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Orange County, California – Love!

It was hot, but beautiful (!!) here over the weekend. 

I love the month of October in Orange County.

My weekend actually began on Friday afternoon when I had a photography project or two to take care of.  

Orange County was in all her glory for me ….

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Stairway to an Orange County beach.

(I'll tell you a little bit more about my Friday projects in a future post.)

My weekend was marred by only two things:

  1)  My neighbor was doing LOUD construction work at 7:00 a.m. both weekend mornings.  (Really dude?  Also … yawn!)

  2)  I went into a bad pain flare up on Friday.  I didn't let it stop me, but it definitely slowed me down.  I walked around with clenched teeth for a good part of the weekend.  Can you say thank.you.pharmacist for Percocet??  

Saturday morning couldn't have been more beautiful.  I drank coffee out on my patio in the sunshine while being entertained by hummingbirds.  We always (year round) have several hummingbirds living in our yard.  

Saturday was different though.  

Dozens, upon dozens, of hummingbirds (migrating from the Pacific Northwest) had stopped in for some food.  I have three feeders in my yard, and I had to refill all three of them by mid-morning.

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Hummingbirds feeding.

I've spent my whole life around hummingbirds and I've never seen so many in one place, at one time.  Hummingbirds are highly entertaining birds to watch.  They dart, they dodge, they chase each other … they're a blur of constant motion.  It was amazing to see so many together at once.  (The non-local hummingbirds have now continued on their journey to Mexico for the winter.)

The second highlight of my weekend was doing a "night shoot" on the beach.

It was such a beautiful evening.

It was magical …

Really, there are no words for the beauty I'm surrounded by.

Beach_Stairway-1
Sun setting at the beach, silhouetting palm trees.  Orange County, CA

Being out with my camera on such a breathtaking evening (and night) was so good for my soul.  It lifted me up when the physical pain I was in would otherwise have been overwhelming.

© Twenty Four At Heart

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Happy To See Me

Happy

I posted this photo of about-to-bloom cactus on G+ awhile back.  I snorted out loud when someone left a comment warning me to "be careful of the second one."

© Twenty Four At Heart

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Beautiful Sunset

Sunset-1
I took this sunset photo in Laguna Beach a few weeks ago.

Yes, it's real – the sun was the "biggest" I've ever seen due to the light mist in the air.

Really cool, don't ya think?

© Twenty Four At Heart

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Fearless Friday

I think I'm going to start writing Fearless Friday's along with Photography Friday's.  (You know, just on the Friday's when I feel like it ….)

I've been getting a lot of questions from readers lately.  Usually if one person has a question, other people are wondering the same thing.

So …

Keep sending in questions if you have them and I'll do my best to answer as many of them as fearlessly as I can.

Here goes:

•  I circled you on G+, but how do I let you know without sounding like a stalker?  First of all, I love me a good stalker.  Second, all you need to do is leave a comment on one of my G+ photo posts, or send me a private message if you'd prefer, and tell me you're one of my blog readers.  (Hi, I read 24. Or: Hi, I'm one of your readers.)  If you want, you can just follow me/my photography all quiet and secret-ish.  I get a notice when people follow me, but to be honest I rarely have time to look at the notifications.  I assume my friends/readers/people I know will "talk" to me and then I'll circle them.

Warning:  I don't write on G+ very often … right now it's primarily my photography place.  Some of my photos will show up there and here – some will only be on G+.

 What do you think of medicinal marijuana?  Do you smoke it?  Is it helping?  No, I don't smoke it.  Smoking anything is bad for your lungs.  The Weed Doc (who is actually a real-live anesthesiologist), told me to use a vaporizer and so I do.  A vaporizer is a new-ish invention and it gives you the pain-reducing effects without smoking.  I haven't tried eating pot brownies/cookies/etc. because digesting it affects your body a little differently and takes longer to work.  I don't use weed often for the same reason I try to avoid most pain killers.  I like to be alert, and mentally present, in my life.  I use it when I need it, and yes – so far it seems to help (but not eliminate) pain.

•  There's a marijuana clinic in Money Town?  There was.  It got shut down yesterday.  I'll have to drive a little farther next time.

•  Did using marijuana make you paranoid?  Believe it or not, pot is a lot different than it was years back when the dinosaurs roamed.  For one, it's a lot stronger – they grow all sorts of "hybrids" now.  Also, there are a lot of different types.  Some types are more likely to cause a paranoid side effect than others.  I'm not using those types, so I've been fine.  

•  Can I put you in my Friends circle on G+ even though we've never met?  Yes, you can.  I would be honored.  You can, in fact, put me in any circle you want.  I don't see what circle I'm put in, only you do.

•  Why would you lay down in the middle of a road to take a photo?  Well, let me show you where the road was:

Canyon-1
My canyon – Orange County, CA.

There is nothing there.  Nothing! 

Ever.  

(Except …?  For this one time, apparently!)

 I'm on G+, now what do I do?  Well, G+ is not Facebook so I suggest you think of it differently from the very beginning.  You can make it what you want.  But ….

I really suggest you follow strangers.  Yes, strangers.  You can make a circle for each of your interests and put total strangers in it.  Find the "experts" in whatever it is you like and see what people "in the know" are saying.  You don't have to share a thing about yourself with them.  Look at it as a learning experience.

(You can also have a circle for friends, for family, etc.  Each circle only sees what you want them to see.  You probably don't want to bore all your circles/interests with news about running out of coffee filters or your home life.)

For me, I followed a lot of the top photographers in the world.  I learn by looking at their photos.  Sometimes they publish interesting posts related to photography, but I learn a lot just by looking at what/how they're shooting too.  I'm nosy – it's fun.  Surprisingly, some of those "strangers" are now becoming friends.

You can also have a "hangout" and talk/videochat with people of similar interests.  You don't even have to tell them where you live – in case they're secretly an ax murderer.

If you're looking for fantastic photographers, I'd be more than happy to share a few of my favorites with my readers.  Just let me know ….

 Last, I've received several photography-related questions.  I'll try to put the questions and answers together and write a "Photography Friday" post soon.

Thank you all for being so great and so supportive!

(Once again, you can find me on G+ by clicking here.)

xo

© Twenty Four At Heart

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Apparently I’m Dead in the Road

I never seem to stop having unusual experiences.

I attract perverts and strange encounters like a moth to a flame.

I've been trying to post at least three photos per day on G+ (morning/afternoon/evening).  Some days it doesn't happen, but it's my current goal since I have a chunk of new photography-enthused followers.

(Unrelated aside:  If you follow me on G+ please let me know you're there so I can follow you back.  I often miss people in my notifications, but if you let me know you're there I'll make sure to follow you back!)

I've recently had a lot of technical problems and sometimes, if I'm rushing, I don't have a lot of time to pull out my external hard drives and find the photo I want.

So – I've been taking a lot of new shots.  (That's my excuse anyway!)

The other day I decided to take a walk with my camera in my neighborhood.  

Remember, I live in a canyon – lots of unexpected critters to come across, etc. 

Prickly_Pear-1
Prickly pear cacti

I noticed the cacti were bearing fruit.  They looked so pretty in a cactus sorta way.  I was on a little back road in the canyon and it was eerily silent.

Kind of creepy really.

I expected a mountain lion to suddenly appear and eat me.  (It has happened before here – not that far from my house.)  

I was having a silent tug-of-war in my mind:

Internal Voice #1:  Take your time, take lots of photos.

Internal Voice #2:  OMG – get out of here fast! THERE'S NO ONE AROUND.  You will get eaten by a mountain lion and no one will ever know where you went or what happened to you.  

Do you ever have conversations about mountain lions eating you inside your head?

No?

Anyway, it was right about then I noticed some pretty yellow flowers along the road.

I had a wide angle lens on my camera and I just couldn't get a good shot of them -

So I layed down in the middle of the eerily quiet, totally deserted, road.

I was there for awhile.  

I was concentrating very hard, because I was having a difficult time getting the angle I wanted.

And then,

Out of nowhere,

There was a truck behind me and a group of Hispanic men talking frantically and the word "muerto" (or something like that) kept being said.

My immediate thought was, "I'm about to be run over by a truck."

I scrambled to get up, and out of the way, as fast as possible.

As I was doing so, I realized the truck had actually just stopped a few feet behind me.

When I jumped up, the men inside it looked startled and frightened.

That's when the word "muerto" sunk the rest of the way into my brain.

In Spanish, muerto means dead.

Apparently the men inside the truck thought they had come across a dead woman in the middle of the street.

A dead woman, in the middle of a deserted street, clutching a camera in her dead hands.

After their initial shock, the men seemed relieved they didn't have to deal with a dead body.

I was a little flustered by the encounter myself …

First, thinking I was about to be run over by a truck -

And then hearing I was actually dead in the middle of the street.

© Twenty Four At Heart 

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Squeeee!! (Also, Get Your Ass on G+)

Yesterday morning, when I first checked-in on email/Twitter/G+, I noticed the number of my G+ followers had gone up overnight.  I thought it was a little odd since I wasn't posting any photos while I slept.  (At least, not as far as I know!)

It seemed even odder when I got on G+ and realized my G+ followers now outnumber my Twitter followers.

Then I found out why …

Thomas Hawk, who I just mentioned in my post yesterday, published a list (his circle) of "250 Kick Ass Photographers."  My name was on his list.  People who would never otherwise hear of me, are now following me/my photos.  

I need to go on a little tangent -

  •  Holy shit folks!  Thomas Hawk!!

  •  I told you he was nice.

  •  Yes, I DO know I still have a lot to learn about photography.  (The more I learn, the more I realize I need to learn ….)

•  I'm honored, and at the same time humbled, by being mentioned on the same list as so many photographers I really, really, admire.

  •  Being able to "share circles" on G+ is the coolest invention since sliced bread!  (You can follow all the same photographers, or whatever, as your friends – with just one click!)

  •  Those of you who have been reading me for any length of time know what I've gone through in recent years.  The terrible car accident, the resulting eight surgeries, the loss of use of my dominant/right arm, the chronic severe pain I will live with for the rest of my life, my new "bionic" arm, the loss of my ability to hold a camera for years – it goes on and on.  

It's been five years of fighting and overcoming odds and fighting more (and more, and more!)  … and Thomas Hawk put me on his Kick Ass Photographer List.  For other people, this might be a "little" thing – for me, it's huge.  

(He has no idea, except maybe now he will – if he sees this post.)

After all I've gone through, how is it even possible?  

I am the woman who would never hold a camera again ….

I really hope you'll come join me on G+!  It's the new happenin' place.  

You can follow me on G+ here, and while you're at it – you should also follow Thomas Hawk and his amazing photography.

© Twenty Four At Heart

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Inside My Petals

Sunflower-1
Macro photo of a sunflower, photographed by yours truly.

I've been very busy lately.

Here's a glimpse of some of what's been going on with me "behind the scenes" lately.

•  One of my girlfriends is moving out of state.  It makes me sad to see her go.  I took her out for a farewell lunch.  I cried saying good-bye to her.  Life is full of way too many good-byes.

•  My son's college roommate recently asked why I had not yet sent back my famous homemade banana bread.  How can someone I barely know make me feel so guilty?  I baked two loaves and got them in the mail yesterday … sheesh!

•  I've been walking a lot.  Walking, and walking, and walking.  My ass has fallen to the ground (who invented gravity?) and I'm trying not to drag it behind me as I go.  If I walk long enough, it clears my head too.  Sometimes we all need a good head-clearing, right?  Why does that last sentence sound sex related?

•  I've been spending as much time as my bum arm will allow on photography.  When I can't shoot, due to pain, I study.  Yes, I'm studying everything I can to improve my skills.  Have I mentioned (four bazillion times) photography is my passion?

•  In case you don't already know, G+ is the place to be for anyone interested in photography.  Where else can you "talk to" and learn from the top photographers in the world?  (And, I'd like to add … the photography community on G+ is NICE.  I can't believe how encouraging everyone has been.  Thomas Hawk even sent me a link to his playlist for photo editing tunes.  Nice guy even if he is absurdly famous.)

•  This is what Los Angeles looks like from the LA Live area at the end of the day:

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Los Angeles

•  This is what Orange County looks like at twilight:

Twilight_1
Twilight in Orange County (Can you see the moon in the sky?  The sun hadn't even set yet.)

•  I got a "medicinal marijuana" license from a well-known weed doctor in Orange County.  It was all I could do not to laugh while I went through this formality.  He was quite serious, and I wanted to giggle the entire time I was there.  (By the way, he told me I probably should also use the Fentanyl patches my pain doc prescribed – but I'm still trying NOT to.)

•  Later that day, I visited a "Medical Marijuana Dispensary."  It happens to be located in the same building complex as The Torturer, my ex-physical therapist.  The irony of this is not lost on me.  I wasn't tempted to giggle while purchasing my medicinal marijuana because the guy selling it to me was.  That's right – he kept giggling.  He was as high as a kite.

•  That night my friend, Nike, texted me and asked, "Well???"  I texted back one word, "Floating!"

•  P.S.  Saturday Night Live is suddenly SO funny.

© Twenty Four At Heart

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Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills

I spent a day in Beverly Hills last week, primarily on Rodeo Drive.

(The sculpture in yesterday's post stands in the middle of Rodeo Drive.  I'm in love with the sculpture, and would take it home with me if I could.  I would name it Naked Pain and put it … I'm not sure where.  Maybe Naked Pain would have to stand in the middle of my kitchen?)

Rodeo_Drive_Sign-1

Rodeo Drive street sign.

I hadn't visited Rodeo Drive in awhile, but little has changed.

Did you know very few locals actually shop on Rodeo Drive?

It's primarily a tourist destination.

Now that summer has ended, it wasn't too busy.

Rodeo_Drive_1-1

Rodeo Drive – palm trees and Mercedes Benz.

One of the shopkeepers talked to me for a long time.  She was bored because the bulk of tourists are gone.

Rodeo Drive is charming, pristine, and arrogant about flaunting its materialism.

Rodeo_Drive_2-1
The above photo of a Beverly Hills storefront is slightly out of focus.  I was running from a security guard when I took it.

You think I'm joking don't you?

(They are damn serious when they say no cameras allowed!)

I met a French photographer who spoke little English.

He was very handsome, but he creeped me out.

He kept following me.

It isn't uncommon really,

A photographer spots another photographer and thinks,

"If he/she is taking a photo there, then I should too."

Except …

He kept following me, and following me, and following me.

Finally, I told him he was scaring me.

He then tried to have a conversation with me, but it didn't go too smoothly.

Maybe he just wanted American-Woman-Rodeo-Drive sex?

Who can say ….

He didn't speak much English, and I only know about three words of French.

 

Rodeo_Drive_1

Did you know the entire (very famous) area of Rodeo Drive is actually a very small shopping area?

South Orange County is a lot like Rodeo Drive, except on steroids and with a lot less charm.

Bev_Hills
The intersection of Wilshire Blvd. and Rodeo Drive.

I apologize Orange County …

But, you know, it's true.

© Twenty Four At Heart

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Counting Sheep

Clouds_2
We had a beautiful sky to gaze at yesterday.

Thank goodness, because it was sort of a shitty week.

Next week has got to be better, right?

© Twenty Four At Heart