Expectations versus the Unexpected

Last month I went to a concert with exactly one goal – to get one perfect image with all five band members at the peak of action. Lofty, lofty goal. Too lofty really, but it was what I wanted. So I checked out the venue a couple of days before – a little club on the beach in Pacific Beach. The club is now 710 Beach Club, but prior to the summer of 2006 it was Blind Melons. So I knew the club – sort of – but things can change, and I really wanted that one perfect image, so it was worth a little research. Besides, how taxing is it to go check out a little bar on the beach? Not very!

On the night of the concert I had a plan, and I was ready! My expectation was that I would get that one perfect shot. But some days the universe has other plans, and no matter how much you plan and plot and no matter how clear your vision, you may get something you never expected. Maybe good, maybe bad…

So an expectation fulfilled versus something you never expected? Which is better? Can you roll with it? Can you appreciate the unexpected if it screws up an expectation?

I remember Blind Melons being a hot place for local bands to play. It was always crowded with students from SDSU and UCSD, so even a baby band with few fans could play for a full house, if they got on the bill there. And on a Friday night? Big crowd! But I’d heard rumors that things had changed. So I had zero expectations about the club itself, or about the crowd – and I was pleasantly surprised when the club was packed at midnight – just like the old days! And the crowd was enthusiastic and fun, and hell bent on having a good time. It soon became apparent that I wasn’t going to be able to get the shot I had in my head – there was just no way – too many people crowded up way too close to the edge of the stage – even if I could get in front, I’d be too close to the band to get all five band members in one shot, even with my widest wide angle lens. The crowd was a mass of waving arms, and bobbing heads, so I had no choice but to join the party!

Whenever an expectation goes unfulfilled there’s a moment of regret – I mean I really did want to get the image I had in my head! But at the same time, how could I reject the unexpected when it came in the form of a party? It’s FUN to experience a band I love with an enthusiastic crowd. It’s fun to dance with strangers and scream my head off. It’s fun to just let go, and figure there will be another day, and another concert, and another chance to get that perfect shot.

Sometimes the unexpected is worth the diversion from what I expected.

So no perfect shot of L.A. Guns for me that night. I had a different kind of fun! And there is a little slideshow of that below, if you’re interested. It’s a large file, so let it download fully, then watch it fast! It’s not the same as being there, but it’s a taste…

LA Guns // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

High School Senior Portrait, San Jacinto

Patrick is a musician and a high school senior. He’s also my nephew!

We did his senior portrait session in San Jacinto – both downtown and out in the countryside. It was a brilliantly sunny day – perfect for a session like this.

Patrick in San Jacinto // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

Patrick // Photo: Cheryl SpeltsPatrick in San Jacinto // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

Patrick in San Jacinto // Photo: Cheryl SpeltsPatrick in San Jacinto // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

Patrick in San Jacinto // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

Patrick in San Jacinto // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

Marty Casey in Pacific Beach

Marty Casey at the Crystal Pier // Photo: Cheryl Spelts
Think wet and sandy and sexy. Pretty compelling, isn’t it?

That was my assignment last month when I shot Marty Casey for his Silver Elements Collection. There are sessions that go so perfectly you feel like the stars are aligned and the day is charmed – this was one of those sessions. Every set up blew me away.

Honestly, I get to see my vision turn into beautiful reality all the time – that’s not new – that’s my job! But rarely is it quite so beautiful…

Marty Casey under the Crystal Pier // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

Most of the images debuted on silverelementscollection.com two weeks ago, but not everything we shot was about the jewelry. Sometimes when you’re in a beautiful setting, with a beautiful subject, and it’s a charmed day, you get other kinds of images. And I’ve been really eager to show them off, so here they are! Some of the best of the best of the jewelry shots and some other stuff – call it the director’s cut! My picks for best images of the day…

Marty Casey in Pacific Beach // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

I heard the word “sandgasm” recently used to describe a series of portraits of guys covered in sand. Well I gotta say that Marty Casey wet and sandy blows just about anyone else off the beach, so I’m co-opting the word – ’cause it’s perfect!

Rock Star: House Band?

Yeah, you read that right! How about Rock Star: House Band?

If you watched any of the performance shows, on either season of Rock Star, then you may have noticed the musicians backing the singers each week. And if you watched the reality episodes, then you saw the singers interacting with the House Band, as they prepared their songs. And if you watched the performance shows AND the reality episodes, then you most likely fell in love with Paul Mirkovich, Rafael Moreira, Jim McGorman, Sasha Krivtsov, and Nate Morton. They were of course talented – that’s a given – but they were also opinionated, interesting, fun to watch, and smart. Smart people on TV is always a good thing – especially smart musicians!

So is it any wonder that so many people have suggested the next Rock Star find a singer to tour and record with the House Band? This week that idea came up again, and if you’d like to voice your opinion, go to RBL and spill! We always love a good conversation…

Ed Komski, CEO of Xtreme Convenience of Barstow

Ed Komski // Photo: Cheryl SpeltsI spent some time in Barstow last week, shooting Ed Komski, CEO of Xtreme Convenience of Barstow for the Village News.

In addition to fueling the adrenaline rush of off-road and water vehicles, Xtreme utilized the branding of Monster Energy. Monster found the concept so compelling that they jumped onboard right away. “They are clearly part of the experience and clearly visible throughout the property,” said Komski. Monster President Mark Hall said, “When Ed brought us his idea, we thought it was evolutionary and right on target for our demographic, and we were happy to support his efforts.” Ryan Lujan, Branding Marketing Manager for Monster said, “We are curious to see if the Monster brand has long-term potential as the flagship theme in a C-store like this. It will also be interesting to see how consumers respond to shopping in a convenience store with an edgy personality revolving around action sports and music.”

You can read the article at http://www.thevillagenews.com/story/34206/

Ed Komski, CEO of Xtreme Convenience of Barstow // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

Ed Komski // Photo: Cheryl SpeltsXtreme Convenience of Barstow // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

Rock Star: Led Zeppelin?

TVweek.com just published an article about reality shows that should be renewed, and guess which show is leading the online voting? Rock Star is far in the lead, currently with 79% of the vote!

Seriously, if we want the show to come back, we need to show CBS how popular it is – and the best way to do that is to VOTE, and leave no doubt that Rock Star is the show most deserving of a time slot in the coming year.

The current buzz is that Led Zeppelin is considering doing the show. How do you feel about that? Would you watch? Would it be a smart move for the band? Do you have a better idea?

However you feel, make your voice heard! Take a minute to go vote and to post a comment or two. It’ll be worth it when our favorite show comes back next year! After all, once Brooke Burke wins Dancing with the Stars she’ll need her “regular” job back!

From the article…

Adalian Column: No New Reality Ideas? Bring Back Some Oldies

…some had a quick impact, but then faded just as fast. Others never broke through at all, or were halted before they got to the air. Many attracted cult followings and decent ratings, but somehow didn’t manage to survive.

Like, for example, “Rock Star”—aka, the most bad-ass show ever to air on the CBS television network.

Produced by Mark Burnett, “Rock Star” was sort of the anti-“American Idol.” While it shared the same goal as Fox’s iconic series—finding musical superstars—“Rock Star” took a grittier, less Disney-esque approach to the process.

David Goffin, who ran “Rock Star” for Mr. Burnett, said the series gave music fans a peek into “a world that TV had never shown them. And it was real. A real band, real music, a real passion for their craft. Our fans flat-out loved the show.”

CBS gave “Rock Star” two seasons in 2005 and 2006 to find an audience. The first was devoted to finding a new lead singer for INXS; the second summer was spent searching for someone to join a made-up supergroup headed by Tommy Lee.

“Rock Star” generated very nice ratings among younger viewers who don’t normally watch CBS, but some executives at the network just never got the show. Maybe there were too many long-haired folks with tattoos.

In any case, CBS opted not to renew “Rock Star” after its summer 2006 run. But given how little success the network has had with new reality concepts since then, network reality chief Jennifer Bresnan ought to consider finding a way to revive the show. Mr. Goffin even has some ideas about who might topline the show if it came back.

“I understand Led Zeppelin, or at least Page, Jones and Bonham Jr., want to tour—but [Robert] Plant does not want to sing,” he said. “They say they are looking for a lead singer to tour with. The home-run would be ‘Rock Star: Led Zeppelin.’”
Something tells me viewers would show a whole lotta love to that idea…

Stars Down in SEE Magazine

SEE Magazine – a weekly printed magazine in Edmonton, Ontario, Canada – recently did an article on Lukas Rossi and his new band, Stars Down, and it featured one of my images. And it’s currently also available online! You have to click on the image to make it bigger, but it looks good!


From the article…

Forced to define “rock star,” he says it’s someone who affects people with their music, writes honest songs, and reaches deep within to express something true to them and their fans. All of which Rossi is attempting to do with his new project, Stars Down.

I like that definition! And I love seeing my work in print…

Stars Down // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

Marty Casey | Silver Elements Collection

Silver Elements Collection // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

A little over two weeks ago I got to do a fun session with Marty Casey for his Silver Elements Collection. It’s a line of really beautiful jewelry that he designed with Marla Zegart – and the running theme through the whole collection is the natural environment. The first piece, launched a couple of months ago was named after his big song from Rock Star: INXS, “Trees.” And the newer pieces are part of the Stars collection, also named after a new song, “I See Stars” – and come with a CD single of “I See Stars.” It’s a GREAT song – definitely one of my all-time favorites!

We shot in downtown La Jolla and right on the beach in Pacific Beach, under the Crystal Pier. So beautiful jewelry, incredible setting, and a hot rock star – perfect assignment for me!

I’m sure some of the images from this session will end up in my online portfolio at some point in the future – it’s arguably some of the best work of my entire career – I’m really proud of it! But for now, the only place to see it is in Silver Elements Collection’s Online Catalog – so go look! And buy something! Every purchase helps to plant a tree in conjunction with American Forests “Global Releaf” Ecosystem Restoration Projects. So you not only get a beautiful piece of jewelry you’ll be able to wear forever, but you’re also helping the environment!


My (Current) Favorite Food

Blueberries and Raspberriess // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

The image above is from the summer – so those are local blueberries and raspberries – but we’re still getting blueberries now, even though it’s November. They may be from Guatemala or Honduras or who knows where, but hey, they’re still a super-food, and they make you feel fabulous! Definitely my favorite food…