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  • Los Angeles skyline - February 2016

    Los Angeles skyline - February 2016

    New Construction is noted as buildings with cranes.

    Wilshire Grand - in the middle.

    Metropolis - off to the right. 

    "Ocean Wave" (I think this is the name?) will be rising soon next to the Staples Center.

  • The wild parrots of Los Angeles

    The wild parrots of Los Angeles

    While in Australia, gliding high over the rainforest in Far North Queensland, we witnessed a beautiful Eclectus parrot soaring gracefully over the rainforest canopy. It was a sight to behold and every single one of us caught our breath.  None of us had ever seen a parrot anywhere except for in a cage. We knew we'd witnessed something very special and I truly didn't think I'd ever see anything like it again. 

    Little did we realize that while we'd been away, Southern California had been fostering a parrot problem of its own. Right now there are hundreds of flocks all over Los Angeles. There are many theories as to where these guys came from. Some say they're the product of irresponsible pet owners. Others say they're the product of failed pet stores closing down and releasing them into the wild. Still others say that they escaped during a petstore fire.  The truth is that no one really knows where they came from. 

    Our local flock roosts somewhere in Pasadena. At the first sign of dawn the birds migrate over our hilltop in Eagle Rock and congregate somewhere in the valley below us. If you're curious you can usually find them in the area by rolling your car windows down and listening for their distinct calls. Seeing them en masse is truly a sight to behold and you won't be able to miss their obnoxious chatter.

    In the evening, as the sun is starting to set against the palm trees, they fly over once again and return to their roost in Pasadena. 

    I look for "my parrots" every morning and every evening. I know many people find them annoying but personally it makes me really happy to see these beautiful creatures living and thriving wild and free.  

    More info: The California Parrot Project. 

  • Santa Monica Beach

    Santa Monica Beach

    I first came to Santa Monica on a date back in the late 90s. I had just flown with my husband (then boyfriend) back to Los Angeles so that I could meet his family. He showed me around L.A., he took me to all the hotspots, then he took me for a romantic beach stroll along Santa Monica Beach. It really was wildly romantic, and because of this, I'll always have a soft spot for this place. 

    As it turns out, now that we've moved back to Los Angeles, Santa Monica is the closest (most convenient) beach to our house. This is the beach we often take our family to.  

    The Pier is INSANELY touristy and tourists flock to the boardwalk. So if you're like me and loathe crowds: stay away. However, if you get there early enough (and you choose the right day) you can get a nice parking spot on the beach and a great spot in the sand to soak in some Vitamin D. If you're lucky you might even find a good taco truck just a short walk from the beach.

    Santa Monica prints can be found here

  • Letting go, moving forward.

    Letting go, moving forward.

    This blog post is long overdue, and it has taken me over a year and a lot of soul searching to find not just the right words, but to find my way again. 

    A year and a half ago, while living in Seoul, my husband found out he'd lost his job of 18 years. It was a career and lifestyle he and I both had essentially "grown up" in as we were both so very young when this all started. Unlike most, however, his was a career that sent him to war zones 5 times, earned him many shiny medals, and caused him to miss the birth of our son - if you're willing to read between the lines here. We were told he had very little time to find a new job, a new home, a new way of life and that we had to vacate our living premises within just a few months. It really was the luck of the draw, and we weren't the only ones. Thanks to automatic budget cuts, job loss was happening all over the organization to people, just like my husband, who'd only ever served and sacrificed honorably.

    Still, it turned our entire world upside down, and we returned to my husband's native Los Angeles.

    I'm not going to get into all the behind the scenes stuff because a lot of it involves stories that are not mine to tell. Those that are mine aren't up for public consumption, either. I will say, for the purpose of this blog, the change threw me for a loop professionally.

    I'd started out in Child & Family Portraiture - I love children, and I LOVED photographing children and babies. While living in Europe, I dabbled in this. By the time we moved to the NYC area, I opened my own fully-licensed Portrait Studio. I photographed families, I photographed children, I did seniors, I even did the event photography for a ball. Unfortunately, we moved within a year or so, and I had to leave all of my clients behind. 

    Still, this didn't stop me and I kept photographing everything around me. Not for pursuit - but for passion. It was my lifeline through some of the hardest years of our lives, and it was my reminder of all the beauty in the world around me. Even if, often times, privately, everything around us was falling apart.  Many moves later, I realized I had unintentionally built a healthy portfolio of photographs of life lived all over the world. All those moves I'd secretly hated because it meant leaving behind yet another friend, as well as starting over with schools and IEPS actually turned out to be one of the biggest blessings I'd ever received.

    Looking back, I feel so very grateful to have lived the life my family did. I got to see the seasons change for six years in Europe as well as in NYC, D.C., Seoul and many other locations. We got to experience the end of the Deutschmark and the rise of the Euro in Europe. We saw American flags flying over German houses after 9/11, and we saw the seas of flowers laid outside American bases as a gesture of solidarity. We watched the Freedom Tower in NYC go from a tiny nothing to the skyscraper it is today. We experienced government shutdown and the sonic wave of human repurcussions in D.C.; which, as luck would have it ended up following us to Korea. We experienced and became a part of living history all over the world. Most importantly I had the gift of truly immersing myself and the lives of my children into the local cultures - and made a ragtag of friends from all over the world as well as friendships that have already stood the test of time. 

    So what does all this mean for the WANDERLUSTOGRAPHY collection now that we're settled down into our forever home? Honestly, I haven't quite decided yet. A permanent home and a change of lifestyle doesn't mean we won't still travel. My husband's previous career certainly didn't take us to Australia or China. As a multicultural family, travel is a part of our DNA.  However, please remember: WANDERLUSTOGRAPHY really wasn't just about collecting passport stamps. It was about LIFE, seasons changing, beautiful moments, and being a part of something much, MUCH greater than ourselves. It just so happened that the portfolio of photography I built happened to take place as we were living all over the world. 

    So for now, I'm going to continue doing what I've always done: documenting life around us in my own way. See that picture up there of the Los Angeles skyline? It's new, shot just a few days ago. It's similar to something I'd already done several years ago. This is on purpose. See the skyline? It's getting bigger. Soon, the tallest building west of the Mississippi will be complete. In its wake a boom of other highrise buildings have been popping up faster than you can blink. My husband? His new career has put him in the middle of all of that, once again, being a part of history in his own way. 

    As for me? I'm still just here to take pictures. Maybe one day my grandchildren will be able to look back at my photos alongside their history books and see the world, as history unfolded, through their grandmother's eyes.  

  • Catherine McDonald for DENY Designs now available at Urban Outfitters

    Pleased to announce you can now find a selection of my work licensed with DENY Designs for sale over at Urban Outfitters

    Shop here: