City Deli, 9/26/09

I was putting the finishing touches on my blog post for the Tango Del Rey show I shot on Wednesday, when a stupid pop-up ad crashed my Firefox. For some reason, my post didn’t get auto-saved and so it was gone. That’s the sort of thing that makes me mad-an hour of work down the drain.  That combined with Heather being out of town until Monday (miss you!) gave me all the excuses I needed to treat myself to some comfort food.

And since my wife isn’t around, I had to have dinner at City Deli with Rachel.

City Deli 92609 © Michael Klayman-001

A Grilled Rachel, that is. Corned beef, swiss cheese, thousand Island dressing, saurkraut, on rye. My people know how to comfort from the stomach out. This is actually Heather’s favorite sandwich here, not mine. But I thought she’d like to at least see a photo of what she’s missing.

City Deli 92609 © Michael Klayman-002

Heather knows that if I actually order a dessert in a restaurant, that means that I’m really in need of some love. I saved half the sandwich and half the blueberry pie for you, Baby! It’s yours when you get home on Monday. If I don’t eat it for lunch tomorrow. Which I probably will.

By Sunlight Promo Shots, 9/17/09

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of the Indie-pop band By Sunlight, having shot their sets the last two times they visited San Diego. Since they were playing the Beauty Bar last week, I decided against wrestling with those stage lights, and instead I somehow convinced them to let me drive them over to North Park for some group shots. My plan was to put them on the median under the big sign and get headlight trails on both sides of them. Somehow, traffic decided to lighten up to the point where that wasn’t going to happen.

By Sunlight Promo Shoot 91709 © Michael Klayman-002

So I tried putting them under a theater marquee instead.

By Sunlight Promo Shoot 91709 © Michael Klayman-003

I hope you like these shots guys, but I think I can do a lot better. Hopefully by the time you’re back again in January, I can think of a setup that is a bit more foolproof, then I can give you something I can be truly proud of.

Ded Pigeons at the Elbo Room in San Francisco, 7/20/09

After dinner, we were both tired from the day, but I convinced Heather to let me shoot one local band at the Elbo Room since we were so close to it, even though it was late. We get in and the band setting up was Ded Pigeons. From where else, but San Diego.

7 Ded Pigeons at the Elbo Room in San Francisco 72009 © Michael Klayman-002

I’ve never seen them play in San Diego, but Heather actually told me about them months ago. She has a co-worker who friends with one of them or something, not really sure what the relationship is.

7 Ded Pigeons at the Elbo Room in San Francisco 72009 © Michael Klayman-010

I’ve seen them written up as a jazzy band, but there isn’t very much jazz in their sound at all. Some myopic music writers in San Diego see a horn and automatically think jazz. The first thing I hear in the music is the Doors- not even any Menomena, despite the similarity in instrumentation.

7 Ded Pigeons at the Elbo Room in San Francisco 72009 © Michael Klayman-003

I picked up their demo, which is really rough. Hopefully they’ll come out with a proper release at some point, but for now, their live show is the way to experience their sound.

7 Ded Pigeons at the Elbo Room in San Francisco 72009 © Michael Klayman-005

The Elbo Room is a nice venue. The lower level is a regular bar, and the music happens upstairs. Kinda like if the Ken Club were three times as big and flipped over onto its side. Next time I’m in town, I’d like to go check it out again- hopefully I’ll catch an actual San Francisco band!

Monk’s Kettle in San Francisco, 7/20/09

Before we left the San Fran Embarcadero, we stopped for a quick bite and a beer. Our chowder sampler had some of the best chowder we’ve ever tasted served with great, local sourdough.

6 Monk's Kettle in San Francisco 72009 © Michael Klayman-001

Actually, all true sourdough is local to the Bay Area. The yeast used only lives here, so when a baker leaves dough out to ferment, this is the yeast that invades it. Just like lambic beer.

6 Monk's Kettle in San Francisco 72009 © Michael Klayman-002

Our actual dinner was at the Monk’s Kettle. Great beer selection, although mostly unfamiliar to me. Heather liked the brown ale recommended by the server, I stuck to pale ales.

6 Monk's Kettle in San Francisco 72009 © Michael Klayman-003

We both had flank steak, mine in sandwich form. The girls sitting at table next to us was eating their dessert, and it looked most interesting. After a couple strong beers, I’m pretty chatty, so I asked them what it was called. It’s not actually on the menu, they said, but they called it an orgasm skillet.

Ok, I’ll have what she’s having, then.

6 Monk's Kettle in San Francisco 72009 © Michael Klayman-005

A small cast-iron skillet with a medium rare cookie still sizzling in the bottom, topped with vanilla ice cream. Yum!

I was now hopped up on sugar and alcohol and the Elbo Room was right around the corner. I figured this would be a good time to shoot a local band.

San Fran Aquarium, 7/20/09

We did the aquarium too, but I left my prime lenses at home so I couldn’t shoot quite the way I wanted to. The crowds were crazy, and I had to fight to see anything, much less shoot it.

5 San Francisco Aquarium 72009 © Michael Klayman-001

5 San Francisco Aquarium 72009 © Michael Klayman-004

5 San Francisco Aquarium 72009 © Michael Klayman-007

5 San Francisco Aquarium 72009 © Michael Klayman-017

OK, the underwater tunnel was cool.

5 San Francisco Aquarium 72009 © Michael Klayman-011

5 San Francisco Aquarium 72009 © Michael Klayman-014

With so much varied sealife in this tank, how do they keep the sharks from eating everything?

5 San Francisco Aquarium 72009 © Michael Klayman-019

Blue Tongued Skink. Not like you couldn’t guess. And Froggies!

5 San Francisco Aquarium 72009 © Michael Klayman-022

5 San Francisco Aquarium 72009 © Michael Klayman-024

5 San Francisco Aquarium 72009 © Michael Klayman-027

Heather loves froggies.

San Francisco Vacation- Embarcadero, 7/20/09

I’m almost two months behind on posting the photos from our vacation- sorry Mom!

Our first day in San Francisco was spent doing the tourist thing. We drove in to the most touristy area possible, the Embarcadero. Our six hour parking fee came to $35. Needless to say, the drive home was the last time I used my car for the whole trip. We found one of the CityPass things that give you unlimited bus and train rides along with admission to several attractions. We walked around to see what was available.

4 San Francisco Embarcadero 72009 © Michael Klayman-002

4 San Francisco Embarcadero 72009 © Michael Klayman-001

See? It is possible for me to shoot the standard “Wife in Front of Something of Interest” shot. I just hate doing it. I know what we look like.

4 San Francisco Embarcadero 72009 © Michael Klayman-005

We took a boat cruise through the bay on a boat like the one above.

4 San Francisco Embarcadero 72009 © Michael Klayman-008

They don’t mention that it’s much colder in the Bay Area than in San Diego in July. Especially when your cruising past Alcatraz towards the Golden Gate Bridge at a high number of knots. I was sniffly within 5 minutes of starting the ride.

4 San Francisco Embarcadero 72009 © Michael Klayman-012

4 San Francisco Embarcadero 72009 © Michael Klayman-018

We walked down the road to where they turn those trolley cars around. This is the end of the line for the trolleys, but the beginning of the line getting on stretches for about 1/4 mile.

4 San Francisco Embarcadero 72009 © Michael Klayman-030

No thanks. Time for chocolate.

4 San Francisco Embarcadero 72009 © Michael Klayman-034

Everyone who walks in gets a newly unwrapped treat from the greeter.

4 San Francisco Embarcadero 72009 © Michael Klayman-035

Heaven! And with cupcakes!

4 San Francisco Embarcadero 72009 © Michael Klayman-032

We did actually get on a trolley after all. The very next stop from the line had no wait at all.

4 San Francisco Embarcadero 72009 © Michael Klayman-037

4 San Francisco Embarcadero 72009 © Michael Klayman-041

We got our tourist fill by the end of the afternoon. The rest of the trip was less crowded and more local… mostly.

Hotel St. George at the Ruby Room, 9/11/09

Lety McKenzie was throwing herself a birthday party at the Ruby Room on Friday with a few bands I’ve been meaning to see, but I could only make it in time to see the headliners, Hotel St. George. The last show of theirs that I shot was ultra-colorful, so I decided to do a mostly B&W set this time, except for a couple group shots.

Hotel St. George at the Ruby Room 91109 © Michael Klayman-002

Every blurb I read about them always mentions how Matt sings with a British accent, but it’s the drummer who’s the lone Brit of the group. I think a much more interesting angle for a review site to take would be to write about how such a prolific band can manage to keep the quality of the music so high. These are some seriously catchy tunes.

Hotel St. George at the Ruby Room 91109 © Michael Klayman-003

Hotel St. George at the Ruby Room 91109 © Michael Klayman-004

Their new album is available on vinyl and digital download and it’s quite a bit different than the previous 2 records. They’ve managed to ratchet up the snarkiness even higher, and it now bleeds into the guitar tones too. They’re less of a period piece now and have moved the sound up to modern times.

Hotel St. George at the Ruby Room 91109 © Michael Klayman-007

There’s even more instrument switching than last time. Pretty much every song uses a different combination of players/instruments, except the drummer of course.

Hotel St. George at the Ruby Room 91109 © Michael Klayman-009

Hotel St. George at the Ruby Room 91109 © Michael Klayman-015

Hotel St. George at the Ruby Room 91109 © Michael Klayman-016

The UWA lens is working out fabulously.

Hotel St. George at the Ruby Room 91109 © Michael Klayman-017

Hotel St. George at the Ruby Room 91109 © Michael Klayman-019

They’re already working on a new album before the wax on City Boy Lemon has cooled down. My prediction is that they’ll be winning an award for it next year at the SDMAs. You heard it here first.

Temecula Wineries at Night, 9/4/09

Technically, I guess I shot this on 9/5, since I didn’t get out to shoot the wineries until after midnight. We were house-sitting for our friends in Temecula, so after letting their dogs out and petting the cat, I went to South Coast Winery to do some night photos.

Temecula at Night 90409 © Michael Klayman-001

I like shooting water at night since it takes on a different look during a long exposure. Grapevines look the same, even after several minutes of exposure. There was a wedding chapel set up for the next day, so I tried to stick to interesting architecture instead of blurring out moving objects.

Temecula at Night 90409 © Michael Klayman-002

At 11mm, camera position is very important. The short focal length magnifies any slight angle. I was just a couple degrees off from being perpendicular to the bottom steps, but it was enough to tilt the lines. If I used Photoshop, this would be an easy fix, but I’m trying to stay away from non-global edits during post processing. This might be the sort of thing that I can’t get right in camera every time, so I just might have to apply some transforms next time.

Temecula at Night 90409 © Michael Klayman-005

Hey, kinda like Swim Party’s lights!

I decided a change of scenery would be nice, so I went to Wilson Creek Winery next.

Temecula at Night 90409 © Michael Klayman-010

With no caffeine in my system, I was starting to get tired, so I didn’t really explore the grounds much at all. They had security cameras out, and I didn’t know if I was technically trespassing.

Temecula at Night 90409 © Michael Klayman-012

Every time I go out for a night shoot, I learn something new. This outing taught me that I need to clean my lenses beforehand and if I get light sources in the shot, like christmas lights or the moon, I need to take off my UV filter to avoid unwanted reflections. And caffeine is really important to stay awake and stay ballsy. 

I’m trying to go out every full moon now, so if you’re a photographer and you want to join me next time, just let me know. I think that the people who have shot one of these with me at night would say that it was worth it to try something new. 

Swim Party at Subtext, 9/4/09

Before heading to Temecula last Friday night I made a quick stop at the Subtext Gallery across the street from the Casbah to catch Swim Party’s set.

Swim Party at Subtext 90409 © Michael Klayman-003

I only shot for a couple songs since this wasn’t a club gig and the crowd was, ummm, artsy. As a fun little excersize, I tried to shoot in Natalie’s style, which meant a focus on portraits instead of duos/groups and a warm white balance, unlike my usual neutral skin tone look.

Swim Party at Subtext 90409 © Michael Klayman-001

Swim Party at Subtext 90409 © Michael Klayman-002

My Photo a Day:

Swim Party at Subtext 90409 © Michael Klayman-006

I had an idea to try and capture the planes going between the buildings, but I only ended up getting one chance to shoot it.

Swim Party at Subtext 90409 © Michael Klayman-008

With another chance, I would have used a higher shutter speed for a sharper plane.

After the set, I borrowed Swim Party’s blue lights for a project which will get posted in a month or so, picked up Heather, and we drove to Temecula for the weekend for some night shooting.