Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas spirit

Christmas time is my favorite time of year.  I love the music, the decorations, the hustle, the bustle, the buying of the gifts, the making of the gifts, the wrapping of the gifts, the giving of the gifts, the TV specials (with the exception of the Star Wars Holiday special), the seasonal coffee, the cookies, the cold weather, the clothes I get to wear in the cold weather, Disneyland, the time off, the travel and most of all spending time with family and friends.  It's a Wonderful Life!

Here are a few photos of the Christmas spirit around my apartment.
 Sandy Claws

Moss Man blending in

My cute little tree

See more here larger and in a slideshow...

Hope everyone has a safe and joyous holiday!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

This past weekend

Tara's 5th Year Cancer Free Anniversary Extravaganza

We celebrated with...


Silly faces



Bal-loony antics


Holiday Craft Party

Tara knitting a scarf

Cari crocheting heart ornaments
Steph bagging homemade peppermint bark
The yummy homemade peppermint bark
Sara and Brittney's crafty CD covers
Bean gets in the wa...I mean helps out


Also went to...


My mom's house to decorate her fat-bottomed tree

It's been a busy and brisk December. Can't wait till Christmas already!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


My sister Stephanie and her lovely girlfriend Cari got "hitched" November 25, 2009 by signing Domestic Partnership paperwork. Until the ban on gay marriage gets lifted this is the closest they can get to getting married. They chose my husband Trevor to notarize their paperwork. He was honored, they exchanged rings, I took pictures and we celebrated. Yay! They plan on having a ceremony next year in order to profess their love in front of friends and family.

View a few more photos here in the slideshow...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Last of the Holga shots for awhile

Photos were taken during a hike we went on months ago somewhere in the Santa Clarita Valley.  Can't remember the name of the trail.  

Click on the photos to view larger....

M & M pausing for a picture at the top of the hill

Baby Leo enjoying the outdoors

Rick and Bik are the experienced hikers
Ignore the Nikon ;p

Morgan and Jose descending the hill

Always check your settings, kids!
This was not meant to be an artsy, out-of-focus shot

That's all the Holga I can handle for now.  Happy shooting!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

More Holga Action

Photographing the Lego Photographer
Taken at Downtown Disney in Florida

Holga Ahoy!
Taken at Downtown Disney in Florida

Mona at play
My friend's sweet, semi-blind pit-bull

Owl Eye
Taken at Universal Citywalk
Watchmen had just come out

Owl Ship
Taken at Universal Citywalk
Watchmen had just come out

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Seeing Double

Experimented with shooting double exposures on my Holga when I visited Disneyworld back in May.  For those not familiar it's when you take a shot and just simply do not advance the film for 2 exposures.  Since I took so long to get these developed it was fun trying to figure out what the heck I took a shot of.

Click on the photos to view larger....

This one is my favorite.  I saw this cute couple slow dancing in the middle of Main St.  Even though Magic Kingdom was crowded that day you could tell they were in their own little happy world.  After I shot them I ran over to a Mickey and Minnie statue that is in the garden area in front of Cinderella's castle and took the second exposure to mimic the couple.   It's hard to see the statues but I thought the flowers came out nice.  It's as if they are dancing in a bed of ghost flowers with some creepy Mickey hands wanting to give them a hug.

This one is my second favorite.  I just love the colors.

Next up is the Haunted Mansion.  I just took a shot from farther away and then a shot up close.  The images of the people in the bottom right hand corner turned out rather ghostly looking. Was it because of the double exposure or was it because they were real hitchhiking ghosts?  Aaaaaaaa!

These were taken during the parade.  Everyone stopped in front of the castle and started dancing as the sun was setting.

Our hotel room was a few doors down from this giant Baloo and Mowgli.  It was difficult going to sleep at night knowing that they were out there.  In the dark.  Waiting.
Can you spot the Trevors?

More Holga fun coming your way in the next post!  Bye! Bye! Bye!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Got my rolls of 120 film taken with my Holga 120CFN today.  Some of them actually came out decent.  For $16 per roll some better be okay or a certain toy camera is going in the closet!

I'll post more of the shots over the next few days.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Arachnophobes Beware!

Just barely caught the Spider Pavilion on it's last day at the Natural History Museum with the hubby this past Sunday.

Taken with my iPhone

When you first walk in, you get to view some of the potentially harmful arachnids encased safely in their little habitats.

The most beautiful was the Indian Ornamental Tarantula

It was difficult to photograph some of the other arachnids such as the brown recluse.  I think you get the idea from its name on why I was unable to photograph it.

Next was the free range environment where they allow all sorts of orb-weavers to spin their beautiful webs anywhere they please.  The spiders in this area were of course harmless, but I have to admit they were intimidating at first.

When you initially walk in to the pavilion you do not even notice the spiders at all.  Once you start to look around you realize you are surrounded by them.  And some of those suckers are big.  Some expletives did manage to cross my lips amongst the presence of children.  Oops.

After I got over the initial shock I started taking photos.  I brought my Sigma 50 mm macro with me.  I wish I could have gotten in a little closer.  I think investing in the Canon 100 mm macro will be a wise choice for this type of photography.  Even though they are harmless and more scared of us than we are of them, I wasn't brave enough to get in any closer.

Here you can see why...

I thought the top of this Golden Silk Spider looked a bit like a skull.

If you missed it this time there is always next year in the fall. Anyone with a fascination of these strange creatures will enjoy being able to see them up close doing what they do best.

Perhaps this is the best kind of therapy for any of you spider-fearing folk.  The guide in the pavilion told us she was once arachnophobic. Now, she can hold them in her hands with no problem.   I personally wouldn't go that far.  Eek.

If you want to brave a couple more photos check out my slideshow.  Even view it large if you DARE.

Friday, November 6, 2009

2nd Headshot Shoot. Ever.

, originally uploaded by Rachel McCauley.
I had the pleasure of shooting a local actor here in LA by the name of Mark Allen.  This was my second time shooting headshots so I felt a bit more comfortable from the first time.  I noticed I was hitting the controls on my camera more intuitively and fluidly.  It was a great feeling.  The relationship between a photographer and his/her camera is special and it's something I strive to master.  Be one with the camera and all that Zen.    

Speaking of Zen, I once read a book called The Zen in the Art of Archery by Eugen Herrigel which was recommended on the Camera Position podcast that I listen to by a teacher/photographer by the name of Jeff Curto.  Basically, it discusses the philosophy behind the art of practicing archery for many years and eventually becoming able to master the skill by losing the conscious mind or something to that effect.  It's been awhile since I read it but a photographer is to read it and replace the references to archery with photography.  I don't know how much I got out of the book but  I do recommend Jeff Curto's podcast.  He has turned me on to many photographers that I admire to this day.    
Anyway, on the day we shot it was beautiful outside.  We met up at a local bar that has many different colored walls along the block.  The plan was to shoot him with goatee, eat lunch and then shoot sans goatee.  We started out a bit rough.  Being the subject of a photo shoot is not easy.  Some people can relax in front of a camera more quickly than others.  Under the direction of his girlfriend Jennifer Damon, who has had experience in doing headshots, she managed to help him relax and get the looks he needed.    
I learned that I definitely need to know how to direct actors/models.  I think this is one of my major weaknesses.   I come from a sort of more natural photography.  I do not like to tell people how to act or pose because I want to capture them in the moment as they are.  Well, if I ever want to get in to headshot photography I will have to change this approach.  So far, she has taught me some great techniques and I hope to use them on my next shoot.  
We also started out a bit rough because this was the first time we used a reflector.  I bought a reflector and it took my lovely assistant, Trevor, and I bit to get the technique down.  I didn't realize just how much light can come off those suckers.  I am pretty sure we blinded poor Mark a few times.  We figured out a technique where Trev would listen to the sound of the shutter and swivel it back and forth every other shot so we wouldn't be constantly blinding Mark and cause him to squint.  Plus, I wanted to take a few shots with different types of lighting so it really worked out well in the end.    
Thanks Mark for choosing me as a photographer!  Hope you get some great gigs soon.  

Here is a slideshow of more from that day.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Scari Cari doll, originally uploaded by Rachel McCauley.
Hope everyone has more treats than tricks tonight.

Please to enjoy photos from my sister Stephanie's 30th birthday Halloween bash.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Avocado Festival

Treading lightly, originally uploaded by Rachel McCauley.
Attended the Avocado Festival in Carpinteria a few weeks back with some friends and family.

We reveled in all things green such as guacamole, deep fried avocado, avocado ice cream and avocado beer. After we stuffed ourselves we walked to the beach and enjoyed the sun, sand and surf while we digested the memories (and avocado) of a day well spent.

Slideshow of the rest of the day

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


, originally uploaded by Rachel McCauley.
Jennifer Damon, a lovely voice over actress here in LA, asked me to shoot some headshots for her. I had never done them before so I was nervous yet excited.

With my Canon 40D, 50mm f/1.8 and lovely assistants in tow we headed over to the North Hollywood park. I shot a few there, but the lighting was a bit difficult and the backgrounds were a bit too busy for me even though I was shooting her with an aperture of f/2.8 to f/4.

So, we headed across the street to a church and a school. There I was able to find not so busy backgrounds in the different types of brick walls. Plus, the lighting was better since we were getting some from the sun bouncing off the concrete sidewalk.

All in all, I think our biggest issue was the wind. The day wasn't too windy but it was windy enough to blow her hair astray here and there. I noticed afterwards on my computer that many of the shots had just one stray hair in front of her eyes and not knowing Photoshop it pretty much rendered it unusable.  Thank goodness I took many that day.

Also, there was a bum who tried to buy her clothes but that's another story. ;D

I thank Jenn for giving me this opportunity. I had so much fun during the shoot and in the editing process as well. Not that I had to do much editing. She is so photogenic and knew exactly how to pose and what she wanted out of the shoot that she made my job easy. She also taught me a lot about what photographers should know when taking headshots. Who knows? Maybe this could become a regular gig.

Let's hope so!

Here is a slideshow of more from that day.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Marauder's Map Tee

Marauder's Map Tee, originally uploaded by Rachel McCauley.

Love this shirt.
This is my friend Shan.
I believe she got it at the WB store when we were at the studios.

Friday, October 9, 2009


Leg up, originally uploaded by Rachel McCauley.

Dude, it's October. You know what that means. Time to celebrate All Hallows' Eve, Hallowe'en, Hallow's Evening, Samhain, Halloween or whatever you call it. Tis one of the best times of the year!

I know most of you will be heading to Knott's Scary Farm's Haunt for a little bit of spookedy fun. For those going I have a job for you. Go to the Lockdown: The Asylum maze, spot the above picture in one of the cells, point and go, "Hey! I know the person that took that!". 

Yes, the photo above from a photo shoot I did, of the lovely Missy Spencer, is there to keep the monster residing in that cell happy. 

Be there and be scared. Muahaha!

Here is a slideshow if you want to see the rest of the photos from the shoot. NSFW