Bad Mom,  Beach Bits,  Bug,  crazy stuff,  The Hood

Burning California

halloween trees

We’re covered with smoke here. You probably saw something about it on television. Everybody I know is fine, so don’t worry. We’re all rubbing our eyes and coughing but we are in no danger of having our houses burn down. The fire near us is a whole city away and there are lots of streets and concrete between us. I guess that’s one good thing about living in an urban area. We don’t have that much wild brush to burn up here.

black hole sun

It probably wasn’t very smart of me but I was so in awe of the rose colored light, I packed up Baby Bug and took her down to the tide pools for an impromptu photo-shoot. I hope she doesn’t blame me when she develops asthma later in life. I don’t know how bad it was to be breathing this air. It didn’t hurt to breath and I saw a few other families out enjoying the strangeness of it all.


Maybe I can sell my photos and pay for her doctor bills. Ack. I shouldn’t joke like that. But it was pretty amazing to be out in this strange other-worldly light, taking pictures. I would have stayed longer if the battery in my mom-minivan camera didn’t go dead. Along with everything else that is dumb with this camera it also has a battery that goes dead with very little warning. It lasts the normal amount of time but when it starts blinking that means your photo shoot is pretty much over immediately. Even turning it off and then back on again doesn’t work.


But guess what!!!! I don’t hate my doltish camera anymore! You know why? Because it’s waterproof. WATERPROOF is sooooooooooo cool! It was the weirdest feeling to deliberately dunk a piece of electrical equipment in a tide pool today. I was all ready for it to shock me or at least start changing funny colors on the lcd screen. But nope. It just kept on working and working. I LOVE IT!!! My camera is an amphibian! How cool is that?

anemone 2

You should have seen the look on the girl’s face who was standing near me when I dunked my camera in a tide pool. Her eyeballs popped right out of her head. Priceless, that’s what her shock was. I think I’m going to go around dunking the camera in water just to repeat that over again.


Being amphibious makes all the other stuff that I hate about the silly camera not so bad. I can put up with the slow shutter button response. I can put up with pukey color it adds to all my photos. I can even put up with the stupid lcd screen that goes dim one second after I start to frame my shot. I’m sorry I said all those mean things about it because when it comes to taking a beating and still keeping on ticking, my camera can kick your camera’s butt. (I say that affectionately, of course. As a rule, I’m against cameras fighting.)

it was like we were on the moon

But enough about the silly camera. It was really fun showing Baby Bug the tide pools. I can’t believe I haven’t taken her down there more. I used to walk there all the time when she was small enough to fit in the baby carrier but I never let her actually get down and look at the little crabs walking around.

It was like walking around on the moon. Poor Baby Bug, I was so distracted by my picture taking that she got herself in quite a pickle. The ground is very uneven and rough and her little feet just couldn’t find an easy way to go where she wanted to go. Eventually, she fell into a pool and got very upset because she had her shoes on. “Shoes ON!” she cried.


I love her little orange shoes but she has nearly outgrown them so I told her it was okay that she got her feet wet. I couldn’t very well take her shoes off because the rocks are sharp with barnacles and crustaceous skeletons (is that redundant?). So I decided her little orange shoes could take one for the Gipper. Or Gromit or whatever. It was worth it for the experience.

Okay, yes, I admit it. I was selfish and I wanted to play with my amphibious camera. Take one for me, cute little orange shoes. (Actually the shoes are fine. Much like my camera!)


  • The Chatty Housewife

    I love the way the photo of the seagulls and the waves crashing turned out. It has such pretty amber color and the waves reflect the light. It is really cool. I loved the photo of the anemone too, and the 1/2 and 1/2 photo… it is so neat to have a waterproof camera! Ok, so basically, I liked all the photos, the light is really cool in them.

  • lynne

    Hi, I’ve just been reading about the Californian Fires on the BBC website. How frightening! Are the fires really far away from you, yet you have such terrible smoke hanging in the air? I’m feeling quite anxious for all of your lungs. I hope your all doing ok.

    The lighting in the photos is uncanny. I especially liked the sea anenome? If that was the sea creature/flower was? I don’t know if you took that on macro but it looks like it could be as big as a dinner plate? Eek!

    SAJ says: Yes, definitely macro. It was about the size of my palm. Shooting underwater with a macro is like entering a whole new world.

  • DeeJay

    You’re not selfish you’re SHELFISH! BAhahahahahah

    Not really. You were being a good mommy. Don’t be too hard on yourself girlie.

    Loved this post. Too too fun!

  • OMSH

    It does look other-worldly in these photos! And OOOH! Underwater! I desperately want to purchase an underwater bag for my Nikon!!!

  • BeachMama

    As sad as it is that there are so many fires burning (yes, it is even on our news daily) but, you got some great shots with the smoke in the air.

    We had one day like that about 12 years ago and I didn’t take my camera out once, I regret that as we will not likely see smoke like that around here again for many years. Enjoy the cool light. And hopefully the fires will be out soon. Maybe we will send our Quebec water bombers to help out, they are pretty good.

    And dunking your camera in the tide pools…very cool. I am excited just thinking of the new photos you will be taking by dunking your camera in the water :).

  • Michelle

    We saw that on the news too, and I hoped that you all were okay. Glad to hear that all is well :o) Very neat pics!

  • Mary

    Gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous! Reminds me of the way the light looks after an early evening thunderstorm back home in Wisconsin. And the underwater shots? Amazing!

  • Angella

    Loving the undewater option! And OMSH? There are underwater bags? I wonder if Canon makes one…

    Sweet shots! The smoke is crazy though. We had that 4 years ago when the Okanagan Valley was ablaze – it was so weird.

    Glad you guys are nowhere near the damage :)

  • mami-dearest

    Hi SAJ, not sure if I’ve ever commented before, but I’m a faithful reader. Just wanted to say the pictures are awesome. I need a waterproof camera.
    I hope the fires stay away from you and your family…stay safe!

    SAJ says: Thank you! And everybody else too. I’m so bad at responding individually in a timely manner. I do not deserve such nice commenters!

  • Steph

    I’m glad the fires are a city away…..I was wondering when you were going to write something about them…glad you guys are okay and your camera also !!! LOL

  • Ninotchka

    ha ha ha “I’m against cameras fighting” LOVE THAT.

    I want to know what this amphibian camera is. I love underwater photography. Your shots are fab. We have an underwater digi that I love taking to the pool. Got some good shots with it snorkeling in Mexico too.

    SAJ says: It’s the Pentax Optio. The jury is still out on whether it is a good camera… I suppose it is good for what I’m forcing it to do.

  • Rachelskirts

    Again, I LOVE these photos. I do hope that no one develops asthma as a result of this beautiful photoshoot, though . . . and that the fires stay far away.

    For the record, I am coveting a new camera AND a new underwater camera right now. If my current camera was ever to start battling other cameras, I’m fairly certain it would be the one to lose to like a one-dollar bargain bin disposable camera. :( Thankfully, there is this wonderful internet place that lets me look at pretty pictures from talented people who wear wicked cute shoes! :)

    SAJ says: Love you, Rachelskirts… and your font obsession.

  • Ariel

    The LCD dimming is a setting that can be changed. On my similar camera, you hit the menu button and find the “power saving” setting. I changed mine from 5 seconds to 30 seconds. Much much better.

    That anemone photo is spectacular!

    And speaking of the smoky skies, have you seen this satellite photo?

    SAJ says: I hadn’t. Thank you!

  • comfortablycrazy

    Angella, Canon does make waterproof cases for the cameras but they aren’t cheap. I have an SD550 and the underwater case is $240. But if I really took a lot of pictures in inclement weather or was going on a cruise or a trip to Hawaii or something it would definitely be worth it.

  • knitterykate

    The pics are phenomenal! The coloring is really weird but the effect is great. BB looks great – the fires bring out her coloring.

  • Alissa

    Love the pictures! I am a complete camera idiot and wonder how people always take such good shots. Do you read the manual about its operation before using it, trial and error it or have you taken a class? Let me know where I’m going wrong.

    SAJ says: I never read manuals unless something is broken. I hate manuals. They are always written so weirdly. Plus, I’m a skimmer and I tend to miss things. I think the most common error people make with shooting is framing their subjects. So often people just shoot their subject in the middle. This can get kind of boring. If you take a second to reframe your shot so the space around your subject is more interesting I think this will help. Try it. Be like the Japanese and make your negative space your subject. It could be fun!

  • Wendy Mac

    I live in San Diego County and I have to say this has been the most surreal couple of days. Many of our friends have been evacuated from their homes, and we have not heard how many of them have lost their homes. 6 lives have been lost along with over 1,000 structures now, and containment will not come for another week or more. We have fires to the North and South of where we live, so I haven’t been getting a whole lot of sleep. With that said, I love reading your blog so I have somewhere to go for some peace through all this chaos. If I wasn’t asthmatic, I would be out driving around taking photos. I tried to take some of the sunset last night, but that’s as much as I could stand. Monday night my husband watched the flames over the Mount Miguel (Harris Fire) but I could not bear to look. News here is only San Diego, I hope those north of us are all OK and safe as well.

  • ~aj~

    I can’t tell you how much I adore your hair. It is the perfect cut for your face shape and just brings out all your natural beauty. I love, love, love it!

    The pics you got with your underwater (and yet not so “unerwater”) camera are just awesome. Love those too (but not as much as your hair). :)