My first ad and a quick blurb…

My first ad ran in the local newspaper yesterday, along with a brief mention of my new studio. Very cool!

Village News Article

Village News Ad

New Photography Studio Open

FALLBROOK — Cheryl Spelts, a fine art photographer specializing in fresh and modern portraits and beautiful weddings, opened a new studio in downtown Fallbrook this week. The studio is located upstairs from the Village News at the historic Elder House.

It’s a space that is filled with light, making it perfect for beautiful, natural light portraits, which suits Spelts’ style of relaxed, modern portrait photography. The grounds of Elder House are the perfect backdrop for the outdoor portion of a photo session. Location shoots and wedding photography are also available.

Spelts’ Web site,, features samples of her work and a regularly updated blog.

Spelts is available by appointment only. Please call (760) 728-4282.

Fallbrook Today

I drove past a Persimmon orchard today, and was struck by how beautiful the trees look right now – completely laden with fruit.

Fallbrook Persimmon Orchard

My Mom makes the best Persimmon bread, and growing up we always knew at least one friend who had a tree and would have tons of fruit to give away between Thanksgiving and Christmas. But I’d never seen a whole orchard of trees before this week – and it’s a beautiful thing to see!


Just a short distance from this beautiful orchard there’s massive fire damage. But not everything was scorched. This pale purple flower is actually a weed that grows on the side of the road – the official name is Datura, but it’s more commonly known as Angel’s Trumpet. When the bloom opens, they remind me of a Georgia O’Keefe painting. But even a bud like this one is beautiful.

Burned Truck

On Reche Road there used to be an old restaurant or road house or country store or house – I’m not sure what exactly – if it’s been open in the last twenty years, I don’t remember it. And the oak trees and vegetation around it were always so thick, all you could see was the old sign – the building was completely hidden. But whatever it was, the fire a month ago claimed it – all that’s left is the gate, the foundation, a chimney, and two vehicles in the yard. And you can see it all from the road as you drive by.

San Diego County Wildfires 2007

The yellow sign reads, “San Diego County Wildfires 2007, Clean-up Program, Hazardous Materials Assessment and Removal COMPLETE.” I’m assuming the charred paint cans marked with green paint, were placed here by the pros doing the assessment and removal…

Aftermath of the Rice Fire, Fallbrook, California.

Not everything burned. This newspaper box attached to a mailbox melted.

Rice Fire, Fallbrook, California.

Aftermath of the Rice Fire, Fallbrook, California.

Once thriving ivy…

Hazardous material has been removed

Another yellow sign signifying the hazardous material has been removed.

Burned Car

There are a lot of classic and vintage cars in Fallbrook – it’s one of the things were famous for – avocados, classic cars, our hometown Christmas Parade, and oak trees! I wonder if this car was a project car, or if it was beautifully restored, or if it was something in between?

Aftermath of the Rice Fire, Fallbrook, California.

I was amazed to see so much plant life still standing, when the homes are completely gone. This plant may be dying, but it is still standing.

Aftermath of the Rice Fire, Fallbrook, California.

Part of a gate…

Aftermath of the Rice Fire, Fallbrook, California.

There were crews everywhere hauling out debris. About a week ago, my Mom spent a whole day digging through the ashes in this same neighborhood, with a relief group trying to find anything the home owners might want. I was really proud of her. It’s one thing to give money, but to give eight hours of your time to dig through ashes and debris? That’s just really special…

Canadian Change

Canadian Money

I came home from Canada this summer with over $20 in change. I tried to give all their money back before I crossed the border – really, I did! I left some for housekeeping in the hotel, I gave the cab driver a larger tip than normal – why not? I can’t use it in the US, it should be in circulation in Canada, and there’s no place to exchange loose change at the airport – and since they use $1 and $2 coins, you end up with a lot of loose change!

But once you finish checking in, and they tell you that you’re officially back in the US, even though you haven’t boarded a plane yet, there’s a waiting area lined with restaurants and shops. I wanted breakfast, and a magazine and some Advil, and I had nearly two hours to kill – so of course I was going to spend some money. So I handed over my American $20 bill, and got back Canadian money in change – and not even paper bills – but all change. One clerk handed me back $18 in change.

So oh well, I came home with a bunch of Canadian money. So I stuck it in a drawer and figured I’d spend it someday when I go back. But the weird thing is, it’s been four months, and still, every time I open that drawer and see that money I feel an urge to head to Canada. So is that the plan? Make sure all the tourists go home with a big handful of change so they get an irrational urge to visit again, so they can spend it? If so, it’s working…

Happy Thanksgiving!

Fallbrook Thanksgiving

It was just a month ago we were evacuated, and wondering if we’d ever see our homes and town again – and now here it is Thanksgiving, and we’re celebrating all the reasons we have to be grateful. It was a very special Thanksgiving for my family. I hope yours was just as wonderful and special!

For more from our Thanksgiving, click here!

Evolution of the Old Packing Plant

There’s an old fruit packing plant in Fallbrook that I’ve been shooting for years. It was a great big beautiful eyesore. The one area in Fallbrook that could be called truly unattractive, but there was great beauty there too. I was fascinated by it, and shot it often. Some of my favorite shots are below – including a CD cover for a local band.

Fallbrook Fruit Packing Plant in 1996 // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

Shot in 1996 – notice the pool of standing water.

Old Fruit Packing Plant // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

Taken at twilight in 1996.

CD Cover for "Raizin' the Rent" by Ces Jacuzzi.
CD cover for Ces Jacuzzi, 1998

Ces Jacuzzi, "Raizin' the Rent"
CD insert for Ces Jacuzzi, 1998

Old Fruit Packing Plant at Night // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

In April of this year I did some night shooting around Fallbrook, and got to the packing house around midnight – the exposure was several seconds.

Old Fruit Packing House in 2007 // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

The property sold recently and the new owner is doing a total renovation. Every time I drive by I get excited by the changes I see. Hopefully soon it will be filled with restaurants and shops – and lots of people! Construction is moving fast at this point, so I went by today to shoot, knowing it might be my last chance to shoot the building in the midst of evolution.

Old Fruit Packing House // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

I’ll miss my favorite eyesore, but I’m excited to see the change!

Abstracted by iPhone

iPhone Abstract

Abstracted by iPhone

Yeah, these were shot with an iPhone! It’s a great little camera and you can do some super-fun things with it…

Temecula, California

I was going through some old images today and found this one and thought I’d share it here. It’s from 2004, in Temecula, California, and was shot on film. Gotta love those clouds!

One Million Posts!

ROCKBANDLOUNGE.COMIt’s official! ROCKBANDLOUNGE.COM just hit one million posts.

We have 7000 members – with 4700 participating and the rest only reading. And we’ve been going strong for a little over two years now, so that’s an average of about 1350 posts a day. It’s a lot! Last summer we were getting 100,000 unique visitors a day – all coming to read about Rock Star: Supernova. It was a heady time!

But reaching our one-millionth post is also a big milestone. Over 400,000 of those posts still exist.

The List

Back in July, at the INXS concert in Barrie, Ontario, Canada, there was a TV crew shooting for an upcoming TV show. Some in the audience recognized one of the featured backup singers as she came onstage, and I vaguely remember the name of the show being The List – but since I don’t live in Canada I never expected to hear anymore about it.

But thanks to the web, I got to see part of the premier episode of this new show – the episode that features an average person fulfilling a life-long dream to sing with a rock band. It’s a cute show, and I love the premise. I wish it was shown here!

And it was fun to see part of that concert again. I had front row for that show – and there were cameras everywhere and I recognized a lot of people in the crowd! Then again, I knew nearly everyone in the front two rows. We’d all gone to the concert in Ottawa the night before – it was an definitely an INXS weekend!

Would I like to sing with a rock band? At one point in my life it was definitely on my list – and now it’s just as definitely not. Funny how things can change. But sing with INXS? I’d do that if given the chance. They’re not your typical rock band, and it would be fun. So yeah, I’d sing with INXS, but they’re the only band I would even consider.

Watching the show made me think about other things on my own personal list. I’ve gotten to do some really fun and interesting things lately, but there are still items on my list to do yet!

The images above are screen shots from video of the show. For more on The List, see