Friday, March 26, 2010

March 26th, 2010
The Best Family Portrait Shoot (I love that I can say that!)
Elaine, Mike, and The Little Man...Mister Ethan Best

When you look at your life, the greatest happinesses are family happinesses.
~Joyce Brothers

I had a truly wonderful afternoon photographing Elaine, Mike, and their young son Ethan at a nearby beach. Although the beginning of the shoot got off to a somewhat chilly start for the little tyke we really gained some great momentum as the sun set lower over the ocean and we tried out a few fun poses. I especially love the little Scottish Hat that Elaine brought along for Ethan...a few of my favorite pictures feature him silhouetted against the sand and lapping waves...the images could just have easily come from Isle of Skye, Scotland as Santa Barbara. Ahh, the magic of photography!

Instead of posting individual photos, I'm going to post slideshow of the shoots I'm doing. I'm so incredibly stoked that I've found a new service which allows me to create slideshows which maintain the integrity of the photos' vivid colors and sharpness! Enjoy some of my favorite pics of the Best Gang. I hope you enjoy them!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Zenfolio Here I Come!

I am so incredibly stoked to have found an incredible new online photo viewing and purchasing company called Zenfolio. I have been having an absolute blast uploading some of my latest portrait galleries and creating slideshow which I can finally upload to my blog! It's been a heck of a lot more user-friendly than another company which I've been using.

Here's my first slideshow "Dancing Goddesses!" featuring the ever so talented West African Dancer and Drummer Lisa Beck (Panzumo) and Turkish Egyptian Dancer, Percussionist, and Choreographer Karen Custer Thurston.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Viva Las Vegas!
Three Days at the Wedding and Portrait Photographer's Convention (WPPI)
It is our job [as photographers] with light to carve and give dimension.
Winifred Whitfield, Portrait Photographer

Just got back from an amazing short trip to the WPPI Convention in Las Vegas. That’s right…14,000 photographers from around the world descending on the MGM to visit hundreds of vendors, to listen to platform speakers, and take Master Classes from award-winning photojournalist, wedding and portrait photographers….and yes, there was quite a bit of free stuff: chocolate-dipped strawberries, loads of gift certificates and lip balm, pecan-crusted chicken, miniature artichoke/spinach bread bowls, and a few too many grapefruit rum coolers (sounds strange but it’s actually quite refreshing!)

Highlights of the week besides the rockin’ STUDIO 54 Party that Pictage threw for its members on Tuesday night (think glowsticks, endless drinks, faux fashion show, go-go dancers, and a truly fun DJ) were the connections made with countless photographers from around the country as well as my Master Classes. One of my favorite classes was with the highly talented and down-to-earth Photojournalist Deanne Fitzmaurice who won a Pulitzer Prize for her images which documented a young Iraqi boy whose life irrevocably changed after nearly being killed by a bomb in a Bagdad schoolyard then coming to the U.S. for a series of reconstructive surgeries. She also spoke about the multi-media revolution and how many opportunities there are for blending the mediums of writing, photography, and video in this digital age.

Other highlights of the week included Master Classes with the gorgeous diva Winifred Whitfield who specializes in intimate portraits of women (she’s a photographer and a true digital artists…very stylized and unique one-of-a-kind portraits), Jerry D’s lessons in make-up and boudoir, Anthony Cava’s hard-liner approach to pricing and business ownership, hilarious wedding photographer and Brit Dennis Orchard who spoke about his love of photography and keeping things simple, and the super funny, and accessible Kay Eskridge who has formed a mini-empire side business (she keeps it separate from her mainstream portraits) shooting intimate, sexy portraits celebrating women’s sense of sexy. Very fun speaker and a woman that I think would be great to have as a girlfriend!

I’m stoked to have attended this year. Just as the Santa Barbara Writers’ Conference kicked up my level of commitment to the craft, attending this year’s WPPI Conference has kicked up my level of commitment to photography ten-fold. Looking forward to deepening my connection to other photographers around the world, building my business, and feeding my creative muse this year.

A huge thankyou as well to Andrejka and Cherry Thomas, two friends and fellow photographers in Santa Barbara… that was a fun trip!

Viva Las Vegas!

Rachel S. Thurston Photography

Saturday, March 06, 2010

A Shoot With Princess Corianna Camenzind
San Francisco, California

There is only one really pretty child in the world, and every mother has it.
Chinese Proverb

I had the opportunity to go on another fantastic road trip with Steve up to San Francisco last fall to visit some friends of ours and attend a Hard Assets Conference (more his thang than mine). The coolest part of the trip was the fact that I had just bought a brand-new Canon 7D which shoots gorgeous pics and takes digital high-def video (which I went on to shoot a lot of on my trip to Ecuador!).

My first shoot with the 7d was with the veritable and charming Princess Corianna up in San Mateo....
What greater beauty than to see a little naked baby on a sheepskin rug....she was gorgeous! And takes quite a bit after her Mama and Papa (Peter and Lisa Camenzind). After a crazy holiday season and a month long trip to South America, I've finally had the chance to edit and post a few of my favorite pics from the morning with them.

How do you spell "adorable?" C-O-R-I-A-N-N-A!

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Pugs, Play-Time, and Parenthood
Photo Shoot with Jeff, Hilda, Quinn, and Sturgis Kirchmaier
With Special Guest Appearances by Buster and Rocky

Okay, I really have it rough. I've braved it as a kitten wrangler and now I'm courageous enough to take on pugs. I originally met Hilda and her family through my Baby Love (aka "Steve") but never had the opportunity to spend more than an hour or so with her family. Let me tell you, you really get a sense of family dynamics and how someone is as a parent or a child when you're photographing them. I was truly blown away by what good parents both Hilda and Jeff are and how patient their sweet kids Quinn and Sturgis are. And as if that wasn't enough, I got to shoot the pugs, too!

I'm a total sucker for puppies and kittens, I've gotta say. I grew up with animals (peacocks, bear, turkey, exotic deer, crocodiles, ferrets, raccoons, horses, dogs, cats, and so on...just your typical Midwestern Childhood on an exotic animal farm) and I feel real comfortable with them. But it's a true treat to have the chance to work with them as well! And let me say, these were the most photogenic, patient puppies you could soon as they knew I was pointing the camera at them, they relaxed and put on their best "mugs." Since they're growing fast, Hilda wanted to catch some great pics of the family with the little ones before they get any bigger. At the time of the shoot, they were a couple of months old.


Towards the end of the shoot, the sky had turned really dark from storm clouds. I had hopes that we'd get a thin sliver of light down at Hendry's Beach before nightfall. We raced down there and literally had about three minutes to get in a couple of really magical moments of light before it was gone. Such are the moments in photography. As an old friend once told me, "Everything in life, like in photography, comes down to two things: good timing and good lighting."