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

Monday, August 3, 2009

Yamaha All Access 360: Chick Corea - featuring yours truly!

A few months ago, I received a call from Tiffany Napper of Yamaha Corporate Artist Affairs asking if I was available to shoot an artist on a hybrid photo/video shoot, which is part interview, part commercial - to be featured online and in print. Schedules matched, and the shoot was scheduled!

The shoot was for Yamaha All Access, with the legendary 15 time Grammy winning jazz pianist Chick Corea.

I took on the wonderfully talented photographer Zekeshem Parsons of Blue Lane Photography/Room 3307 as an assistant for the shoot, which was to take place in and around Chick Corea's home in Clearwater, FL.

The shoot went well! Chick and his management were great to work with, the Yamaha crew was great to work with, and Zekeshem is always great to work with! We did have a couple of challenges, but nothing we haven't faced before - shoot time was cut in half, we ended up having to work with just one location, lighting was difficult (reflective surfaces, dark wooden ceilings, etc.).

Chick had a collection of amazing instruments, including the Yamaha Avant Grand, a Yamaha Concert Grand Piano, a Bosendorfer Grand w/extra notes, and various other keyboards, etc. Dave Weckl's drumkit and sticks were also at his place!

The Yamaha All Access magazine and Yamaha All Access 360 behind-the-scenes video of the shoot both came out great! The Yamaha All Access 360 site is a gorgeous interactive flash website featuring videos, photos, magazine links, product information, etc. Be sure to check it out!

Below is the Yamaha All Access 360 video, followed by links to the 360 & magazine sites, then some photos from the shoot.

Big thanks to Yamaha, Chick, and Zekeshem!

"Chick Corea is a current featured artist on Yamaha All Access 360! Check out and share the behind-the-scenes video, and visit www.yamahaallaccess360.com to see never-before-seen photos, his spread in All Access magazine, and enter to win a Yamaha keyboard!"

Yamaha All Access Magazine - The Backstage Guide to the World of Yamaha

Chick Corea by Will Hawkins
Chick Corea

More photos of Chick Corea after the break! Click here! http://blog.willhawkinsphotography.com/2009/08/yamaha-all-access-360-chick-corea.html

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Space Shuttle Endeavour Mission STS-127 Launch Photos

Like many folks, I've always been fascinated by space travel, the missions NASA undergoes, the space shuttles, and everything else surrounding them!

For years, I've wanted to view a launch in person. Last November, I got to watch the night launch of Endeavour's STS-126 mission from about 12 miles away in Titusville. It was amazing! Unfortunately, we didn't quite plan for light metering brighter than the sun... so the photos weren't so great. We had no clue what to expect!

This past week, we headed over to Kennedy Space Center to view Endeavour's STS-127 mission daytime launch. We were onsite and ready for attempt #5, which was scrubbed ... and onsite for attempt #6 - which was a success!

Thanks for Denny & Maureen, we had access to the onsite VIP launch viewing area, approx. 3 miles away from the launchpad - the closest possible viewing point.

I was running 2 Canon 5D Mark II's and a JVC HD video camera. One 5DmkII started on a tripod with the 70-200mm f2.8 L IS and a 2x converter on it, though I tore it off of the tripod moments after launch. The other 5DmkII was outfitted with a 24-70mm f2.8 L for wider shots.

The experience was amazing! The huge crowd, hundreds of cameras, the countdown.... then the smoke, fire, and roar!

I'll only be posting a fraction of the shots here. See below for a link to the full set!

STS 127 launch access placard

Above: STS-127 Launch Vehicle Access Placard

Endeavor STS-127 Launch: A crop in of the last liftoff photo

Above: Endeavor STS-127 Launch: A crop in of the last liftoff photo

More photos of the launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour Mission STS-127 after the break! Click here! http://blog.willhawkinsphotography.com/2009/07/space-shuttle-endeavour-mission-sts-127.html

Jessica Simpson Rocks the Plant City Strawberry Festival

This Spring, Jessica Simpson performed at the 2009 Plant City Strawberry Festival.

She looked and sounded pretty good! Her band, headed up by drummer / musical director Gorden Campbell, was great!

Here are just a few shots from the show... More are available upon request!

Jessica Simpson by Will Hawkins
Jessica Simpson

More photos of Jessica Simpson after the break! Click here! http://blog.willhawkinsphotography.com/2009/07/jessica-simpson-rocks-plant-city.html

A Great Day with Gorden Campbell

Superstar drummer and all around nice guy Gorden Campbell recently toured through the Tampa Area (@ The Plant City Strawberry Festival) while playing for Jessica Simpson.

We linked up for some photos before and during his performance with Jessica.

Gorden Campbell by Will Hawkins
Gorden Campbell

More photos of Gorden Campbell after the break! Click here! http://blog.willhawkinsphotography.com/2009/07/great-day-with-gorden-campbell.html

Sunday, March 22, 2009

A Legendary Week: 2 John Legend shoots in Florida (and band members, too!)

Following up on January's concert & Superbowl madness, as mentioned in my blog post "The Stellar Estelle," is this post of John Legend & JL Band photos.

John Legend is one of my favorite singers & pianists. He has party hits for fun, love songs for those 'special moments', and songs that reach right down into your soul (Listen to "Coming Home").

John keeps a top-notch 10 piece band and a professional crew. Nearly every band member has performed with other greats & top artists. The amount of talent on stage can not be found in many other touring groups.

A few days before the Superbowl, John Legend & band swung through Central Florida, playing Orlando, Clearwater, and Tampa.

Here are some shots of John Legend and band from sound check, the live shows, and some one-on-ones:

The full archives can be found here:
http://willhawkinsphotography.com/JohnLegend-28JAN09 - Orlando, FL
http://willhawkinsphotography.com/JohnLegend-29JAN09 - Clearwater, FL

John Legend by Will Hawkins
John Legend

More photos of John Legend and band after the break! Click here! http://blog.willhawkinsphotography.com/2009/02/legendary-week-2-john-legend-shoots-in.html

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Will Hawkins Photography featured on John-Legend.net

www.John-Legend.net has posted a front page blog link to Will Hawkins Photography.

www.John-Legend.net, which is run by the fabulous and talented Ewe, not only is the greatest place for details on JL band members, tours, news, etc., but also exhibits great design.

Much appreciated, Ewe!
>> www.John-Legend.net

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Will Hawkins Photography - Now on Facebook!

Come join the Will Hawkins Photography page on Facebook!

Here's the link: Will Hawkins Photography - Facebook Page


Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Stellar Estelle

January 2009 was a whirlwind of a month! The Superbowl brought all kinds of celebrity parties and musicians to town. In the course of one week, Tampa Bay hosted performances by 3 Doors Down, Snoop Dogg, The Eagles, John Legend, Rihanna, Fall Out Boy, and a at least a dozen more major artists!

Opening for John Legend this month is Grammy winning British singer Estelle.

This was my first time shooting Estelle - and my first time seeing her sing! I had become a fan just several months before, finding out about her through John Legend's Homeschool Records, who signed her on not all that long ago.

Estelle's performances were a bit different than the usual experience one would have at an R&B/pop/soul show in a sit-down performing arts center. Estelle, her band, and her dancers turned the place into a lively party by the second song! The John Carr Performing Arts Center was full of people dancing, clapping, smiling, and having a great time! This isn't to say John Legend did not engage the crowd - John truly rocked our socks - but it was a surprise to see the crowds so quickly break from the formality of such a venue and bring the party!

The full archives can be found here:
http://willhawkinsphotography.com/Estelle-28JAN09 - Orlando, FL
http://willhawkinsphotography.com/Estelle-29JAN09 - Clearwater, FL

Here are some shots from Estelle's performances in Orlando, FL and Clearwater, FL:


Estelle Drummer
Estelle's Drummer



Avenged Sevenfold's The Rev

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

My client Promark Drumsticks has me shoot each of their artists as they pass through town, in addition to covering their artists at other major events and trade shows.

Kevin Radomski at Promark was excited to hear that Avenged Sevenfold would be coming to Tampa - which meant that their drummer, Promark endorsing artists The Rev, would be here!

Emails were sent, calls were made, texts were exchanged - and the shoot was arranged. Shoot day came and I lugged my gear out to the amphitheatre.

This was another shoot, like my Mike Portnoy or Dave Lombardo shoots, where we were working with difficult time constraints. In the end, the entire shoot was just under 3 minutes.

Avenged Sevenfold's crew, Tour Manager Diony, and The Rev's drum tech were all very helpful in arranging access and any assistance that we might need.

The shooting constraints were very difficult - no time, no space, no equipment! The Rev's drum kit was already on stage, wedged between a heavy stage curtain and the back wall of the stage. We could barely get a few people back there!

Luckily, the kind of shot that Promark needs doesn't call for big sets, equipment, full lighting - Promark runs a couple types of photos in their artist centered ads - artists playing live, and artists in their own element with Promark gear. For most artists, the latter means shooting an artist at the kit. It always means shooting them with Promark drumsticks.

Although it sounds like a very basic format, it is amazing how much personality can show through a face & a drumstick.

Prior to the shoot itself, the Avenged crew, myself, and my lovely assistant went back to the kit for a runthrough.

Working within the limitations, we decided that the best setup in this pitch-black, tight space would be one that involves lighting coming up through the drumheads and some frontal lighting.

Shoot time came, The Rev was escorted out to the kit. Like a machine, we began working... a couple minutes passed, we thanked The Rev & crew, and the mission was accomplished!

Here's are some shots of The Rev from our shoot:
(Full rough set here: http://willhawkinsphotography.com/TheRev-7DEC08/)
The Rev - Avenged Sevenfold

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

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