Tuesday, August 2, 2011

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This blog has moved!

Check out the blog entries on my updated site:


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Space Shuttle Atlantis Mission STS-129 Landing Photos

Space Shuttle Atlantis Mission STS-129, which launched at 2:28pm on November 16th, 2009, landed at 9:44am on Friday, November 27th, 2009 after a successful mission.

Atlantis landed on runway 33 at Kennedy Space Center's Shuttle Landing Facility as planned on a cold but picture perfect morning.

Aerospace & nature photographer Alan Walters (http://www.awaltersphoto.com) invited me out to shoot the landing. I asked him where, on base, we had access... "Not on base." I asked him about which off-base road we'd be shooting from "Probably not on land."

We met up around 8am in Titusville and, with the help of a friend of his, launched a fishing boat into the water!

We spent about an hour, motoring into position and awaiting the landing.

Around 9:40am, Atlantis announced its arrival to the vicinity with two sonic booms. Another minute or so later, we spotter the orbiter finishing its 300 degree turn above KSC. Moments later, it was in photo range... then... touchdown!

Space Shuttle Atlantis STS-129 Landing by Will Hawkins
Space Shuttle Atlantis STS-129 Landing at Kennedy Space Center

More photos of the landing approach after the break!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Space Shuttle Atlantis Mission STS-129 Launch Photos

Space Shuttle Atlantis Mission STS-129 launched at 2:28pm on November 16th, 2009.

STS-129 focused on staging spare components outside the station. The 11-day flight included three spacewalks. The payload bay carried two large ExPRESS Logistics Carriers holding two spare gyroscopes, two nitrogen tank assemblies, two pump modules, an ammonia tank assembly, a spare latching end effector for the station's robotic arm, a spare trailing umbilical system for the Mobile Transporter, and a high-pressure gas tank. STS-129 was the first flight of an ExPRESS Logistics Carrier. The completion of this mission leaves five space shuttle flights remaining until the end of the program. (Source: Wikipedia.org)

Once again, photographer & super-VIP Alan Walters (http://awaltersphoto.com/) lined up access to NASA's Banana Creek VIP launch viewing site! Alan was also able to secure a pass for my friend - super-talented photographer Zekeshem Parsons ( http://www.bluelanephoto.com). Shem used the opportunity to view the launch, rather than shoot it, though she did snap a few candids of me and Alan.

This is the first launch I've attended that has been "Go for launch" on the first attempt! What a treat!

Enough text... here are some photos!

The full set can be viewed here: http://images.willhawkinsphotography.com/STS-129-Launch-16NOV09/

Space Shuttle Atlantis STS-129 Launch by Will Hawkins
Space Shuttle Atlantis STS-129 Launch: Liftoff!

More photos after the break!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Keith Harris - Rockin' the beat for the Black Eyed Peas

One recent Friday in Boston, I had the pleasure of working with drummer/writer/producer Keith Harris again.

Keith is best known for playing drums for Black Eyed Peas, as well as writing & producing some of their songs. Keith has also worked with Michael Jackson, Christina Aguilera, Nicole Scherzinger, Mary J Blige, and other huge stars.

The Black Eyed Peas were headlining the TD Garden in Boston on their "The E.N.D." tour. Ludacris opened up.

With rock star photographer Nique Prokop (http://www.THErockstarphotographer.com) in tow, we met up with Keith's drum tech Keith Schubert several hours before the show. Keith S. gave us a tour of the backstage area and brought us up to the *3rd story* of the BEP stage, where the band members perform.

We checked out the space, I picked lenses, and Keith S. got the lighting engineer on radio to dial in lights for the shoot. Moments later, Keith Harris joined us.

For the next 10 minutes, we had a badass photoshoot with Keith... check out the photos below!

Big thanks to Keith H and Keith S for being awesome to work with! Big thanks to Nique for being my voice-activated light stand ;)

The entire photo gallery can be seen here:
Click 'Read More' below to view this entire blog post!

Keith Harris of Black Eyed Peas by Will Hawkins
Keith Harris of Black Eyed Peas by Will Hawkins

Keith Harris of Black Eyed Peas by Will Hawkins
Keith Harris of Black Eyed Peas by Will Hawkins

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Muse concert, Dominic Howard photoshoot, and another line off of my bucket list!

This has been an incredible year for concerts already! Buddy Guy, BB King, Shinedown, Killswitch Engage (3 times!), Galactic, and Muse!

Muse is a band that I have loved for a while. They are a band that only releases strong albums - masterpieces from creative geniuses!

Muse is comprised of 3 members - Matthew Bellamy on Vocals & Guitar, Christopher Wolstenholme on Bass, and Dominic Howard on Drums.

Each member contributes to the songwriting process. Each member brings huge sound to the album, and the live show.

The show was absolutely amazing. Incredible stage, stunning light show, spectacular performance of songs, great set list, and a variety of musical compositions played in addition to their songs.

Promark Drumsticks arranged for a 1 on 1 shoot with Dom Howard.
We got to the venue a few hours before the show. met with Muse' security, and were immediately escorted to Dom Anderson, Muse' long time tour manager.
Muse has a huge production and a massive crew - every member of which was *incredibly* polite and helpful. Muse' crew is comprised of some of the most professional and kind crew members I've ever met.

Soon after meeting with Dom A., we were linked up with Dom Howard. Muse's stage was already configured for the show, kabooki in place - so we needed to find another place to shoot.
Dom had a separate room with a full drumkit set up. A perfect, private little white room w/white ceilings.

I took a couple of minutes to set up 2 Canon 580EX speedlites on pocket wizards, pointing at the ceiling corners, and the shoot began!

Check out the photos and video below!

For the full set of photos of Dom, as well as of the live Muse performance, go to this link:

Dominic Howard of Muse by Will Hawkins
Photo: Dominic Howard of Muse by Will Hawkins

BB King - The Legendary Bluesman - Live at MGM Grand Theater

BB King is a name that I have known my entire life. BB King's music has been run through these ears of mine ever since I was first exposed to song.

For nearly 20 years, I have wanted to see BB King play live. For about 10 years, I've wanted to photograph him in action.
February 14th, 2010, I was able to cross two items off of my bucket list.

BB King and Buddy Guy performed for a sold-out crowd at MGM Grand Arena @ Foxwoods in Connecticut on Valentine's Day.

There's little I can say here. Everyone knows who BB King is, everyone knows his music, everyone knows his influence. What else could I possibly say right now?

The entire set of photos can be seen here: http://images.willhawkinsphotography.com/BBKing-14FEB10/

Here is a photo from the evening which sums the entire experience up for me:
BB King by Will Hawkins
Photo: BB King

BB King's Beat - Tony Coleman

Promark endorsing drummer Tony "TC" Coleman began playing drums for BB King 30 years ago. During breaks from touring with BB, TC has performed with Albert King, Otis Clay, Etta James, Buddy Guy, and more!

February 14th, 2010, BB King and Buddy Guy performed at the sold-out MGM Grand Theater at MGM Casino/Foxwoods in Connecticut.

A few hours before showtime, we met up with TC on stage at the venue. Tony was still setting up his cymbals and a few other items.

Tony is a man of big talent and big personality. Working with him 1 on 1 prior to the show was a blast, and shooting the show was amazing. TC was kind enough to take us out after the show - Thanks, Tony!

The entire set of photos can be seen here: http://images.willhawkinsphotography.com/BBKing-14FEB10/

Here are some photos from the evening:

Tony Coleman by Will Hawkins
Tony Coleman

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Killswitch Engage - The Return of Jesse Leach, Night 2 - 19MAR10 - Fillmore at Irving Plaza

Killswitch Engage rocked a sold-out crowd twice this week at Fillmore @ Irving Plaza in NYC - Thursday and Friday.
Thursday's info, video, and photos are here: http://blog.willhawkinsphotography.com/2010/03/killswitch-engage-return-of-jesse-leach.html

Friday's video and photos - are right here!

Just as Killswitch did last night, tonight Killswitch performed at Irving Plaza, featuring two vocalists - Phil Labonte of All That Remains, and Jesse Leach - Killswitch's orignal singer.
Phil started the set off, Jesse did the middle, Phil came back, and Jesse performed the encore - with Phil joining at one point. For the setlist and info from the first night, go here: http://blog.willhawkinsphotography.com/2010/03/killswitch-engage-return-of-jesse-leach.html .

Same as last night, the encore was performed with the original Killswitch Engage lineup - Adam D on drums, Joel on guitar, Mike D on bass, and Jesse on vocals!

AdamD still tears it up on the drums. Joel has the talent of two awesome guitarists, so one guitar still really carries the music, and MikeD was still dropping dangerously precise and heavy bass.

Here are two videos from last night when Killswitch performed in their original lineup: (Sound is bad but maybe can get cleaner sound eventually!)

Video: Killswitch Engage "Prelude" and "Life to Lifeless" - Featuring Jesse Leach & Killswitch Engage's original lineup:

Video: Killswitch Engage "Fixation on the Darkness" - Featuring Jesse Leach & Killswitch Engage's original lineup:

Pictures from the night:
Jesse Leach singing with Killswitch Engage 19MAR10 by Will Hawkins
Above: Jesse Leach singing with Killswitch Engage

More photos of Killswitch Engage w/Jesse Leach and Phil Labonte after the break! Click here! http://blog.willhawkinsphotography.com/2010/03/killswitch-engage-return-of-jesse-leach_21.html

Friday, March 19, 2010

Killswitch Engage - The Return of Jesse Leach (UPDATED) - 18MAR10 - Fillmore at Irving Plaza

Tonight, the rumors were confirmed.

(For those looking for video and photos from night 2 of KSE's stint at Irving Plaza with Jesse Leach and Phil Labonte, check out the updated post from 19MAR10 here: http://blog.willhawkinsphotography.com/2010/03/killswitch-engage-return-of-jesse-leach_21.html .

Killswitch Engage's original frontman, Jesse Leach, took the stage with KSE at the Fillmore @ Irving Plaza in New York City.

Phil Labonte of All That Remains has been filling in on vocals since Howard Jones' surprise drop from the this tour last month. Phil has been doing a spectacular job and the crowds have been posting great reviews! Love for Howard is definitely out there as well..!

Tonight, Phil sang a few songs (killed it!!), the lights went out... and the intro to "My Last Serenade" began... The crowd began singing the intro/chorus, the lights came on, and Jesse powered out onto the stage! A few seconds later, the crowd was in a complete uproar!

Jesse sang My Last Serenade, Numbered Days, Self Revolution, Vide Infra, and Temple from the Within. Phil joined Jesse on stage for a bit!

Joel was tearing the room apart with monster guitar sound, AdamD did the same, only with a dollarsign cape on. MikeD was dropping some heavy bass, and Justin was performing incredibly on the drums....

After Numbered Days, Jesse began to introduce himself - "For any of you who don't know who I am..." - and stopped. The crowd was already chanting at full loud "Jesse! Jesse! Jesse! Jesse!" No introduction was needed.

After a few songs, Phil came back to close out the set. For the encore, Jesse returned with yet another surprise - the original Killswitch Engage lineup!! Adam D on drums, Joel on guitar, MikeD on bass, Jesse on vocals!
The encore included 'prelude', Life to Lifeless, and Fixation on the Darkness.

Luckily, I was on hand to witness the amazing event - and photograph the entire set! Despite being the worst videographer on the road, I threw one of the Canon 5D Mark II's into HD Video mode and recorded "My Last Serenade."

Without further adieu, I present you with my video from the evening, and a few photos.

More photos will be posted soon - just getting a few together for now! Also keep an eye out for blog updates on here featuring photos from Friday 19MAR10's show, as well as photos of Black Eyed Peas, Muse, BB King, Buddy Guy, and more!

Video: Killswitch Engage "My Last Serenade" and the beginning of "Numbered Days" - Featuring Jesse Leach

(I apologize for the slow focus and distorted sound! This was taken on a DSLR right against the stage)

Killswitch Engage Pictures:

Jesse Leach and Phil Labonte singing with Killswitch Engage 18MAR10 by Will Hawkins
Above: Jesse Leach and Phil Labonte singing with Killswitch Engage

More photos of Killswitch Engage w/Jesse Leach and Phil Labonte after the break! Click here! http://blog.willhawkinsphotography.com/2010/03/killswitch-engage-return-of-jesse-leach.html

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

RIP Jimmy "The Rev" of Avenged Sevenfold

**** ATTENTION **** This post has moved to my new site. Here's the direct link:

Sad news today: Jimmy "The Rev" (James Sullivan), the drummer of Avenged Sevenfold, passed away at the age of 28.

I'm taking time today to reflect on The Rev's music, and the photoshoot that we did earlier this year.

The photoblog from our shoot can be found here: Will Hawkins Photography Blog: Avenged Sevenfold's The Rev.

Rest In Peace, Jimmy.

Jimmy The Rev of Avenged Sevenfold by Will Hawkins
Jimmy "The Rev" of Avenged Sevenfold

Jimmy The Rev of Avenged Sevenfold by Will Hawkins
Jimmy "The Rev" of Avenged Sevenfold

More photos of The Rev after the break! Click here! http://blog.willhawkinsphotography.com/2009/12/rip-jimmy-rev-of-avenged-sevenfold.html

Monday, November 2, 2009

ARES 1-X Launch Photos

NASA and United Space Alliance, on October 28th, launched the ARES 1-X rocket from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The ARES 1-X rocket is a test rocket for the new ARES & Constellation programs. These programs are the future USA & NASA's manned spaceflight program. This program will replace the Space Shuttle program, whose entire fleet retires just a handful of launches from now, in late 2010.

The ARES 1-X was the first launch of a rocket of this type. This launch was unmanned, ad served to test thousands of elements of this rocket, including boost power, flight control, navigation, avionics, sensors, etc. The next test launch is scheduled for no earlier than 2015, so this historical launch was the only opportunity to see the rocket first hand for years to come.

Originally, I had planned to shoot from a 'secret location' that one talented photographer Cliff Steenhoff had educated me on. It was through the woods, in the swamps, down a dirt road - just North of the restricted zone. Cliff, myself, and another launch fan Ted all spent hours and hours out there for the original launch attempt window on October 27th.

After the launch was scrubbed for the 27th due to triboelectrification and other rules, Ted and I visited Titusville's "Miracle Photo" in search of a screw for my Jobu gimbal head's Arca-Swiss plate.
While we were there, we bumped into a talented launch photographer named Alan Walters ( www.awaltersphoto.com ). We chatted about launch photography, exchanged info, and went our separate ways.

Several hours later, Alan called me up, requesting that I meet him at a local bar in Titusville. Alan was there with all types of folks from NASA & United Space Alliance. After a long chat about all kinds of photo geek things, Alan invited me to be a VIP at the onsite NASA Banana Creek viewing area!! The view from here is spectacular, and it is the closest that any 'exposed' human can witness a launch from!

Here are some photos from the launch, followed by some more info and links to additional photos and blogs:

NASA ARES 1-X Launch photo by Will Hawkins
ARES 1-X launch!

Many more photos of the Ares 1-X launch after the break! Click here! http://blog.willhawkinsphotography.com/2009/11/ares-1-x-launch-photos.html

Monday, September 21, 2009

Space Shuttle Discovery Mission STS-128 Landing Photos

Space Shuttle Discovery & crew's STS-128 mission was a successful mission which involved dropping off astronaut Nicole Stott at the International Space Station, as well as 7.5 tons of supplies.

The landing at the end of the mission, just like the launch at the beginning, faced a number of delays. Ultimately, the landing occurred at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

When a shuttle lands in California, it must be ferried back to Kennedy Space Center atop the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) - a modified Boeing 747. NASA's mate/demate devices lift the shuttle in the air, the 747 rolls under, and the shuttle is mounted to the 747. The SCA & shuttle travel to Kennedy Space Center, making several refueling stops on the way. After the safe arrival at KSC, another mate/demate device removes the shuttle from the SCA.

Normally the arrival path of the SCA & shuttle brings the pair on a photogenic pass along Cocoa Beach. Due to weather off of the coast of Cocoa Beach, the path was modified to be much more direct, swooping just South of Titusville and then curving directly to KSC's runway 33.

Despite the modified path, I was still able to get some shots from the pier at Jetty Park, just North of Cocoa Beach.

The distance of the shuttle, the roll of the SCA, and the intense visual heatwaves were all significant challenges in getting a clear image. Although the shots are not what I was hoping for, I am still thrilled to have had the opportunity to view what could possibly be the last SCA/Shuttle paired flight.

Space Shuttle Discovery STS-128 SCA 747 Landing at Kennedy Space Center by Will Hawkins
Space Shuttle Discovery STS-128 SCA 747 Pair Approach to Kennedy Space Center shot from Jetty Park

More photos of Space Shuttle Discovery Mission STS-128 landing after the break! Click here! http://blog.willhawkinsphotography.com/2009/09/space-shuttle-discovery-mission-sts-128.html

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Carter Beauford - The Beat of Dave Matthews Band

One of the highlights of the recent shooting spree that Promark set me up on was with a massively popular, Grammy winning band that I have listened to forever, but never seen live.

For about 15 years, I have known the music of Dave Matthews Band, but known little about the band themselves. The core band consists of 4 founding members - singer/guitarist Dave Matthews, bassist Stefan Lassard, violinist Boyd Tinsley, and drummer Carter Beauford.

I arrived at the venue several hours before the performance in order to meet up with Henry Luniewski, Carter's drum tech for a number of years now. Henry set up our passes, showed us around the stage, and let us get a general idea of what our plan would be, come showtime. Henry informed us that Carter had invited us to shoot the entire show, from anywhere we wanted to, including onstage. This level of hospitality and access with such a massively successful band & crew is rare.

The show was amazing. 22,000 people at the sold-out performance. 2 hours of familiar music & spectacular jam sessions. Dozens of solos, evenly spread across the band members. DMB thoroughly impressed me! Of course they were going to be good... but I really had no clue how amazing each individual musician was, how great their onstage chemistry would be, and how well they would connect with the audience.

Shooting at the drum kit during the show gave me an opportunity to get some great shots, and also to see Carter really tearing it up! He is a monster on those drums!!

Here are some photos from the evening:

Dave Matthews Band - Carter Beauford by Will Hawkins
Carter Beauford

Dave Matthews Band - Dave Matthews by Will Hawkins
Dave Matthews

Dave Matthews Band - Stefan Lessard by Will Hawkins
Stefan Lessard

Dave Matthews Band - Carter Beauford by Will Hawkins
Dave Matthews Band (Carter Beauford on screen)

More photos of Carter Beauford after the break! Click here! http://blog.willhawkinsphotography.com/2009/09/carter-beauford-beat-of-dave-matthews.html

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Space Shuttle Discovery Mission STS-128 Launch Photos

Every single shuttle launch is a incredible & unique experience worth witnessing.

STS-128 was the third launch I have viewed from the 'front row.' STS-126 and STS-127 are the only other ones that we've seen up close.

STS-126 was a night launch that we viewed from Titusville, about 12 miles from the launch site. With 126 being our first night launch, or launch of any type, we had no clue what to expect, as I mentioned in the previous photo blog - Space Shuttle Endeavour Mission STS-127 Launch Photos - and the poor photos demonstrate that ;)

Shooting a night launch shares no similar settings or methods with a day launch...

For STS-128, I studied & experimented until I had a solid plan. I researched the great night launch photos that are out on the web, read other photographer's blogs, and reached out to one of the greatest shuttle photogs out there - Stan Jirman. Stan has some great advice (and photos) on his site, so be sure to check it out!

Stan is on vacation in Europe, but still took the time to share some tips which lead to a very successful nighttime long exposure photo. I could've done a bit better on the close shots, and I am certain that I will next time :)

To my amazement, the SRB separation, which takes place about 2 1/2 min after launch, 220,000 ft in altitude, and 35 miles downrange, is visible both day and night.

Here is the long exposure, a few launch photos, and some grainy SRB separation shots!

As always, usage of these registered, copyright protected images is prohibited unless licensed directly from Will Hawkins.

STS-128 Space Shuttle Discovery Launch Long Exposure by Will Hawkins
STS-128 Space Shuttle Discovery Night Launch: Long Exposure (6 min 2 seconds)

STS-128 Space Shuttle Discovery Launch by Will Hawkins
STS-128 Space Shuttle Discovery Night Launch: Just before liftoff, the smoke blocked view of the shuttle!

STS-128 Space Shuttle Discovery Launch by Will Hawkins
STS-128 Space Shuttle Discovery Night Launch: Liftoff!

More photos of Space Shuttle Discovery STS-128 launch after the break! Click here! http://blog.willhawkinsphotography.com/2009/08/space-shuttle-discovery-mission-sts-128.html

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Slayer's Dave Lombardo - Shooting Spree

Promark Drumsticks has had me on a shooting spree this month. Shoots with Dave Matthews Band's Carter Beauford, Incubus' Jose Pasillas, Killswitch Engage's Justin Foley, Marilyn Manson's Ginger Fish, and Slayer's Dave Lombardo have all been on the other side of my lens in the past two weeks. Several more shoots are in the works right now...!

Slayer had a formidable presence at Mayhem Fest here in Tampa. Thousands of fans chanting, dozens of Marshall amp stacks whose tops spew fire, a huge metal Slayer eagle that becomes engulfed in flames, and a ferocious rhythm driving the fans into madness!

The man driving that rhythm is Dave Lombardo. Dave is the original drummer, who spent a handful of years away from the band in the 90's, then returned again in 2002.

Dave has performed with Mike Patton's Fanômas, Testament, and even a couple songs with Metallica. Countless well-known drummers list Dave Lombardo as an influence, and some credit him for being the reason they began playing drums.

This was my second time working with Dave. We did a shoot back in 2004 that was far reaching, hitting 3 magazine covers, about 5 magazine articles, a series of ads, and numerous websites.

Here are some photos from our shoot (I'll throw a couple of wider shots in so you can see the pyro!):

Dave Lombardo of Slayer by Will Hawkins
Dave Lombardo

Dave Lombardo of Slayer by Will Hawkins
Dave Lombardo

More photos of Slayer and Dave Lombardo after the break! Click here! http://blog.willhawkinsphotography.com/2009/08/slayers-dave-lombardo-shooting-spree.html