Monday, October 29, 2012

Mama Toto Baby Photos

*Feel free to leave comments below after the slideshow
Mama Toto "Lil Pumpkin" Baby Photos
A big thank you to Tessa Lippmann for connecting me with these lovely Mama Toto Mamas and their Lil' Punkins. I've been wanting to connect with more Mama Toto Groups in Santa Barbara and the change of seasons was the perfect excuse to get outside and do a little autumn photo shoot with these sweet little ones....

I can't get enough of these babies...what about you?!! 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Halloween Creekside BASH

Halloween Creekside BASH THANK YOU!
Co-Hosted by King Bee and Gale and Fred Krupica
Saturday October 27th 2012

Thank you so much for joining us in our fiendishly PHANTASTIC celebration at the Creekside!

We'd like to thank Al and his staff at the Creekside, our intrepid volunteers for all the time they put into helping us decorate the place up for the party, to Joseph Souza at My Photo Booth for providing the photo booth fun for the night (and Danielle McShane for connecting us)!, and to Alma and Tamara for taking pics of us all throughout the night. 

I've managed to put a slideshow together of pics I took with my camera along with pics that they took. We hope you enjoy it! 

I've done my best to be sensitive to which pics to post but if for some reason I have "slipped on the banana peel" inadvertently and posted a pic which you don't want posted, please let me know asap which one it is and I will take it down~

Thanks again for joining us!

We hope you enjoy the show~ If the music doesn't come on right away, just "refresh" your window and click "play" again. Voila!

With Devilish Delight....
Rach, Gale, Fred and the King Bee Boyz

P.S. Come join King Bee at Red's on Sat. Nov 17th if you're in town! The boyz and I would love to see you all! 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Ann and Amanda's Beach Photo Shoot

Ann and Amanda's Beach Photo Shoot

*Please make sure to check out the slideshow at the end~

Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ~Elizabeth Stone

The relationship between mother and daughter, in my opinion, has the potential of being one of the most rewarding relationships in our lives as women. And as a photographer that relationship is one of my favorite to celebrate and honor!

For about a year my girlfriend and fellow Djun Djun Mama Goddess Ann Luan and I have been talking about doing a photo shoot with her and her daughter. And after multiple conversations and life changes, we arrived at just the perfect evening for the photo shoot. We all three agreed that it couldn't have been better timing in any possible way....

What happens when you mix perfect lighting with gorgeous weather, a beautiful mother and daughter, the Pacific Ocean, lots of PINK!, and a violin?


*Please make sure to check out the slideshow~ If the music doesn't come on at first, just refresh page and try again. 
*If you'd like to order prints, you can click on visit gallery and individual photos from there. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Angela, David, and Leo Family Photo Shoot

 ❤ *Please make sure to check out the slideshow at the end of this post! There were so many beautiful photos from this shoot we did together~ 

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

I've known Angela for many years as a fellow Djun Djun Mama and watching her grow into her pregnancy and then into motherhood has been a particular joy. She has always been a radiant creature but motherhood seems to have brought out an even more beautiful inner fire and glow!

It was an honor to finally have the chance to photograph her along with her husband and sweet little one...Leo! Oh my gosh, the little guy has about a million and one different faces and smiles and was more patient during the photo shoot than many adults often are. He stuck with us until the end of the evening as the sun set over the Pacific and the air chilled a bit. 

Once you see Angela's and David's smiles you'll see where Leo got his joyful expressiveness~ ;-)

It was truly a beautiful day have the opportunity to spend celebrating a girlfriend and her beautiful family!

Please make sure to check out the slideshow below....these are only a few of my very favorites from the shoot!!!

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Kim E. Custer Memorial

Kim E. Custer Tribute

“The flame that burns twice as bright burns half as long.”
I'm feeling like time is so precious. We never really get enough of it with the people whom we love. I just lost my uncle, Kim E. Custer this summer. I was fortunate enough to have lived out on the West Coast close to him for several years and then was able to spend time with him last summer in both Vermont and Indiana.

Kim was charismatic, funny as hell, driven, intelligent, hard-working, generous, passionate, and a hilarious story-telling…he was also drop-dead gorgeous with blue eyes, dimples and those Custer Good Looks. For much of the 90s he was the face of Mitsubishi, working as the head of Public Relations. He was a force in the car industry throughout his life. Quite simply, he was passionate about cars and about people.

Both in his life and since his passing, Kim has brought so many of us closer together. I feel a deeper bond with both my family back in Indiana as well as with many of his friends whom I have just come to know recently. It’s as if he still continues to connect us all even after his death.

In my last conversation with him, I told him how loved he is and has been. I have to believe that he understands that. I knew he was well loved but didn’t really appreciate how many people’s lives he’s touched until he passed. Hundreds of people from around the country and abroad have shared their stories and memories of Kim.

So many people have given so much to Kim in the past several years...starting with my family back in the Midwest and around the country who have come together to show their love and support of Kim. His brother Lane and sister-in-law Anne had taken him in during this last year to help him get through tough times. He was surrounded by siblings and family who loved him deeply as well as good friends around the country (he also lived with two of his dear friends Dave and Bill in Vermont the year prior).

I'd like to send out a big thank you as well to his good friends Deb Pollack and Dan Gardner who also managed to put together a West Coast Tribute in his honor this past month.

I wanted to put together a slideshow of a few moments throughout his life that capture the charisma and charm that he always had. I think he’d like to be remembered for that fire in his spirit.

Here’s to you, Kim. You will be very much missed. I'm so grateful for the time I had with you, though it doesn’t feel like it was enough. 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Santa Barbara Writers Conference 2012

*Please make sure to check out the slideshow at the end of this post and feel free to leave your comments and memories!

Monte Schulz, Owner
Nicole Starczak, Director
Grace Rachow, Director of Volunteers
Staffed by an intrepid group of workshop leaders and hard-working volunteers!

Living at risk is jumping off the cliff and building your wings on the way down.

What can I say? This year’s S.B. Writers Conference was one of my very favorites by far. In the last thirty-five years, the conference has only seemed to get better and better. In the past ten years of my involvement I have made lifelong friends through the conference and every year come out of it a changed person.

Many friends often ask me, “What is it you guys do all day? Just write?!” To me this conference is about intellectual exhileration, socializing, celebrating our creative lives, supporting each other in our literary pursuits, and coming together once a year to remind ourselves that we—as writers—are not alone in the world.
Monte and Nicole with the intrepid Workshop Leaders

The Tireless Volunteers of SBWC 2012!

Owner Monte Schulz, Award-Winning Author Fannie Flagg, and Director Nicole Starczak

It’s a week so packed with delicious fuel for your muse that we each come out of it completely inspired and absolutely exhausted. I think that I slept something like thirteen hours the first night after the conference ended. Between nightly talks by award-winning authors like Dorothy Allison (Bastard Out Of Carolina) and Fannie Flagg (Fried Green Tomatoes) are seven days filled with morning and 
afternoon writers workshops from every genre under the sun (historical fiction, literary fiction, screenwriting, nonfiction, women’s fiction, memoir, young adult fiction, humor and more). As well as book panels by new authors, screenwriters, literary agents, editors, and publishers. It’s no wonder that this conference has a national reputation: Men and women fly in from around the country (and often out of it)...hungry to work on their craft.

For me the most magical moments of the conference are those that come in the moments "stolen between"….random conversations over coffee breaks after you haven’t slept for eighteen hours with someone you might never have met if it weren’t for the conference. Or listening to one of your workshop leaders belt out a tune and play guitar at the Talent Show at the end of the week. Or sharing a laugh with Fannie Flagg about a Dating Show she appeared on in the 70s and is shocked somebody actually has a copy of! ;) See the photos below….

There’s a bond that is made between writers here at the conference. If you’ve been thinking of going but can’t muster up enough reasons to go here’s a good one: You will come out of it a changed person. And the conference—like any good intoxicant—is addicting. This was my 10th year and I wouldn’t think of missing it. It’s come to punctuate the year for me in a way that only a few other events can do (Summer Solstice, my birthday, and Halloween!).
One of my favorite events, the Wine and Cheese Party!

Here’s to all of you who were here with us this year and to those who would have liked to be!

If you attended the conference and would like to get copies of some of these photos, feel free to just send me an email.

If the slideshow music doesn’t come on when you click “play” just refresh your browser and click “play” again.

Enjoy the slideshow and Viva La Muse!!! ;)

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Heather and Kenneth's Danish-American Wedding Celebration!
March 30th, 2012
Phoenix, Arizona

"Hvor godtfolk er kommer godtfolk til."
"Where good folk are, good folk will come."

I had the recent honor of being in one of my best friend's weddings to a true Danish Gentleman and man-of-the-world, Mr. Kenneth Steiness. It's a dream to see a dear friend embraced with so much love and to be cherished and loved as the goddess I have always known her to be! I was one of three bridesmaids (with Lisa Link Philips and Lizzie Story-Hieronymous) and had an absolute blast being a part of the celebrations throughout the week. I also had the opportunity to play my ukulele during the ceremony which was especially fun. I wasn't able to photograph the whole event b/c of my involvement in the wedding but their super cool photographers--Shauna and Mike--with Visionyard Photography--were able to capture the whole event and will have their photos up in about six weeks.

These are a few of the pics I took throughout the week amongst all of the celebrations that took place over five plus days! I wanted to share the delight of this event with those of you who were there or who know Kenneth and Heather and who appreciate the joy they've brought into all of our lives!

It was my first experience with a Danish wedding and hopefully not my last! Their wedding was the perfect example of how two incredible people can literally bring together so many different groups of friends and family from around the world. They had aunts, uncles and parents flying out from Europe and around the country...and by the end of the week I literally felt that I had been "adopted" into a whole new community of men and women both in and out of the country.

Enjoy the slideshow below!

And to my new friends and "family"~ I'm so looking forward to seeing so many of you again in the coming years whether it's in Santa Barbara, Arizona, Ohio, Denmark or Iceland!

much love and many thanks~

Venue and Catering: "The Secret Garden," Phoenix, AZ

Awesome Make-Up: Kelly Wisniewski

Super Cool Photographers:
Shauna Stansell and Mike Kaal

Live Music:
The Ash String Quartet, Bills Barns and Band, and

Enjoy the slideshow!!!
If the music doesn't come on when you "play" the slideshow, then please try refreshing your page and clicking on "play" again~

Friday, March 23, 2012

2012 Fifth Annual Santa Barbara Women's Festival
March 9-10, 2012
Honorary Chair & Executive Director; Tracy Beard
Founder and Producer; Patty DeDominic
Co-Founder; Mary Schnack (This 5th Annual Festival was dedicated in her memory)
Master of Ceremonies; Mignonne Profant
*And many, many other men and women who have worked throughout the year to help make this festival happen!

This was my second year photographing the Women's Festival and it was by far my favorite year. Dynamic speakers Kathy Ireland (who graced this month's cover of Forbes Magazine) and Keynote Speaker Lynda Weinman (of took the stage sharing their life experiences and lessons along the way about being balanced, strong women in touch with living their passions. Local vocal sensation Lois Mahalia sang a tribute during the V.I.P. reception followed by a small but mighty troupe of Girls,Inc. singers who absolutely charmed California Congresswoman Lois Capps who was sitting in the front row for the performance.

Saturday's festival featured dozens of vendors offering health products, consultations, non-profit information, chocolates, glitzy clothing and accessories (b/c what would a women's fest be without things that sparkle and shine?!) as well as a section devoted to local artists (a few of whom donated to the Women's Festival). The afternoon was absolutely gorgeous and the setting was sublime...overlooking Santa Barbara's pride and joy....the Pacific Ocean and outlying Channel Islands. Round table discussions featuring local authors, entrepreneurs, healters, and coaches were held in the afternoon overlooking the whole ocean.

Not that I'm personally biased of the highlights this year, in my opinion, were the dance performances held throughout Saturday afternoon. The Djun Djun Mamas led by Lisa Beck ROCKED THE STAGE...with their thunderous drumming, dancing and singing (yes, I'm a proud member and was seen periodically running around with both my camera and my drumsticks throughout the afternoon). Among several singers and groups were Hip Blessings who drew a crowd with their Middle Eastern choreographies as well as World Dance Workout led by Janet Reineck whose dancers' enthusiasm was infectious! Two Chumash groups performed as well as the frame drumming and dance troupe Gaia led by local goddess Kris Oster. Unfortunately, I missed Jo Williams' early morning "Wake Up!" but know it was fabulous b/c everything she does usually is!

A HUGE thank you to all of you who helped to support the Women's Festival this year either through your donations, your volunteer efforts, involvement as a vendor or performer, or as a guest coming to just enjoy the events. I'm also grateful to Patty DeDominic and everyone on the Board of Directors for including me as their photographer again this year!

I hope that word continues to spread with each year of the festival....and that it only draws in more and more amazing men and women to join in the celebration.

Enjoy the slideshow and feel free to share the link to your friends and other men and women who were involved or who would like to be involved in the Women's Festival next year!

*If the music doesn't come on when you click on "play" then refresh your page and start the slideshow again.

**A special thank you to Lisa Beck's father, Jim Beck, who was able to take my camera for our Djun Djun Mamas performance and get some great shots of our group in action! Difficult to clone myself and do both at the same time...maybe next year. ;)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

"The Magic of Mermaids"
Photo Shoot with Local Mermaid Goddess
Kris Oster
by r.s.thurston photography

“I must be a mermaid, Rango. I have no fear of depths and a great fear of shallow living.
Anaïs Nin

Since late last summer I've been dreaming and obsessing on mermaids....spending hours online collecting mermaid photos, paintings, and even creating a Pinterest Board dedicated to these magical, feminine sea creatures...completely transfixed by their long, lustrous hair and gracefulness in the water....tails and tendrils swirling beneath the water.
It's incredible how mysteriously our creative minds work....A few months later my good friend, fellow Djun Djun Mama and past photography client Kris Oster called me. She had purpose and intention in her voice.

"I know this is going to sound strange, Rachel, but I have this really wild idea that I want to manifest with you and I think you're the perfect person for it."
Even before the word slipped out of her mouth I knew what was coming.
"I've been thinking about mermaids. Would you be interested--"
"Of course!!!! Of course!!!" I screamed before she could even complete her sentence.
It would be absolutely perfect to work with Kris on my first mermaid shoot. The last shoot we had done together was one in which we had manifested her connection to a tree goddess. Everything had come together so beautifully when we worked together.
Kris began the search looking for the perfect tail and we met a few times to go over her wardrobe. We even enlisted our good friend Ms. Lisa Beck (leader of the Djun Djun Mamas and also a favorite muse and photography client of mine) to assist me in keeping Kris in perfect mermaid form and in moving her along the sand (as mermaids are quite the aqueous creatures but not so adept at moving around on land until their legs have grown back).
We ended up doing two shoots one in freshwater and another in the ocean. We couldn't have asked for better conditions when we shot along the ocean. The light was sublime as the sun set over the Pacific....she looked like an absolute goddess perched along the rocks as the waves broke over her feet and the receding foam wrapped around her legs like perfectly sculpted clouds of meringue.
I had to keep pinching myself. What a joy to be photographing such a dear friend while being helped by another.
Kris is an absolutely amazing being. She is strong, graceful, nurturing, incredibly bright and creative and has zero trace of any ego so often associated with highly successful people. She is a percussionist, an academic, a leader, a teacher and to top it all, she has an entire background in the field of marketing. She's currently promoting her Elite+Fabulous Marketing Sessions to local entrepreneurs.
Anything Kris Oster touches becomes gold. She is a fabulous creature and epitomizes the idea of a goddess. She looks like a true creature of the water in these photos effortlessly manifesting these water deities.
I hope you enjoy these photos as much I we did doing these shoots together. I have to believe that there's a higher power at work during shoots like this. And I certainly hope that this is just the first of many more shoots to come of mermaids and other magical sea creatures!
If you don't hear the music when you start the slideshow, just refresh your page and click on "play" again.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Beautiful Tribute to Yosemite National Park
"Project Yosemite"
Time Lapse Photography by Sheldon Neill and Colin Delehanty (using the Canon 5D Mark II)

This is one of the most beautiful tributes that I've seen to one of our country's oldest National Parks. Stunning time lapse photography and use of movement...especially love the night scenes~