone all the time.  You don’t think digital photos cost anything.  However, the reason why you LIKE my photos and WANT my photos is because they weren’t just “snapped.”  Not only is my equipment expensive, so is the training I’ve gone through to GET those photos.  I shoot in RAW which is another reason why those very same photos look “remarkable.”  I hand edit every “for sale” photo.  The entire process, to get a photo to professional standards, takes HOURS.    Would you spend HOURS on a project for your boss and think it was okay to NOT get a paycheck?  I don’t think so.

•  Other photo-related news:  Yes, I do come shoot events for people/companies/functions if and/or when I can.  I also charge for being there.  I know you think I should just be flattered you invited me to take photos for you, but spending hours of time working isn’t “flattering.”  Some of my Show-Up Fee gets credited back towards photo purchases if they’re made.  It all comes down to time.  There are only so many hours in a day – your time is valuable, and so is mine.

•  Blah, blah, blah:  I’ve had a lot of requests, and after much hemming and hawing, I’ve agreed to sell my images as web size downloads.  What does that mean?  It means, if you fall in love with one of my photos and you want to share it on Facebook, use it as your avatar, screensaver, or use it for personal (non-commercial use) on the web, you can.  (If you have questions about personal licensing, please see my photo web site for clarification.)  Web sized, low resolution, images are priced at $10 each right now.  You can buy and download web sized images right from my photo web site.  If you use code 24atHeart at check out, you will get a 20% discount between now and September 1st (up to $100 value).  Yes, that means you can get a web sized copy of one of my images for only 8 bucks – !!

•  I went to pick up a couple prescriptions at the pharmacy yesterday.  Two prescriptions needed “early refill” approval from both Dr. Painless and my insurance company due to my travel plans.  My pharmacist walked over to say hi as the clerk rang up my purchases.  “So is it Maui?”  he asked.  “Kauai,” I answered, a bit surprised.  “That’s right,” he nodded.  Then he and the clerk began talking about/to/with me and it became immediately apparent they both read 24.  I have never told them about Twenty Four At Heart.  I was floored.  (As if my pharmacist doesn’t already know way too much about me …???)

•  I have a weird life.

•  The logistics of getting several family members and friends to Kauai are mind boggling.  We have people coming from several states.  I think, perhaps, it’s the chaotic travel logistics which are contributing the highest to my brain being on overload this week.  Who’s here?  Who’s arriving?  Which airport?  Which day?  Who needs rides?  Etc., etc. ….

•  The only “piece” of my website/redesign still not completed is the format for phones and tablets/iPads.  I’m sorry it has taken so long.  It has been totally out of my control.  I really appreciate everybody’s patience.  I still plan to have a blog celebration once it’s 100% completed.  I’m also approaching 100,000 followers on Facebook.  (Can you believe it?  It’s so amazing!  Who invented the Internet, anyway?  It’s like magic!)  It would be awesome to celebrate BOTH of those events together … with contests/giveaways/fun!!

•  One of my longtime readers has told me I “see the world differently” than most people.  She thinks my photos are a reflection of my own personal “Suzanne’s Altered Reality.”  I don’t know if that’s true or not.  I only know how I see, I don’t know how YOU see.


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

 

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More Pre-Vacation ADD

It got “down” to 98 degrees yesterday.

I was overjoyed and took advantage of the cooler temperature by running a zillion errands.

(It’s so much more pleasant getting in and out of a hot, black, car when it’s 98 instead of 102 outside!)

I wanted to get a ThinkTank Pro Speed Belt before leaving on my trip.

Dr. Painless has been pretty clear about how I must get a photo assistant to ease the photography gear burden on my screwed up self.

On my upcoming trip, I’ll have a lot of assistance from family and friends.

At the same time, having some of my gear around my hips instead of on my back/neck/shoulders can only help.

(I’m going to try keeping one of my biggest lenses on the belt, along with my filters which I need quick access to.  We’ll see how it works!)

I’m all about finding ways to reduce my pain level!

I also did a second “spray tan” session.  The bottoms of my feet are now orange, along with one wrist.

I smell like weird tanning chemicals too.

Orange skin and a chemical odor make for a very sexy presence.

Here’s an iPhone photo I took in the tanning salon, before getting naked:

 

No make-up, of course.

I pretty much run around like a slob all the time.

I also picked up two plain t-shirts yesterday to replace old/stained/tattered ones.

I keep telling Briefcase he’s so lucky I’m low maintenance.

He can’t argue with the fact I spend almost nothing on clothes/jewelry/makeup/etc.

However …

He just grunts, grumbles “No maintenance?” and points to the pile of photography gear I’m packing.  Then he mutters unintelligible things under his breath.

What do you think he’s muttering about???

P.S.  Here’s a shot of a gorgeous OC sunset from a couple weeks ago … are  you tired of pretty sunset photos?

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

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Stream of Consciousness Week

Since I seem to have pre-vacation ADD, I thought I’d bring you along for the ride.

•  I got on my blog late yesterday to find all my photos shrunk.  I hate small photos.  It’s a temporary thing due to some work GiggaSavvy is doing for my mobile formatting.  I apologize.  (Just when you think all the major kinks are finally worked out!?)

•  A man tried to jump off a bridge and commit suicide yesterday, pretty much right in front of me.  It was awful.  He was saved by deputies.  I want to hug everyone involved.

•  There’s a new post up on my Photography Page/Blog/Feed about circular polarizing filters.

•  Yesterday, I bought this:

My son laughed at me, but hey –

I’m a melanoma survivor.  I take my sun protection very seriously.  (Also, I’m the sunscreen provider for my husband and kids too.)

•  I took a pretty flower photo and broke several photography “rules” when I did.  I really, really, love how it came out.

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

Rules are made to be broken, right?  At least, that’s what my friend Thomas Hawk said in a comment on the above photo.  I seriously LOVE that man.  If you like photography even a little bit, you should follow him on Facebook, G+, or wherever you can.  He’s an amazing talent and ALSO the nicest person imaginable.  Why is it there are so few people like that in the world?

•  I got a “spray tan” yesterday.  I haven’t gotten a spray tan for a year or, more likely, two.  I didn’t want to subject the world to my white ass while in Hawaii.  Apparently, spray tan machines have become more advanced since I last attempted a fake tan.  An OC Very Tan Barbie explained to me how the new machine works and then left me alone with the machine.  It’s actually like a big tall booth.  I tried to remember OC Very Tan Barbie’s instructions but I have pre-vacation ADD so it was difficult.  I got naked.  I wondered if there was a hidden camera in the room recording my cellulite.  I apologized out loud to the imaginary camera, just in case.  I put a little hair bonnet on so my blond hair wouldn’t turn orange.  I read the instructions on the wall.  I stepped into the booth and pressed a button.  The “booth” warmed up.  They have heaters in them now!  Isn’t technology amazing?  The booth began talking to me, telling me what positions I should get into.  (And it wasn’t even a man’s voice!)  I might have messed up a few of the awkward positions???  A few minutes later the machine began DRYING ME!!  Finally, the machine informed me I was done and I should leave.  I got out and started getting dressed.

Guess what happened then?

The machine CLEANED ITSELF!  It was a good thing I had gotten out when I did.  Water and bubbles and (I’m presuming) antiseptic started pouring down the sides and floor of the tanning booth.  What if I had decided to get dressed in the booth to stay warm near the heater?  I would have been covered with bubbles!  I bought a package of four spray tans so I have three left.  Maybe I’ll videotape the experience next time.  (Minus my ass, of course!)

I wish my house could clean itself too.

P.S.  I now have an orange left wrist.  Oops!

•  I bet I’m the only female who plans to lose weight AFTER a trip to Hawaii instead of before.  Seriously, for about three months I’ve been talking about my post-Hawaii diet.

•  Do you have a favorite vacation on-the-beach-hot-weather-sit-by-the-pool-cool-refreshing-drink?  (Alcoholic or not?)  If so, I’d love to hear what it is.