April Free Desktop Image – From the Land Down Under

Uluru: Australia's Ayer's Rock

All images © Sarah Cross/Sarabek Images

Uluru Kata Tjuta, also known as Ayers Rock, is a large rock formation that is located in central Australia, in the Northern Territory. Uluru National Park is located in Uluru-Kata Tjuta, 400 km southwest of Alice Springs. It is the second largest monolith in the world (after Mount August, also in Australia) taller than 318 meters and circumference of 8 km with a depth of approximately 2.5 kilometers into the ground. (about 1.5 miles)

It is considered to possess great power by the Australian Indigenous and pretty much any who visit. I found it to be an especially magical place during my adventure down unda. It is worthy of the bucket list.

When I was twenty years old, I took a leap to travel down under inspired by a National Geographic photo of Uluru. There I studied Aboriginal Cultural at Southern Cross Uni in the sweet little hippy town of Lismore, home of the Rainbow Serpent. And a rainforest filled with koalas, very vocal fruit bats, kookaburras and magpies that would fly into our flat.

During the six months on the southern hemisphere, I traveled like it was my job taking advantage of being a twenty year old across the world from my parents and most other things deemed ‘normal’. I explored cities through pubcrawls and Aussie Rules games, slept on calm beaches and beneath park benches on mountains in the rain, and went for a few ‘walkabouts’ into the Outback with Aboriginal Elders. I cooked and ate kangaroo tail soup caught by friends that day and cut my own didgeridoo from the tree…I know…I’m bragging. But…it was pretty sweet. I’m not a huge fan of my twenties…BUT…twenty was good.

And then…my camera broke. A girl I coined ‘Bossy Boston Toni’, had accidently kicked sand on my Canon AE1 camera (film!) a few days into our two-week voyage to The Rock. After months of shooting everything that moved and interesting things that didn’t, I was forced into a shooting sabbatical in the one place I was most excited about photographing…Central Australia.

Of course, as I do, made the best of it enjoying the sunsets and sunrises in a land that so rich with red. It was a lesson as an early photographer to know when to put down the camera. Of course, having no choice made that easy. So just enjoy!

Yet somehow, Uluru must have known, watching the changing expressions of my group of traveling friends as we watched her lightshow at dusk from brown to orange to a deep dark red against an endless sky.

I decided to try to try my camera one more time.

And it worked. As if Uluru was saying Ta-Daaa!!!! Magic.

Enjoy this month’s free shot!

PS. Sarabek Images is up for an Oakland Indie Award. Vote for me at



San Francisco Calling | March Free Desktop Image

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Five years ago, I received a phone call from an editor at a magazine in San Francisco offering me an opportunity to work with their publication…Mother Jones Magazine.

After the recent end (of many ends) of a yoyo relationship that shadowed most of my small town St. Louis existence as well as most of my twenties, I leapt at the opportunity to walk through a new door and leave the Midwest. (Or Run should I say) It was the stuff to base a ‘coming of age chic flick’ on. A tragically broken heart…an opportunity…a road trip…with Cat Stevens in the backseat singing the soundtrack to my life.

It was the 40th anniversary of the Summer of Love. I was 26 and soon to fall in love again as well as soon to face a year of hard work, hard play and learning the joy of running and dancing barefoot in parks.

Day three in California, I was robbed of everything I owned minus my camera, a bag of clothes, and my car which I wish had been stolen to avoid the thousands in future parking fines and tows.

I landed in a North Beach hostel called The Green Tortoise that I called home for the next ten months. I shared a room with a rotating door of colorful roommates who all brought a mixed bag of stories and smells. Our room number was 30 and properly coined ‘Dirty Thirty’. (the room itself is a whole separate post)

Between the magazine and working at the hostel, and photographing more than I have ever, I worked 70+ hours a week. Add poor sleep, poor nutrition, and a few too many parties and you’ve got a full-blown exhaustion concoction. By October, I was seeking help for fainting spells and general fatigue. By December, I could barely recognize myself in the mirror.

I returned to my Missouri home and was diagnosed with Extreme Adrenal Fatigue and put on bed rest for 6 months. Later, it was discovered that I have a wheat allergy contributing to the fatigue. I spent year 27 recuperating and preparing for my return to the west coast…my new home.

This image of my good friend, Claudia, was taken on the roof of the Tortoise just before my return to Missouri. Claudia was in art school and asked me to photograph her see-through-clothing line and it so happened that day it rained. (even better for see through yes?)

It is my ‘sunshine on a cloudy day shot’ as Claudia often takes that role for me.

Year 26 was epic in my book. When I look back at this image, I am reminded of the family I made at the Tortoise, my west coast roots, and the magic of what happens when taking a leap of faith. Thanks Mrs. Gordon for your energy and inspiration and congrats on your new marriage!


Happy Birthday To Me! | Free Desktop Image For You!

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It’s my birthday month! On the 27th of February my parents will be celebrating 31 years since that historic day…that Elizabeth Taylor and John Steinbeck share. I knew there was a reason I had a passion for jewels, California and road trips with dogs. ☺

This month’s free desktop photo give-away was skimmed from the top of the stack. It is high on my list as one of my favorite photos…but even more so as one of my favorite experiences as a photographer.

Two years I met Uncle Fred, a Kickapoo/Sac and Fox Native American Elder from Oklahoma who founded the Seven Circle’s Foundation. Through Fred’s ceremonial offerings, I was able to attend, participate in AND photograph a plethora of Native ceremonies from sweat lodges to visions quests and sacred pipe ceremonies. As a white girl from the Mid-West my relationship with Native American culture was limited but my fascination was not. I can’t necessarily explain the connection I feel to this culture and ceremonies considering there is no proof of Native American blood in the family. But if there were proof of past life existence, I’m sure I was an Indian Princess.:)

This image was a bit of happenstance as I did my best to prepare for the ONE mid-early morning break outside of tipi during the nearly 12 hour long ceremony. Not ever participating in this type of ceremony, I was anxious about what to expect…specifically in the realm of the medicine given…consisting of Peyote in three different forms, all of which I tried. I spoke with the leaders beforehand about what I can and can’t photograph knowing that photographing the actual ceremony made little sense. There was no way I could capture the experience on camera nor did I want to. Participating is much different than documenting and sometimes there is no real way to understand without being a participant. I reserved this sliver of time for whatever magic would ensue.

Sometimes I feel like my place is really just to push the button. As if all things come together by forces beyond my own. I can try to control…and being a control freak as my friends would tell you, I do try. But in those moments of letting go and letting be, beautiful things happen.

I was the last person to return into the tipi after the five-minute break. The Gate Woman who held the door approached me as I hustled to set up, shoot shot and take down. I was expecting a “you can’t do this” as I sometimes would get in these types of situations. But instead she gave me a “way to go!” “Awesome”, I thought. Not only did I get the shot. I got a high five! I took three total, packed up the camera and headed back in to not return until well after the sun rose.

To see images from the entire weekend UNCLE FRED’s TIPI

Website with Uncle Fred Photostory

and just cause you might be interested, here’s an interesting article on Peyote Religion


My Purple Hair Made the Press | SF Gala Photographer

My purple hair made it into the San Francisco Chronicle Style Section about Valentine's Day 'Eternity' Ball at Fort Mason.

Yep. That’s my purple hair…the back of my head…photographed during San Franciso’s ‘Eternity Ball’ Valentine’s Day celebration and fundraiser for the Greater Bay Area Make-A-Wish Foundation® held at Fort Mason. I was invited to try out a new idea…and had a lot of fun running around photographing the 80+ brides and their parties that attended the event THROUGH a heart shaped piece created by Catalyst Arts. Stay tuned for your own Shot Through The Heart opportunity. And check out the gallery from the night here.

Eternity Ball Photo Booth Photographer


A First at Oakland’s First Fridays

Warehouse416 Gallery February Art Murmur. Black Culture Month

Horray! New Studio Office hits the ground running!

New officemate, Jen Heller, and I decided to open the doors of our new space (office and tearoom) up to Oakland’s Art Murmur located inside Warehouse 416 on 26th St. We decided to not make much ado about it, and rather invited just a few of our closest supporters opening possibilities to whatever the night would bring.

The multitude of galleries in the Uptown District opened at 6pm for the first Friday Art Walk. By 8:30 a river of art murmur-ers spewed from the streets into the gallery space at Warehouse416. There they found bricked high ceilinged walls lined with some creations featuring local artists including a huge two story walled mural that nearly 15 individuals contributed to. The theme was Black Culture Month. A DJ bumped beats from the booth, drinks flowed and the Snarky Button man was selling his snarky buttons. I personally enjoyed the “We told you so Larry.” That ones for my playa loving crew.

Not feeling in my super Uber socializing mode, I was sooo happy to escape from the heart of the madness and merely observe from our balcony into the warehouse.

I spent a good majority of the night talking with the curious guests that found their way up into the hidden space. Although a little off the beaten track, a steady flow of guests happened in where we greeted them with wine and cheese and an explanation that they aren’t crazy. It really is a living room hideaway in the middle of the Art Murmur chaos. We made it like that.

The balcony offered a perfect bird’s eye view of the parade of patrons beneath us where I spoke with friends, travelers, artists and first time Murmur-ers. While enjoying my beverage and gluten free cookie from one of the vendors, it was pretty rad to recognize that instead of saying “I’m going to have a sweet studio space,” I’m actually in a sweet studio space…it may still be far from “the top” where ever that is, it may not even be all that comfortable, but I’m really starting to enjoy this journey…even when I get knocked down by surprise…I am so thankful for my community of support and loved ones.

Stay tuned for upcoming events with Warehouse416 and Sarabek Images. Tomorrow night is a free movie night with popcorn! There is also a lil rumble of a much larger open house for all the 5 small business owners and artists of Warehouse416…an entertaining night indeed. Thanks to all

Ernest Doty in his Awesomeness www.ernestdotyart.com

Our Neighbors...The Firemen. I feel so safe.:)

The Driveway.

The Balcony

The Mural

Sunny at the door.

Officemate Jen

Sleepy Art Murmur Izzy

bird's eye view

Links mentioned:


Art Murmur

Artsy Geek Designs

Ernest Doty

Chrissy - February 15, 2012 - 11:21 pm

Looks like fun.