Higher Than High: Front Row for METRIC and IndieFest

Filed under Just For Fun!, Recent Work Tags: , , , — • Written by admin @ 12:54 am

To be honest, my love of music is what led to my love of photography, so it was really an amazingly great day for me when I went to photograph parts of the annual music festival in North Park known as IndieFest. I’ve never endeavored to be a great musician myself (I ‘noodle’ on my Gibson guitar all the time though) but I realized way back when I lived in Athens, GA that sometimes knowing how to use a camera opened doors in the music world for me that I wouldn’t have access to otherwise. When I was first teaching myself how to use a camera, going to shows at the 40 Watt and experimenting with my camera was my favorite thing to do. Recently I resolved to not only make the effort to get out and see more live music again, but to shoot as much of it as I can, so when the opportunity to participate in IndieFest came up, I was thrilled. Actually, I was ecstatic! One of my favorite bands, Metric, was announced as the headliner! Metric’s latest album “Fantasies” has been in constant rotation in my iTunes and in the cd player in my car. I listen to Metric, both old and new, all the time while I’m editing and color correcting, so it’s been an immense pleasure for me to crank up the Metric at my desk whilst editing pictures of….METRIC!

I’d like to share a handful of favorite images here, rather than make this a review of the show itself. Suffice it to say, their set was amazingly tight, and they sound so much bigger than any four piece band should. Metric is one of those rare bands that manage to sound better on stage than recorded. Emily Haines was spot-on vocally, even while playing keyboards and guitar, and working every corner of the stage – much to the delight of the crowd…and myself!

Metric Emily Haines

Metric Emily Haines


Metrc Emily Jimmie Joshua

James Shaw and Joshua Winstead

Metric Jimmy Joshua

Metric Emily Haines

Metric Emily Haines

Emily Haines singing ”Help, I’m Alive!”……”Can you feel my heart…..”

Metric Emily Haines

…..beating like a hammmmmeeeerrrrr!”

Metric Emily Haines

metric Emily Haines

Metric Emily Haines

For the song ‘Gold, Guns and Girls’ Emily broke out her Fender Mustang.

metric emily haines

Metric Emily Jimmy

James Shaw and Joules Scott Key


Metric Jimmy Jules

Metric Emily  Haines

Metric Emily  Haines

Metric closed their set with an old one and a new one : ‘Dead Disco’ and ‘Stadium Love.’ Emily was all over the stage  (often in the air!) and the crowd loved every second of it.

Metric Emily  Haines

Metric Emily  Haines

I am working on another handful of images for the blog, inlcuding perennial IndieFest favorites, Danielle LoPresti and the Masses, as well as the bands Far and Audible Mainframe. Look for more IndieFest images coming soon!

I Read the News Today – Oh Boy!

Filed under Just For Fun!, Recent Work Tags: , , — • Written by admin @ 9:10 am

The next time you happen by the newstand, you might want to check out the latest copy of “San Diego Style Weddings” magazine! I’m very happy to share the news that one of my favorite weddings from 2008 is featured in the weddings section. Yay! Natalie Maxwell, the Bride, submitted her wedding to the magazine, and of course I was thrilled to get the news that they’d chosen it for publication.


Natalie is the proprietor of  The Floral Palette in Rancho Santa Fe, so when we met to talk about photography, I understood that she’d be taking care of all of the flowers for her own wedding. What I didn’t realize at the time was that Natalie is a really, really, rediculously good florist AND she has an incredible eye for how to deck out a wedding. Her wedding was hosted in a private residence in Fairbanks Ranch that was an absolutely story book setting. Once Natalie brought in her decor, it was like a dream come true.

Natalie has since added an event studio with a beautiful meeting space to her shop in Rancho Santa Fe called  “The Event Studio – Rancho Santa Fe” where brides can go to not only talk about flowers, but to meet with other wedding vendors as well. Speaking as a photographer, it’s always very reassuring to be familiar with the good work of the other vedors I work alongside at a wedding. For instance, when I am scheduled to start photographing bridal portraits, not only is it nice to know the flowers are going to be amazing, but knowing they’ll be delivered where they are supposed to be on time is huge! Natalie hand picked the vendors that belong to the Event Studio RSF and everybody is top quality.  Congratulations once again to Natalie and Aaron!

Wherever You Go, There You Are!

Filed under Just For Fun! • Written by admin @ 9:09 am

This is more of a personal post than I typically write. Everything I usually post here is about the work I am doing, but obviously there is much more to life than just work, and sometimes there’s even more to it than photography! (eeek)

I have traveled around much of the USA and everyone who knows me is aware of my love of Paris. I recently had just enough down-time to make a quick trip somewhere….. I didn’t have to be anywhere or shoot anything for almost two weeks. Paris is great and there’s so much to see and do there that it can be a great get-away, but I was not in the mood to ‘get away’ so much as I was in need of ‘getting in touch.’ I had often thought of making a pilgrimage to one particular ashram outside of Bangalore, India, in the small city of Puttaparthy. It had been on my mind for over a decade, but I never really felt like it was the right time to go until now. Within a day of having the thought, I applied for an Indian Visa and I bought my plane ticket for the following week. It was a bit nerve wracking waiting for the Visa to come, since without it, my non-refundable ticket would be worthless. Luckily it came in six days…one day before I left.

I chose the most efficient route, which was from LAX to London, then straight on to Bangalore, India. Because the layover in London was only two hours, it worked out to almost 24 hours of travel time to India, covering 10,500 miles. I made the same journey in reverse on the way home. I didn’t end up sitting next to another person on any of my flights, and the general rule in the ashram is silence. For me, this meant that from the time I got on the first plane, to the time I got home, I had very little conversation. Try going for 7 days without talking sometime! It turned out to be a valuable experience for me.

In any case, photography in the ashram itself is prohibited, but I did bring one camera body and lens to grab a few shots during my last afternoon in India, outside the ashram. Over the whole trip, I shot less than 75 frames, so this was definitely a trip about looking within much more than my usual looking through a viewfinder. Even on the other side of the planet, I found myself having many of the same thoughts and preoccupations that I had before I left, which goes to prove the title of this post!

I love the quality of light…leaving L.A., just turning back to the coast after take off.

indian wedding photography indian wedding photography

As the sun goes down over the Pacific (above), it’s coming up in India on the other side of the world.(below)

indian wedding photography

This is the public gate to the Ashram, known as the Ganesha Gate because of the shrine just inside.

indian wedding photography

Looking to the right:indian wedding photography

If you stand just outside the Ganesha Gate and look across the street, this is what you see:

indian wedding photography

The ashram has it’s own dairy full of cows. At the entrance, you will see this statue of Sri Krishna.

indian wedding photography

My only picture of myself in India..shot from the back of a rickshaw scooter.

indian wedding photography

On the rickshaw tour, I visited the specialty hospital near the ashram, where all services, including surgery, is performed at no cost to the patient. Even if I had a major procedure there, I would not recieve a bill.

indian wedding photography indian wedding photography

The entrance to a temple

indian wedding photography indian wedding photography indian wedding photography

My favorite number..a classroom in a very rural school outside of town.

indian wedding photography indian wedding photography

I saw the monkeys around the ashram quite often, so I was happy this one happened to be on the ashram wall as I passed by. Aside from all the bats hanging up in the trees, the monkeys were the most interesting to watch!

indian wedding photography

This is the other gate to the ashram known as the Canteen Gate. I asked for permission to take a photograph and it was kindly granted.

indian wedding photography

Half A World Away: The 40 Watt Club, Athens GA.

Filed under Just For Fun! • Written by admin @ 4:48 pm

Way back when….like, waaaay back when, I was given a camera by my grandmother. It was an old medium-format body with two lenses that she’d bought sometime in the early 1970’s when she was taking photography classes. This camera was basically a box with a lens on it, and an eyepiece on top that you looked down into to see the focusing screen. There were no batteries, no light meters, no auto focus, etc. I am a self-taught photographer, and that is what I learned with. I had a little ‘Luna-Pro’ light meter that I used to measure light with, and after a while I developed a feel for how to get a good exposure.

I settled in Athens, GA at the end of 1992, having driven across the country by myself to see what it would be like to live outside my native San Diego. Part of why I chose Athens was the music scene, because it was a college town and home to REM, which was one of my favorites bands at the time. I was able to bring my camera into the 40 Watt club a few times, and I just came across the negatives from one of those nights just last week (they were in a shoebox). I scanned a few just to share here for fun, because it was the night the 40 Watt hosted a long line up of bands for a charity show. Michael Stipe of REM sang a short set with local songwriter/singer Vic Chesnutt. Today is Michael Stipe’s birthday, so I though it would be a fun to share a few images. Here are a couple of frames, scanned from the negatives:

michael stipe 40 watt club vic chesnutt

michael stipe 40 watt vic chesnutt

michael stipe vic chesnutt 40 watt

When it came to shooting in low light, I really didn’t know what I was doing back then. I had a Vivitar 283 flash on a bracket, ISO 400 film, and I just flashed the bejeesus out everything I shot. I cringe now, thinking of the flashes I put a few audienes through! Well, times have changed, and now I can shoot at crazy high film speeds with super expensive wide-aperture lenses and forego flash all together…so I haven’t popped a flash in a music venue for years.

Welcome to the World, Baby Ryanna.

Filed under Just For Fun! • Written by Philip DeFalco @ 1:42 pm

Our longtime friends Ryella & Jeff welcomed their first baby into the world on April 9. Baby Ryanna wieghed in at a healthy 7lbs, 12 ounces, and she’s been doing just great. Kristie and I were super excited to visit them in the hospital up in Orange County a few days later, as they were just hours away from taking her home. I remember the feelings I had when they put my daughter Ruby into my arms and I had to put her in a car seat for the first time – it’s a momentous feeling mixed with elation, frayed nerves, and a million questions, all at once. We kind of knew what they were going through that day, wondering what it would be like to just be home.

Of course, I seldom travel anywhere without a camera, so I took a few shots for posterity. I know all babies are supposed to be cute, but some are definitely cuter than others….oh, and the smell of her little head! Why do babies have such an amazing scent to their hair? Ryanna’s fingers and toes will never be as tiny as they are now, so I was glad to be able to capture these images for Ryella and Jeff.

Baby feet! Babies get “Lo-Jack” on their ankles nowadays.
ryanna2 ryanna3 ryanna4 ryanna5

Snow (Hey Oh)

Filed under Just For Fun! • Written by Philip DeFalco @ 9:54 pm

Last October I was taking pictures of fire coming over the hills at 5:00 am, and now on Valentines day I’m seeing Snow at 5:00 pm. I don’t remember every seeing snow this low on the mountains before, so I thought it would fun to share a snapshot. (Okay, Denver has mountains, these are more like hills) This is just the view from our back yard. snow

I’ve Been Tagged!

Filed under Just For Fun! • Written by Philip DeFalco @ 11:12 pm

I’ve been tagged by fellow photographer John Riedy. According to blog etiquette, being tagged obligates me to list 8 things most people may not know about me, so here goes:

1. I have two tattoos. On my right arm, I have a 1950’s style pin-up of a red-head slinging an old Graflex camera. On my left arm, I have a big Eiffel Tower. The pin-up reflects a certain nostalgia I have for the era around the 1940’s and 1950’s even though I wasn’t born until much later. It symbolizes my desire to make photography my life. The Eiffel Tower is my nod to Paris, a place I love.

2. My favorite movie is called “RED” from the trilogy of french language films: Blue, White, and Red. Or, in Francaise, “ROUGE,” directed by the brilliant Krzysztof Kieslowski. Irene Jacob isn’t the only reaon the film is so beautiful to me. It’s a quiet movie by and large and the pay off is so worth it when it’s over. I see something new in it everytime I watch it.

3. At one point I considered dedicating myself to painting. I thought I might even make a living at it someday. Then I figured out that cameras create images much faster….ending my painting carreer before it began. I still love the smell of oil paints and the sound of bristles on canvas.

4. I have a major weakness for the single serving pieces of white cake from Vons. They’re maybe $2.99 each and I have the hardest time passing them up when I’m supposed to be shopping for healthier fare. For a sugar crash of epic proportions, Vons white cake works for me everytime.

5. I love In-N-Out burger, but my favorite thing there is actaully the “Grilled Cheese, Animal Style” which is basically a cheesburger sans burger. For some reason, they always take longer for them to make, even though there’s no meat there. It satisfies my burger appetite somehow without making it a bad day for Bessie the cow.

6. Fellow photographer John Riedy says I look like the dentist elf from Rudolph the Rednose Riendeer and the Island of Lost Toys. That’s probably why Mindy Sonshine shot my wedding.

7. One day, in 1992, I got in my car and drove around the country. I stopped in Athens, GA and stayed there for almost four years exactly. The music scene was great and I learned a lot of REM songs on my guitar, but eventually the humidity and lack of good Mexican food got to me. I came home to San Diego in 1996.

8. My favorite number is nine. On my birth certificate it says I was born at 9:09 pm. It also says I was 5lbs, 4oz (5+4=9.) Oh, and I was 18 inches long (1+8=9 again.) If you add up the date I was born; 6+5+1969, it equals 36 (3+6 = 9 again.) It gets crazier. If you assign the appropriate number to each letter in the alphabet and add up the letters in my full name, it’s 36 all over again. Another 9. Yup, I used to have lots of spare time to add these things up before I became a parent…..9 years ago.

A Year Since Paris

Filed under Just For Fun! • Written by Philip DeFalco @ 11:27 pm

Paris is one of my favorite places on Earth. It’s hard for me to believe that it’s almost been a year since Kristie and I were there for our honeymoon. The idea of sitting at a sidewalk cafe, enjoying a cafe creme while watching Paris go about it’s business makes me homesick to go back. Paris is more to me than a collection of museums, cathedrals and other landmarks. There’s a sort of ‘connected’ feeling I get there, surrounded by history in a place where people have lived for more than 17 centuries. My favorite spot is actually just 60 miles or so south of Paris: Chartres Cathedral. The stone labyrinth on the floor and the stained glass there are awe inspiring in a very humbling kind of way. The few times I’ve been there, it’s always felt like a homecoming.

One of my favorite snapshots came from holding my camera straight out through the fence at the top the Le Tour Eiffel. Ever wonder what the view looks like from 1,100 feet?



I brought one camera and one lens so we could travel light. You can see a bunch of my snapshots here!

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