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Laguna At Its Finest

We had the most beautiful, truly spectacular, weekend here.

Laguna Beach – taken with a fish-eye lens.

From the moment I woke up Saturday morning, I knew I HAD to postpone all chores in favor of the beach.

The only real question, was which beach to go to?

I was full of energy and in the mood to “beach hop” all day long.

Briefcase was not.

(Maybe he just wanted to stare at his briefcase all day?  It is SO hard being married to someone named Briefcase.)

We decided to spend the entire day (and early evening) at 1,000 Steps in Laguna.

I didn’t want to get bored so I decided to bring a lot of gear with me to play around with.

What was I thinking?

(There’s a REASON the #$&% beach is called 1,000 Steps.)

In an effort to “save” my arm, I wore a camera belt so my heaviest gear would be around my waist.  The rest went in my backpack and around my neck.

Oh, except for my (kids) GoPro which I carried on a monopod.

Also, I “wore” more gear in/on my photography vest.

I had roughly 40 pounds of gear strapped to my body.

(Underneath it all, I was wearing my IntelliSkin shirt – per New PT’s request.  In addition to helping provide some much needed stability to my injured parts, the shirt is good protection against the sun.)

Let me give you a tip,

I don’t care if you’re filming a 3 hour movie –

1,000 steps is NOT the beach to take a lot of camera gear to.

Random Dude checking out the tidepools. 

I did have a lot of fun exploring though.

I was either walking, hiking, shooting, climbing, wading, or cave exploring for seven hours straight.

Oh yes, I also did ten gazillion-bazillion-million squats while shooting.  Photography is an amazing full body workout if you shoot the way I do.

I never sat down.  I never stopped moving.

I exhausted myself.

Also ….?

I really, really, like caves.

At the end of the day, after the sun had set ….

When my body was so tired, I could barely find the energy to blink –

I climbed back UP 1,000 steps with 40 pounds of gear strapped to my body.

Half way up, I decided I’d rather spend the night sleeping on the beach.

Who wants to go up another several hundred stairs?

But, I trudged on.

My legs are SO SORE.

PR keeps laughing at me as I cringe going up and down the stairs in our house.


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

I saw a lot of sea life so all my hard work was worth the effort, right?

The purple starfish (or sea star) was pretty.  I saw a lot of orange ones too.

A big crab pinched my finger when I moved a rock he was hiding behind.  I might have yelped.  (Not because it hurt, but because it startled me!)

One woman kept yelling at me to “take a picture of the seals.”  I waved at the seals and kept shooting other things.  She yelled to me again about the seals.  One seal, in particular, seemed curious about what I was doing.  It kept coming closer and closer to the rocks where I was and staring at me.  I said “Hi seal” and kept shooting other things.  I think the yelling woman was getting ulcers because I wouldn’t take a photo of what she wanted me to take a photo of.


I was more intent on something else at the time.

The tides have to be just right in order to access the particular spot I wanted to get to.

There’s only a small window of time to get in, shoot, and get out without being stranded.

I didn’t want to be stranded.

I didn’t want to ruin my equipment by getting caught in the tide.

I really, really, wanted to get a good shot of my “dream house.”

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

P.S.  A girl can dream, right??

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Artsy Sunset

I took this long exposure photo last night in Laguna Beach.

I was in an artsy mood …

Can you tell?

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

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My Favorite Photo This Week

I had a completely different post planned for today,

But everything about it fell apart – the words, the story, the photos ….

So, instead I thought I’d share with you my most recent favorite photo.

And yes, I do change my mind about which photo is my favorite fairly frequently.

But this one is really, really! really!! my favorite.

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

I took the above photo at Crystal Cove State Park at sunset.

The park is located between Newport Beach (Corona del Mar) and Laguna Beach.

Once in awhile I find myself lucky enough to be in the right place, with perfect light, at the exact right moment.

I’m usually cold, soaking wet, and covered from head to toe with sand when all the perfect happens at once.

(I think that’s the “work” part of my job.)

I’ve been selling a lot of big, beautiful, “local” photos lately.

I can’t wait for someone to order this one in a giant metal print.

I absolutely have to see it “in real life.”

The metal prints come out like paintings.

In fact, I’ve had people insist (after seeing one) they ARE paintings.

They’re not though.  I know that for a fact, because I’m the one clicking the shutter.

In any case, this one’s going to be amaze-balls.

(Did I really just write the word amaze-balls?)

Honestly, if someone doesn’t buy it in metal soon –

I will.

I HAVE to see this one completed.

(I hope you like it too!)

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Looking Inward – Self Portrait

The other day I was in an office building elevator.

The elevator was under construction which made me hesitant to even get in it.

Once inside, I noticed the elevator walls were covered with temporary padding.

I wanted to lay down inside the “padded cell” and take a self portrait.

I was only going up a few floors so I knew I didn’t have time.

I also questioned why I felt such a strong need to take a self portrait in a padded cell?

What does that say about me?

I am way more comfortable behind a camera than in front of it –

And yet, I felt I needed a photo of myself in a padded cell.

I only had my phone with me, and I only had a matter of seconds.

I apologize the above photo forces you to look up my nostrils.

Thank you to everyone who left Blog Name suggestions for my New PT yesterday.

Most of them made me laugh out loud.

If you didn’t stop by yesterday, you can still leave suggestions by clicking here.

(Or you can just read the suggestions left by others!)

P.S.  I am coming back to reality from my most recent pain flare up.  I’m sorry I haven’t written a post on my photography feed this week.  I’ll try to post there soon.

P.P.S.  Kudos to New PT for actually improving my flare-up at my last visit.  Usually physical therapy aggravates me when I’m flared up.  Very promising results!

P.P.P.S.  I’ve been so immersed in Newport Beach’s extreme OC culture lately – I feel a strong need to bleach my brain.

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Help me “Blog Name” New PT!

I’m struggling with a HUGE decision, so I decided I’d ask for your help.

I’m spending a lot of time with New PT lately.

I haven’t called him an asshole yet – which is really quite remarkable.

I have already called him a smart ass.

I can think of a lot of “blog names” for New PT, but the endless possibilities he provides me with are making the decision more difficult instead of easier.

Today, I thought I’d tell you a little about him and maybe you can throw some suggestions out.

•  New PT is the owner of a large physical therapy practice in Newport Beach.

Blue For You:  Click on photo to purchase, or view larger, in 24atHeart gallery.

•  Newport Beach is an extremely affluent city with a lot of bazillionaire residents.  Thus, New PT is working with OC’s finest (??) day in and day out.  (The blog material surrounding Newport Beach is ENDLESS!)

•  New PT doesn’t live in Newport Beach himself.

•  New PT is very friendly and personable and not the least bit shy.

•  New PT shares my inappropriate sense of humor and doesn’t appear to be fazed by anything I do or say.  (Yet!)

•  New PT laughed first when I misspoke yesterday, saying I needed Dr. Painless “to give me that thing in the ass again.”

•  A shot.  I needed a shot.

•  New PT is married and has a family.

•  New PT is sort of attractive until he starts to hurt me and then he morphs into being very unattractive.

•  New PT is intelligent.  And knowledgeable.  Which are not the same thing.

•  New PT is annoying sometimes.  Aren’t all PTs??  He constantly points out all the things I’m doing wrong.  (You’re only gesturing with one hand again, You’re holding your body wrong, Don’t lift your shoulder when you try to move your arm, How heavy was that lens you shot with?  Blah, blah, blah, blah, BLAH!)

•  You can see another light bulb go on  (Aha!!!)   every time New PT discovers another thing wrong with the upper right quadrant of my body.  There are a lot of things to discover about my dysfunction.  I’m very complicated.  Pretty much nothing in the upper right quadrant of my body works the way it’s supposed to.  Yesterday, he found things wrong with my back and armpit.  Yes, that’s right – even my armpit is screwed up.

•  New PT is sneaky and connives with Dr. BigWig when I’m not around.  (Quite seriously, they’re plotting behind my back.)

•  New PT knows my medical insurance gave up on paying my bills long ago.  He’s being very generous with me.  I am, already, forever grateful.

•  I’m going to provide New PT with services for some of my medical costs.

•  Does that previous point sound inappropriate?  (I’m talking about photography services.)

•  New PT has been described by other people I know as crazy, intelligent, insane, and insanely intelligent.

•  New PT is extremely observant and perceptive.

•  New PT is being very gentle with me, except when he isn’t.  So far, he’s been more gentle with me than any other PT.  I know it won’t last, but I appreciate it for the time being.  Also?  He uses warm lube.

•  When the subject of Surgery #9 has come up, New PT looks at me warily as if he knows I might dissolve into a puddle of tears any minute.  (Surgery #9 will probably be in January and it will, at minimum, involve removing my recently recalled bionics.)

•  New PT is pretty funny.  (Thank God!)

•  New PT thinks I’m pretty funny.  (We’ll see how long THAT lasts!)

Okay – now it’s your turn.

I have a few possible blog names for New PT rattling around in my brain, but I’d love to hear any ideas you have before making such a serious decision.

I think he’s going to be in my life for quite awhile, so I want to get this right ….

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Life’s a (Newport) Beach

Newport Beach has become my home away from home lately.

I thought I’d start collecting some photos to share with you.

First of all, no Southern California beach is complete without surfer dudes ….

It takes work to get the surfer look down.

The Wedge is the world-famous surfing spot in Newport Beach.

When the waves at The Wedge aren’t good enough for surfing, the boogie boarders take over.

Dangerous waves and a “bad” shore break give The Wedge its reputation for being a serious challenge.

Waves come in from two different directions and crash into each other.  There are very few “predictable” waves at The Wedge.

Can you see the guy on the boogie board in the above photo?

It isn’t unusual to see people lined up on the beach watching the surfers.

On high surf days the TV crews are out there filming too.

The Wedge provides great entertainment.

Not getting hurt is harder than it looks!

I watched one guy try to get a good GoPro shot of himself boarding for two hours.

He kept getting crushed by waves.

It highly amused me –

Both as a photographer, and as a 5th generation California girl.

There’s an entire sub-culture built around The Wedge.

In truth, it’s kind of fun to have my camera in hand when I visit.

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

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The Weekend, In Summary

I hope you had a nice weekend.

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

I went to a party last Friday night.

It was fun.

I had the opportunity to get caught up with some people I haven’t seen for awhile.

It also reminded me of what my life used to be like.

It’s amazing how one incident (in my case, the car accident) can be such a force in dividing a person’s life into before and after.

There were several people at the party who I hadn’t seen since before the accident.

It’s so strange … life just went on so normally for them –

Which, of course, is a good thing.

Our intense heat/summer of the last few months finally broke this weekend.

It was so refreshing to have “cool” temperatures – probably about 70F/21C.

To celebrate, on Saturday, I went to see Argo.

(For me, movies are something you do on cold days when you aren’t as likely to be outside.)

I really liked the movie a lot.

In fact, I’ve had a hard time NOT thinking about Ben Affleck‘s body ever since.

It’s possible I even texted my daughter the next day saying, “Ben Affleck is yummy.”

(She happens to agree, so that just goes to show there is no such thing as a generation gap these days.)

I’ve recently started watching the first season of Breaking Bad, also.

Yes, I realize I’m several years behind the rest of the world but I don’t watch much TV.

In any case, it’s addicting – at least so far.

Why was I having so much “media” time this weekend?

Well, part of it was the weather –

But also, I’m in an intense (!!) pain flare-up so I was making a concerted effort to NOT touch my camera for a day or two.

It’s really no surprise:

Trip to San Francisco (luggage), shooting in SF, a couple Neanderthal visits, New PT visits, Newport Beach photowalk, shooting Balboa, shooting surfers at The Wedge with a big 400 mm lens …..

It’s sort of amazing I made it as long as I did.

The pain has been rising steadily throughout all of it.

Anyway, my nerves finally just freaked the hell out and decided to protest by screaming as loudly as possible.

(I’m seeing Dr. Painless on Tuesday, so I’m sure I’ll get a shot in the ass then … never fun, but helpful when I get this bad.)

I was still pretty busy all weekend, but I slowed down a lot for me.

(I only did 500 loads of laundry, grocery shopping, cooking, etc. … the bare minimum.  And no, I didn’t have any family members around to help this weekend.)

In any case, I’m trying to focus on the beauty in life instead of the (currently very intense) pain ….

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