Thanksgiving morning, I woke up to some sharp pains in my abdomen. A little back story ... I had arm-wrestled a very strong woman the night before and thought that maybe I had pulled a muscle ... moving on. I went about Thanksgiving day as normal. Eating what I could, laughing when I was able. Unfortunately the pain was there the whole time. I went to sleep that night after fighting with fevers all evening.

The next morning I woke up and the pain had gotten worse. My initial thought is that I need to get my appendix looked at. I get to my Mom's house and she insists that I go to Urgent Care and get looked at. This wasn't something I was thrilled with doing. Yes I have insurance, but I don't have the extra money to cover whatever bills I may incur. Also, I'm what the medical profession calls a "Hard Stick" (laugh now.) Every nurse has trouble finding my veins, and as a result, I get stabbed with needles a lot! This visit was NO exception. 5 brand new holes later and I was sporting an IV.

Thanksgiving 1

My CAT-Scan results come back, and sure enough, I've got a perforated appendix. Time for removal. They send me on my way to another hospital where I have a team of surgeons, and a private room waiting for me. I get there and my perforated appendix has miraculously turned into a ruptured appendix. No biggie. They're going to cut me open either way. I let them do their thing to me, and apparently I surprise them in the middle of surgery. Some more back story ... my older brother had his appendix burst and he was misdiagnosed. He made it to surgery just in time after his torso had filled with gangrene and they saved his life just hours before it would have ended ... So here I am, asleep on the operating table. They slice open and BLAM! There it is, looking them in the face. A torso full of ... MUCUS? That's not normal. As a matter of fact, the doctors performing the surgery had NEVER seen this before. When your appendix bursts, it's because something was caught on it, and bacteria attacked. Then your body rejects it as it fills with poisonous infectious fluids and eventually blows up. Well, I had none of this. So what they do is what I would have done. Put the surgery on hold (while i'm opened up) and call in a Pathelogist from home. She wasn't busy, don't worry. They consult with her, finish me up, and let me sleep. They went to talk to my Mom and Leslie to let them know how things went.

"We found something unusual. We think there was a tumor on his appendix. It could be cancerous."

Well crap. Just what my family needs, more cancer. A few hours after being put to sleep, I awake to find breathing tubes and what not.

Thanksgiving 2

My body was in pain, but the nurses were amazing. After a couple days in my boring room, I got upgraded to a better room. This room looked over the World Class Torrey Pines Golf Course where Tiger Woods frequents. Just beyond the golf course is the best ocean in the world. Not bad! To top it off, my room was named after the founder of the hospital AND was the room that Mother Teresa stayed in a couple times when she came to San Diego and had heart problems. So good things surround this room.

Thanksgiving 3

Painful moments: Removing the Catheter, Standing/Sitting/Moving in general, Removing my drain tubes (oh these were awful, like being punched to death)

Finally, after spending 4 (thousand) days in the hospital, they let me go!

Thanksgiving 4

I couldn't even have water for the first day and some change. I was a serious surgery case, and so they had to start my stomach at the basics. Jello was a HUGE blessing to my tongue. Over the course of this experience, I've managed to lose between 10 and 14 lbs!!

Thanksgiving 5

Although I look happy, it's slightly bittersweet. I am alive, I am cancer-free, I am healing and doing wonderful. I know that when I hit "publish post" and head to bed, it will only lead to heartache. When I open my eyes in the morning, I will be opening my eyes to a day that I'm supposed to fear. It's been a year since my dad died. I haven't been to his grave site yet. Not since we put his ashes in the wall. I'm not big on visiting graves. Once the body dies, it's gone. No place on this earth can contain what that person once was. This is my dad. I need to visit, because I need to cry. My body hurts too much to cry, but my mind is ready for it.

Goodnight December. You were always my favorite. Why did you have to go and do this to me?


Metal Loves Technology

Metal Loves Technology, originally uploaded by jonnyups.

So this past week was a busy one for me. My friend Tim is in a band (As I Lay Dying) that spent the week shooting their live dvd. They did 3 shows in 3 venues near their home of San Diego.

The first show was Monday, November 17th at the Jumping Turtle in San Marcos, CA. They played their album, "Shadows Are Security" from start to finish.

Their second show was Wednesday, November 19th at Seacoast Community Church in Encinitas, CA. The show was for charity and they played their album, "Frail Words Collapse" from start to finish.

Their third and final show of the week was Friday, November 21st at The Grove in Anaheim, CA. They played all the hits, and took out all the stops for this show. A sold out crowd of 1,600 fans, amazing lights, approx. 12 cameras capturing all of the action. They played to perfection, and even had a DOUBLE ENCORE!

Out of respect for the production of the DVD, and it's creator (Denise), I will not be posting any photos from these 3 shows for a while. I will give Denise first choice, and will MAYBE share a few here along the way if I find some that would be fitting for here.

Thanks for understanding. I have a few photoshoots coming up in the next 2 weeks so I'll fill your visual hunger with those.


Chad, Meet Tim.

Chad, Meet Tim, originally uploaded by jonnyups.

I have other things to be writing about, but this is fresh on my mind.

Last night was the first of three shows this week that I'm hoping to attend and photograph. My friends in As I Lay Dying began filming their live DVD last night at a small venue near my home. It was a sold out show in a tiny venue filled with fans, security guards, HD cameras, recording gear, and everything else that comes along with a hardcore show.

They played their album, Shadows Are Security, from start to finish. They even added a few songs at the end as a special treat. The moment captured above is when Chad Ackerman (Destroy The Runner, Austrian Death Machine) joined As I Lay Dying onstage for some extra vocals. It was a classic moment between friends.

The show ended and the venue cleared out pretty quickly. The dust settled, and even the security guards were bleeding. There are hundreds more from the show and I will be sharing them with the band. Maybe you will see more on here at a later date.


Starting The Day Off Right

Starting Off Right...

This morning I didn't have to wake up at 5am for work. It was a great way to start the morning. I woke up on my own, showered, and headed to Starbucks to visit my girlfriend at work. I missed her lunch by 2 minutes but still got to see her. She rang me up for my drink (which is usually iced, but she was probably distracted by my good looks) and I headed out to work.

It's a nice day. It's hump day. It's pay day. It's a good day.


Emma - 1 Year Ago

Emma Lynn

This photo, taken quickly under some dull generic hospital lights, remains one of my favorites that I have ever taken. Emma Lynn has been the greatest gift to my life, and she's not even my daughter. She hardly cried as a newborn, and a year later she still hardly cries. She's a well-mannered, even-tempered little girl who can't wipe a smile off her face to save her life.

This is just a placeholder. Be patient, some photos of her enjoying her first cupcake are coming soon. Happy Birthday Emma!


10 Years In The Making

Let Your Light Shine

After 10 years of being a Switchfoot fan, I finally got the chance to officially photograph their live show. I've been close on a number of occasions, and it's always fallen through.

The Music Builds Tour (in support of Habitat for Humanity) came through San Diego this past weekend. The tour featured Jars Of Clay, Robert Randolph and the Family Band, Switchfoot and Third Day. Quite the line up if you ask me. The above photo is from when Switchfoot's lead man, Jon Foreman, left the stage to join the crowd of thousands for some singing. More photos can be found here: Switchfoot (09-27-08)


My Summer Road Trip, 2008

Jumping Rock, Hume Lake
Originally uploaded by jonnyups.
When I was in high school, I got an almost full-time job and lost my summers. Now that I'm more than 7 years out of high school, I've finally had the chance to enjoy a summer. My current job takes 4 weeks off for the month of July and I took advantage of this time to travel my great state of California.

Leslie and I left San Diego early in the morning on June 29th and headed for Hume Lake. Hume is a camp I would go to as a high school student, and I knew my way around it enough to show her some beautiful places. The picture above is a rock that we would jump off of into the water.

Hume Lake, California

This is from Lookout Rock. You're on a huge boulder on the side of a mountain, looking out over King's Canyon. It feels like you're flying when you're up there.

The night before we left, we sat in some chairs at the edge of the lake looking up at the stars. I took a few pictures of the sky and here's what I came out with.

Outer Space

We left Hume Lake the next morning and headed for her old hometown of Stockton, California. We spent a nice part of that drive going through scenic Fresno. I have nothing against Fresno. I will just never live there. Ever.

God Is Watching

Listen to the people. Stop painting the churh.

I've already blogged about Bodega Bay, California...so I won't bother you with that. I'll just post a slew of photos here and if you want to see more you can click any of them to continue on to my flickr page. Please feel free to leave comments. I won't bite.



Bodega Bay, California 3

Bodega Bay, California 4

Bodega Bay, California 5

Bodega Bay, California 6

Golden Warmth

DJ Jay

This last photo is of Leslie's brother-in-law, Jay. He's well over 6 feet tall and I had to stretch my arm way up high to get a picture looking down at him. I had no choice, this was the perfect setting for a photo. He was the perfect subject for this photo.

And there you have it. My summer in a nutshell. I also went on tour with We Shot The Moon as you may have seen my previous blog entry on that as well. Thanks for reading!


Dancing In The Moonlight

Dancing In The Moonlight
Originally uploaded by jonnyups.
This weekend I shot a wedding. In the past, I have said that I hate shooting weddings. I mean, the money is good, and I am capable of doing it. I just don't like the idea of a persons BIG DAY resting on my shoulders.

Anyways, I was definitely excited about this wedding. I had a couple opportunities to meet the bride before the wedding, and I knew she was awesome and laid back. She had explained how the wedding would run, including a Clydesdale-drawn carriage. All picture perfect.

There's something about doing photography for a living that seems perfect and glamorous. Like any job, that's not the case. Photography is an art, and forcing yourself to turn your creativity on is harder than you'd think. Don't get me wrong, for the most part this all seems to come naturally. There is just the expectation that you're always going to be in "photo-mode" which isn't always the case. There are days I look at my camera and think, "Yeah, I'm not going to pick that up today because we both need a break."

The above photo was one of those moments where I just new a photo had to be taken. I hate to disappoint, but this was not a natural moment. It was definitely staged. Conditions weren't exactly ideal, mostly because it was pitch black outside. But the lights on the gazebo called my name all night and I had to try and get this shot. Hope you enjoy. This also launches the start of a new joint-venture with my buddy Dave.

NotBadPhotography.com (NBP)

If you have any special photography needs, drop us a line. We'll be glad to help. That said, head on over there!


4 Days On Tour...

I am back from my week of shows with We Shot The Moon and the band was kind enough to turn my photos into a musical montage. Every photo in this video is mine (except the last one of course), so please enjoy and check out this amazing band.

Check out this video: JonnyUps - Band Photographer

Thanks to the boyzzz in the band for letting me invade their home (van) for a week.


Tuesday Morning

Tuesday Morning
Originally uploaded by jonnyups.
Today I start my week long journey with We Shot The Moon on the
California leg of their tour. I'm currently sitting on the porch of
singer Jonathan Jones' house in Cardiff, CA and as you can see, the view
is rather beautiful.

Sitting here got me thinking. Thinking about how small I am, about how
my life is a tiny spec of a blip in the big picture. Not in a depressing
sort of way, but in more of a refreshing way. I like these moments, it
allows me to finally slow my mind enough to enjoy life.

A car passes by every 5 seconds or so, and each car carries a different
life and a new story. I get to hear the music each person likes to
listen to, or a quick 2 second glimpse of ther cell phone conversation.
I find out if their a daredevil on a Harley, or a soccer-mom in their
oversized SUV.

Yes, this is the life. Sitting here, letting the rest of the world rush
to their next meeting, or to their doctors appointment while I sit here
and enjoy this creation.

Well, time to go. I need to eat breakfast, run to the bank, brush my
teeth, and hit the road. This relaxing moment was bound to end soon.


Bodega Bay, CA

Bodega Bay, CA
Originally uploaded by jonnyups.
Literally the edge of the world. One of the most beautiful places I have
ever seen in real life. The wind roars past your ears and the waves seem
so small as they pound against the jagges rocks hundreds of feet below.
Its so strange to see a seagull from the top, and vultures wildly
soaring by with their 6 foot wingspan. This place is beauty at its


Holidays Of Seventeen

Holidays Of Seventeen
Originally uploaded by jonnyups.
When I was in Japan, May 2007, we played a couple shows with an unknown Japanese band. They're name is "Holidays of Seventeen" and you know who they are onstage because they all wear their own band t-shirt during their set.

The second I heard them play, I couldn't stop listening. I bought a shirt. I bought a cd. The shirt didn't fit and the cd was recorded in such a way that I don't know what I'm even listening to. But still, I was a fan. I kept telling them how they were my new favorite band, but humbly they didn't believe me. So I told the record label. They kind of believed me. Until they signed this band. Thank you Fabtone Records.

A little over a year later, they have come out with a video for a song called, "Hey, Scissorman!" and I'm not quite sure what that means, but I love the song, and I love the video. Check it out below ...


If you're at all interested in purchasing some music of theirs, I have found a split-cd on iTunes with another band called, "Local Sound Style" who we also played some shows with. Here's the linky link:

Holidays Of Seventeen 2
clickity click the photo to head on over to iTunes

or: myspace.com/ho17

So enjoy this taste of Japan, a far away place from San Diego, but good music for your ears.


Joel Hosler

Joel Hosler 1
Originally uploaded by jonnyups.
Most stories start at the beginning, and work their way to the end. I'm not so good at this, I jump around and find my way to the important part of the story before realizing I've left out some major details. All of that to say this:

Listen to Joel Hosler's music.

The main point is this ... I've known Joel for 2 years now and he has come to impress me beyond explanation.

The story behind it all ... 2 years ago, Joel got involved in worship at my church. Not too long after that, he was offered a job at Calvary Chapel in Adelanto, CA. For those of you who know where Adelanto is, I applaud you. I still have no clue where this place is. Anyways, Joel came back to Escondido this weekend to lead worship at Resonate, the service that I play bass for each week. For me, it was difficult to pull my talent together fast enough to make my part of the music sound good. Along the same lines though, I was honored to be a part of the music being made.

Joel Hosler was also the singer for the now defunct band, Noise Ratchet.

Anyways, that's my story. No fantastic plot, no beginning or end. Just the story. Now go, you are probably reading this at work and should be doing something else!


A Fine Frenzy

A Fine Frenzy
Originally uploaded by jonnyups.
This weekend was the 4th Annual "Switchfoot Bro-Am" at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas. As usual, the rockers and surfers were out in the water doing their thing. In addition to the world-class surfers in the water, there were local musicians on the sand adding the soundtrack to the day. To add even more diversity to the day, world-famous skateboarders Bob Burnquist and Danny Way brought their band "Escalera" to the beach for the 2nd year in a row.

"Local" seemed to included Los Angeles this year, but for good reason. A Fine Frenzy. Fronted by Alison Sudol, A Fine Frenzy is mellow, catchy, relaxing, and everything you want to becoming out of your speakers. My words aren't as powerful as her music, so I'll let her do the talking. Here's the necessary link:


In addition the the beach party, Switchfoot hosted an after party at the Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach, CA. This concert included the Watkins Family Hour (featuring Sean & Sara Watkins of Nickel Creek), A Fine Frenzy, Switchfoot, and the first performance from Fiction Family. Fiction Family was formerly "The Real SeanJon" but is no longer. I'll bring you more on them later, as they begin to release stuff.

Other noteworthy moments of the day include good conversation with the wonderful/talented/amazing Molly Jenson who you'll find in Target and other retail stores hopefully in the fall. A room full of friends from the last 10 years of my life. The beginning of the Official JonnyUps Fan Club...t-shirts included. Sunburns beyond what I'm comfortable with, and so many other moments that you'll just have to experience for yourself next year.

As always, click the photo above to to go my flickr site and see more action from the day. Here's another sneak peak:

Jon Foreman - Surfer

Another sighting, I ran into my friend/model, Desirae, as she was waking with her friend/amazing photographer, Samantha Levi, through the crowd. Just for my visual readers, here's Desirae:

Desirae 2

Farewell, and thank you for reading! Special thanks to Austria, Sweden, Chile, Sri Lanka, Italy, Ireland, and Poland. If I knew how to speak your language, I'd write in it for you! Thank you!


We Shot The Moon 7

We Shot The Moon 7
Originally uploaded by jonnyups.
So, I got a new camera. You may have thought that I didn't need another one, but I got it anyways.

This week I tested it out. A family party, a concert, some Emma time. The photo in this post is from a concert, obviously.

We Shot The Moon is a band from San Diego, created by the lead singer of Waking Ashland (RIP) and songs co-written with the guys from Sherwood. The songs are catchy, but not so poppy that you want to puke. I saw them this week, and can I be honest? Not enough of you are listening to their music! It's so true! The turnout for the show was 100 people at the most, and these guys are being played in stores across the country, touring constantly, and making GREAT music. So here's your chance to listen.


They are on tour forever, and their shows are great. Cheap too. The tour dates are on the myspace page (link on the main page) and everything you need to know is available at that link. Do yourself a favor and listen.

I have a few more pictures on my flickr, just click the attached photo and head on over there to check them out. I may even hit the road with them if our schedules line up. Go listen, report back, let's hear what you think.


Austrian Death Machine

Austrian Death Machine
Originally uploaded by jonnyups.
A good few weeks or more ago, I had the chance to photo my friend (landlord, roomie) Tim for his new side project. It's called "Austrian Death Machine" and is slated for full release on July 22nd, 2008. What started as a joke to him quickly became a project with serious potential. Check it out here:


This marks my 2nd credit to photography on a CD release.

Also, the artwork of the "Governator" was done specially for this release, and was illustrated by the artist who did many of the best Megadeath album artwork.


One Year Since My World Broke To Pieces

Wonderful Husband
Originally uploaded by jonnyups.

March 18th, 2007 was a day like any other. I was sitting at church in a meeting when I got a text message from my mom. "In the ER with dad, thinks he has pneumonia. Possible mass in his lungs instead. PRAY."

I went silent in this meeting. Nobody in the room existed. The lump in my throat was huge and breathing became a physical pain. I wasn't going to cry, there was so much uncertainty in her text message. Through a series of tests, it was confirmed to be a mass in his lungs. Then later confirmed to be Stage 4 cancer. Most of you know the story ... it progressed until we lost him in December of the same year.

He was a smoker who quit too late, and his body lost the fight. I will never smoke. I am truly repulsed by the act of smoking. It's something so simple that took something so great from me.

One year ago today, my world shattered into pieces. I'm still picking those up. I was changed through this event. Some good, some bad.

I never believed people when they said they miss somebody everyday. Now I do.

Leslie 3

Leslie 3
Originally uploaded by jonnyups.
So now that it's been a couple months since things all started, I figure it's safe to introduce you kids to my girlfriend. She's absolutely wonderful, and obviously extremely patient to be dating me. We wandered through the back roads of some tiny towns and found an amazing field to shoot pictures in. Leslie didn't really feel like being my model, but that's the price you pay for dating a photographer. When there's a shot to be had, and a model is needed...well, you become the model.

So this field was just a total piece of heaven. Across the tiny road, there was a train track overgrown with weeds and it was just gorgeous. Words don't describe how great this place was.

Expect more photos of this "model" in the future. If you need somebody to blame for me missing around here lately, she's the one. :) Just know that it's good, and I'm glad she occupies my time. If we can ever find this field again, there will be more photos to see. I promise you this.


5 Months And Counting...

Emma @ 5 Months 4
Originally uploaded by jonnyups.
My super cute niece, Emma, is just over 5 months old now. Her daddy got her an M&M's outfit of "Green" and she looked adorable in it. I have been taking photos of her on the 3rd of every month, since her day of birth (October 3rd, 2007).

This entry was just to show you how cute she is.

I'm heading up to Big Bear for the weekend. A good time of personal silence, and hopefully some picture taking.


Seat 17 E

Seat 17 E
Originally uploaded by jonnyups.
I'm on the plane, flying home from Stockton, CA. In front of me, a man
gets on the plane and is only left with a middle seat. He sits down and
begins to make small talk with the men on either side of him.

"I'm going back to San Diego after visiting my brother in Sacramento. I
am getting deployed to Iraq this week."

Poor guy, one last flight and he's stuck in the middle seat. I was lucky
enough to score the last aisle seat on the plane, thank you very much.
As we're ascending, I see the woman on my right holding one of those
tiny 'Jesus' pamphlets. To be very honest, those things drive me crazy.
You find them on your table at Starbucks, or all over the halls of your
college campus and they just get thrown away.

As we reached cruising altitude, the woman leans forward to the crack in
the seat and says, "Excuse me sir, I heard you're going to Iraq this
week. Please read this, it could be the most important thing you'll ever
read." Ballsy, I know. For anybody who's ever believed in something
(that could potentially sound crazy to others) enough to share it, knows
that sharing is hard.

The soldier politely said thank you, and took the mini-pamphlet from

Now this next part is for everybody. If you're a pray-er, a vibe-sender,
good-thinker, well-wisher, war opposer, war supporter, brother, sister,
friend human...do me a favor...think/pray/vibe away for this soldier. He
is going to a volitile place filled with violence, fear, uncertainty and
every other frightening emotion available. This may be his last month
alive, he could be the next hero to come out of this war, he could be
your cousin or brother.

Dislike our government, or whatever you like, but these soldiers are
just doing their job.

Now I have landed in San Diego. Tired from a very long and enjoyable
weekend, I look forward to sleeping in my bed, in my new place. Have a
great week, I'll try to update again by the weekend. Remember this
soldier this week.
sent from my phone, homie.


Night Sky

Night Sky
Originally uploaded by jonnyups.
Here we are, February. It's been almost 2 months since my dad passed away. 4 months since my niece (Emma) was born. A year and a month since I started my job as a Professional Photographer. 2 years since I moved into this house.

So many milestones. So little time. In a week I'm moving from this house into a house with a married couple that I know. They are really great, and I look at this as a step forward in life. I'm still taking pictures, sometimes even making money doing it. I like my job, and I love my friends. They are so supportive of me in every part of my life. I've even made some new friends lately, friends who I know will be a part of my life for years to come. Maybe even forever.

The photo attached to this post is a simple one. I set up my tripod, aimed my camera at the sky, and pressed the button. I took a flashlight and aimed it at the light post so it would actually show up. The light at the top of the post didn't even work. No tricks, just a simple photo. A simple, meaningless light post as the foreground of the most amazing universe I could never even fathom. This earth is so big, and we're just a speck in the galaxy, which is just a speck in the whole of things.

I feel so small. I want to feel small. There are days when my mind gets the best of me, and I feel even smaller. I don't believe the words I read, or hear. I become a skeptic. Writing these thoughts out for nobody to read seem to make things better.

I long to love as God loves me. Unconditionally. It's possible, and maybe even unavoidable. I don't look at the new year as the year I will love. I don't look at this as the month I will love. I look at this life as a whole, and know that I will someday love unconditionally. No time frame, although I will admittedly say that I hope this is the year! Love takes time, and that's what I have. I'm excited.

Surprisingly enough, just now after writing that did I remember that this is the month of Valentine's Day. Know that my motives in writing this post have nothing to do with that day. As I said, this life is a whole. Not a day. When I know who/how to love, it will be eternal, and not confined to the middle of February. I will give 100% of myself, and I will expect nothing in return.

Until then, I will feel like the light post in this photo. Not working, not lighting the ground on dark nights. Just the foreground of an amazing universe. Although I must say that I feel as if somebody is playing the part of me, and pointing a flashlight my way to light me up. It's working. I can feel it!


Thank You (times 7)

Thank You (times 7)
Originally uploaded by jonnyups.
Today I got a card from the 7 greatest people this country has to offer.
:) thanks friends!
sent from my phone, homie.


San Diego, I Love You

San Diego, I Love You
Originally uploaded by jonnyups.
2007, I have a couple words for you. YOU SUCK.

2008, You promise nothing but good, and I'm excited for that.

Now onto the photo. New Years Eve was great, I got to hang out with my great friend Carnell doing some business stuff. Afterwards, Carnell took me up into the sky. You see, he's a pilot, and I'm not. So he showed me the ropes. It was pretty awesome. We took off from North County San Diego, and flew the mile or so to the ocean. We cruised down the coast at about 700 feet. He let me fly a little bit, which was frightening, but very amazing! We did a u-turn just before the San Diego Airport and headed back up the coast. Around Del Mar we headed inland towards my house. At one point, we climbed to 2500 feet, and Carnell killed the engine. Silence. It was so scary for me. You expect to hear the engine, and yet, you hear nothing. The propeller slows down, and you feel a slight drop in altitude. This could be it, THE END! He turned the engine back on and we continued on. Flew over my house, and then back to the airport.

I couldn't have asked for a better day!