Tuesday, December 30, 2008

TN for the holidays...

I spent Christmas in Naperville and then headed south to Chattanooga, TN to visit aunts, uncles, cousins and other family. I drove with my parents and during the visit, we spent time at my Aunt Emily and Uncle Jim's farm outside of town. It is always nice to get out into the country and often, I wish I had a place close to home like this to escape to. They live here year round and I wish I could at times.... but then I would miss the vibrancy of city life... the concerts, dining, friends and adventure. But hey.... it makes for some nice pictures.

Enjoy. Happy New Year.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Bar Louie Calendar

A few years back, I was asked by my friend Marc Wuenschel to help him with some food photography for the Bar Louie Calendar and marketing. I thought it was funny that a calendar of hot bartenders had pictures of a burger below them... but it was a fun challenge and educational opportunity. Fast forward to around the time of Election night in Chicago... actually on voting day.... and Marc hired me again.... as I completed day two of a photo shoot for my first calendar. This time not shooting food but the models themselves. It was for Bar Louie - a chain of excellent food and drink establishments around the country but based here in Chicago and they do a yearly calendar of employees that is sold.
I had never done a shoot of this size.... 16 models, lights, hair, make-up, on location! On the previous Sunday, an exceptional photographer and good friend of mine Chris Gurley took the time to give me a crash course in lighting. I could not have done the shoot without his help. The shoot started each morning at 6am as we shot in two various Bar Louie locations in Chicagoland and had to be done by around 2pm each day. The girls were wonderful... nice as could be and willing to try just about any shot we wanted. The calendar came out nice... and is on-sale now at all Bar Louie locations. I have found you may have to ask for it as they do not seem to promote it that much... but for some reason they never have. I hope to do more projects of this nature in the year to come.... Very fun. And yes... as many of you have said... it is a ROUGH life. ;-). I will post more of the shots soon.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Election Night in Chicago

Where to even begin on this... perhaps one of the reasons it has taken me so long to write about this extraordinary evening is there are few words to describe how cool this event was. I have said this many times since and still maintain it.... whether you are democrat or republican or don't even vote... seeing 100,000 people or more who all believe in change, a new beginning, and are optimistic for the future was amazing. I will start by saying thank you to Marc Alghini because without his help, I would not have been there at all. Thank you. Marc called me that day and said he had an extra plus one, access to the field with the other 69,999 people who had been given tickets via a random lottery on the web. I jumped at the chance and we agreed to meet at 7:30 on Congress and Michigan. I finished up my photo shoot for Bar Louie's 2009 Calendar (more on that in a future post) in the south loop and headed back to Wrigleyville to drop off my camera bag, lights, and everything else. As the NBC national nightly news came on at 5:30 leading with a story about Grant Park.... Marc and I both called each other at the same time, as we were both watching where we would be in a few hours and both agreed.... get your ass in gear... we need to get down there. I promptly left my apartment and caught the southbound EL. Just the atmosphere on the EL was electric... It was like going to a rock concert... everyone wearing OBAMA t-shirts, American flags everywhere and smiles on people faces. Without too much detail.... we met up, and headed into Grant Park.... and were just early enough to actually line up in the last row, between some metal bike racks and the overflow press area. Behind us were news photographers from around the globe covering the event, yet not willing to pay for the prime media access right in front of the podium.

We stood for hours, shoulder to shoulder with people from all walks of life, old and young, including a pregnant woman who was happy to have the bike rack to sit against when the standing became too tough. It was surreal... added to by the fact that it was unseasonably warm on this early November evening. To this day, I wonder what election night would have been like had the weather been Chicago brutal as it could have been... or had the outcome of the election been different. As it was, it was one of the most peaceful, happy gatherings I have ever been in the midst of. We all know how the night turned out... and I am sure by now you have seen the pictures and images. This next part of the story is where it truly took a unique turn... and went from surreal to out of this world. I hate to also say, that as the clock approached 11pm and Obama's speech... Marc, the one who granted me the golden ticket... actually had to leave, to fight the river of people and flow upstream as he had to be on-air at WXRT that night at midnight. I watched the speech in a crowd of new friends, united by our bond of experience.

After the speech was done, the tears of many shed... I stood there watching the crowd disperse and knew that the wait for the EL would be long... I figured I would hang out, photograph the people and enjoy the warm evening. No plan... and no expectations. As the masses attempted to leave... all of a sudden, a few people realized they could easily hop the bike racks separating us from the media area and providing a quicker exit to the street. I watched in amazement as approximately 30 people hopped the bike rack and walked leisurely to Columbus Drive and beyond. Fully expecting at any moment police or secret service to tackle them to the ground as Brian Urlacher would an opposing quarterback. Nothing. No one stopped them.... So.... as I was carrying my big zoom camera lens and DSLR.... I figured, what can I lose. 34, 35, 36 and then the 37th or so person to hop the little bike rack was little ol' me. All of a sudden, being the same as backstage at a concert... I made up a story in case someone did stop me.... "my pass is right here under my sweatshirt, wait... no it must be in my camera, bag.... wait... I must of lost it.... I will leave right away.... sorry." I walked around, and witnessed thousands of media filing their stories and the news talking heads doing reports to destinations across the globe. I kept walking and looking... enjoying the sites and sounds as things wound down. As events would have it, I walked around, and found myself at one point RIGHT in front of the podium where Obama had just accepted and given his speech. To tell you about where I was.... imagine where Oprah stood and watched from. From there, I ventured around the side of the stage and into the VIP pathway that kept the VIPs of the evening apart from the media.
(with Obama senior advisor David Axelrod)

About a minute after wandering into this path... I noticed a group of secret service gathering and getting ready to move. To my surprise, Obama emerged from the "Guests of Biden" tent and began a slow walk to another tent. A small group gathered along the fence to shake the hand of the President-Elect.... and I did the same. On the night he was elected, about 12:45am of his brand new day... I shook President-Elect Barack Obama's hand. Amazing. I left after this, as you can not get anything better.... and basically called many, woke up my parents, and walked almost the entire way from Grant Park back to Wrigleyville.... maybe I should say... floated....

I have attached a few of my favorite shots from that evening here. The #1 shot is right after I shook his hand, I captured this black and white shot of him walking alone... Can you even imagine the thoughts going through his mind at this point. I added via photoshop the image of Lincoln and the American flag. Additionally the phrase that is the theme of his inauguration.
Another of these images is from that night... with a great line from his speech that I found through my friend Katie Marta. I just thought it fit well over the image of Obama speaking, with all the American flags in the air. Enjoy.

Enjoy. Bring on the future... it is so bright... I gotta wear shades.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A few shots from the past week...

I have not been doing great at updating this blog over the past month.... I have an amazing amount of respect for those who are disciplined enough to actually maintain a blog daily and stay on top of this.

Anyway, as my attention has turned from baseball over the past month I have been shooting more concerts and other fun things. This past week, as a favor to a friend I was able to photograph the University of Chicago's soccer team and captured the following image:

(University of Chicago Soccer Team - Photograph by Will Byington)

I was also lucky enough on Friday night to go with a big group of friends and see one of my favorite bands of 2008... Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers. If you get the chance, you should check him out for sure if he comes to a town near you. You won't be let down.

(Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers, Chicago - Photograph by Will Byington)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Chicago Marathon and more...

I photographed the Chicago Marathon on Sunday and one of my favorite shots is that of some friends of mine who are INSANE. They ran the race in costume... Super Heros to save the world... and run 26.2 miles on a 72 degree day. I could not run if I had the best clothing and equipment from Nike.... and they run it in costume... Insane. But the picture is fun.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

LA, Concerts and other adventures...

Over the past few weeks I have had some fun adventures, concerts and other happenings. I photographed the excellent artist Marc Broussard at the Lakeshore Theater in Chicago... he always puts on a great show. It ended up being an amazing night of music as well as random adventure - as some friends and I drank next door to the venue with the band and crew, we found out that comedian Robin Williams was in the house... and a few of us snuck back into the theater to witness an impromptu show by Robin. Awesome.

(Marc Broussard in concert at the Lakeshore Theater, Chicago - Photograph by Will Byington)

I also trekked west to Los Angeles with my friend Jim, to hopefully witness the comeback of the Chicago Cubs vs. the LA Dodgers. It was a trip that we booked with under 48 hours before we would fly west to the coast... and Saturday morning, with the Cubs down by two games.... we landed in Hollywood. Other than the letdown of the game at Chavez Ravine... Dodger Stadium was not very welcoming for sure... and the Cubs did not seem to show up at all.

(Dodger Stadium before game three of the NLDS Cubs Slaughter - Photograph by Will Byington)

We all know how that turned out! But I will say that the visit to LA was a blast otherwise... and the hospitality was excellent. A HUGE thank you to Jill, Ann, Griff and everyone else we saw out there and for the places to stay! We had drinks in Malibu and people watched in Venice Beach. Not a bad couple days.

(Sunset on Venice Beach, California - Photograph by Will Byington)

Now, I am back in Chicago and without baseball across the street for the coming weeks as the season has come to an end... I will be looking for other adventures, concerts and fun times. I will also be booking new photo shoots and looking for new projects... if you need a photographer for anything... please let me know.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Cubs Clinch Photos

(Fans celebrate the Cubs clinching the 2008 NL Central Division - Photograph by Will Byington)

So a week ago... The Cubs clinched the Central Division and I was there!!!! It was one of the coolest days I have been able to experience not only as a Cubs fan but also as a photographer. To be there, on the field as the team celebrated winning the National League Central Division... WOW. The following pictures are just a few of my favorite shots from that day:(Ryan Dempster celebrates the Cubs clinching the 2008 NL Central Division - Photograph by Will Byington)

(Alfonso Soriano celebrates the Cubs clinching the 2008 NL Central Division - Photograph by Will Byington)

(Carlos Zambrano celebrates the Cubs clinching the 2008 NL Central Division - Photograph by Will Byington)
(Ryan Theriot celebrates the Cubs clinching the 2008 NL Central Division - Photograph by Will Byington)

You can see more of my shots from this exciting day at:

Friday, September 26, 2008

book signings...

Thank you to everyone who came out to the book signings over the last week!

Between Lemont's Public Library and the Barnes and Noble on State Street, I can't thank everyone enough who has been supporting my book!

(this was the set-up at the Barnes and Noble @ State & Jackson for my signing)

The Cubs have made the playoffs and hopefully they will march far into October.

I will keep you all updated as I have more events and signings for WE ARE CUBS FANS.

Thanks again for the support.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Upcoming Book signings...

Book Signing Event at Canterbury Shoppe in Naperville
Sunday, Sept. 14, Noon-2 pm

175 W. Jackson Avenue
Naperville, IL 60540
Phone: (630) 717-5005

Come out and meet Naperville, native Will Byington at The Canterbury Shoppe this Sunday. He will be signing copies of his book We are Cubs fans. It's the perfect gift for that Chicago Cubs fan in your life!

Book Signing @ Barnes & Noble
DePaul University Loop Campus Bookstore
September 15, 2008 - 5:30 to 7pm
1 E. Jackson Boulevard (State and Jackson)
Chicago, IL 60604
Store telephone: (312)362-8792

We Are Cubs Fans!
Meet local author and photographer Will Byington for an fascinating explorations of the species "Cubs Fans."

Monday, September 8, 2008

1,000 True Fans

So as many of you who have been keeping up with my blogging attempts over the past few months know, I am not great nor consistent yet on this concept. I don't know what to write about that will keep people coming back or interested... For inspiration I have been reading blog after blog, what feels like a hundred different blogs of all types at times.... to get motivated and an idea of what to spread to friends and fans... Some of it has worked... others, yeah... not so much. There is one blog though that I have recently came across that I can't seem to get enough of. One of the best people in the music business is a gentleman that I met some 10 years ago while still a naive college student at the University of Alabama. I was lucky enough to con the college into sending me to the excellent South by Southwest Music Conference in Austin, TX - basically 4 to 5 days of watching bands large and small at 100 different clubs throughout Austin. Could it get any better? All paid for by the college. Thank you.

While there I was also able to meet some industry leaders and pick their brain... ask advice and gather insight. One such industry veteran who I tracked down on the steps outside the convention center was Larry Weintraub. I had come across his name numerous times as he was an A&R guy for some of my favorite bands at the time and today. Between busy meetings and artist parties he took time out of his day to talk to a 20 year old college student and I never forgot it. Fast forward two years and I would meet Larry again in Hollywood while living out there. We have not really kept in touch but each time we have talked, it is always inspirational and fun. Larry now runs the company FANSCAPE and is an entertainment industry leader in marketing and promotion. Why am I telling you all this? Because one of his blog posts I have been reading over and over for the last week... 1,000 True Fans. In short, it details an idea posted on Kevin Kelly's "The Technium" blog.

Per Kevin:
"A True Fan is defined as someone who will purchase anything and everything you produce. They will drive 200 miles to see you sing. They will buy the super deluxe re-issued hi-res box set of your stuff even though they have the low-res version. They have a Google Alert set for your name. They bookmark the eBay page where your out-of-print editions show up. They come to your openings. They have you sign their copies. They buy the t-shirt, and the mug, and the hat. They can't wait till you issue your next work. They are true fans.
He goes on to describe the financials:

Assume conservatively that your True Fans will each spend one day's wages per year in support of what you do. That "one-day-wage" is an average, because of course your truest fans will spend a lot more than that. Let's peg that per diem each True Fan spends at $100 per year. If you have 1,000 fans that sums up to $100,000 per year, which minus some modest expenses, is a living for most folks."

This whole ideas has been on fire in my mind over the past week.... cause I really think I could apply this to my photography career. I will most likely post more about this in the future... but I am open to your ideas and thoughts. I actually sent Larry a copy of my new book and am going to follow up with him about maybe having him take on an author to promote. I would love any ideas anyone might have to promote and nurture 1,000 true fans of my work. Bring on the conversation... And Larry... Thank you.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Interview with Bob Sirott on WGN's Noon Show

This past Monday, I had the pleasure of being a guest on the WGN Radio "Noon Show" with NBC 5 TV anchor and Chicago media legend Bob Sirott.

Click here for the interview with Bob Sirott

He is a huge Cubs fan and one of the best interviewers I have had the pleasure of being on the other side of the mike from. Thank you for a fun interview and continued publicity!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Pictures from the Book release party!

Friday night... what can I say, overwhelmed and thrilled are just two words that come to mind about the absolute blowout bash we had at Harry Caray's Tavern in Wrigleyville. Over 300 people packed upstairs and down for an evening of laughs, drinks and good times. Many people left with a copy of WE ARE CUBS FANS in hand and a good story to share. Thank you to those of you who came out.

A portion of the proceeds from the party are going to the excellent charity Walk The Talk.
I have a gallery of pictures from the party for your review. Feel free to send me more shots if you have them.

I have had many people ask how they could buy a copy of WE ARE CUBS FANS. Amazon.com or WeAreCubsFans.com is the best way! Please take a moment to checkout the party pictures, laugh, and buy a book or three!

wxrt.com / theheckler.com / alohadocs.com / westsiderooters.com / wrigleydoneright.com / harrycaraystavern.com

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Interview on ABC 7 in Chicago this morning!

Just in case you were not awake at 8:15am this morning... I know I normally would not have been... I was lucky enough to be interviewed live on ABC 7 Chicago. Check out the video here. Thank you very much to the one and only Al of http://www.bleedcubbieblue.com for the interview contact. 

Friday, August 15, 2008

Party - Tonight @ Harry Caray's Wrigleyville

DATE: August 15, 2008 - FRIDAY NIGHT!

TIME: 7:30 to 10pm

LOCATION: Harry Caray's Tavern
3551 N. Sheffield, Wrigleyville

"Wrigley Done Right" Cubs Rooftop Party for you and 5 friends, Cubs Club Box Seats,
WXRT Studio X passes, Autographed items from Kerry Wood and Ryan Dempster, and MORE!
Also... the first 75 people to arrive and purchase the book get a FREE "We Are Cubs Fans" T-shirt!

Package A) $20 all-you-can drink

Package B)
$40 all-you-can drink & a copy of WE ARE CUBS FANS


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Book signing TONIGHT in Naperville! 7pm

Join the line-up at Anderson’s when photographer Will Byington travels to us from Wrigleyville with his book, We Are Cubs Fans. His collection of fan photos and testimonials addresses the age-old question: What Do the Cubs Mean to Me? A coffee table book for Diehards. Visit www.andersonsbookshop.com for more details!

Thursday, August 14th at 7:00 p.m.
Nichols Library,
200 W. Jefferson Ave.
Naperville, IL 60540

Come on out and get a book signed!!!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

West Side Rooters "Tally Ho" parade with Ernie Banks and Dutchie Caray

As the official photographer for the West Side Rooters, the Cubs first ever Fan Club back from 1908... Friday morning, Harry Caray's brought back another tradition... the "Tally Ho" parade from downtown to Wrigley Field. Leaving from the flagship location of Harry Caray's... two double decker buses loaded with Cubs fans and the likes of Ernie Banks, Dutchie Caray, Ronnie Woo Woo, Ivy Man and the Holy Cow rode north to the "Friendly Confines" of Wrigley. It was a great experience and a blast to see people honk their horns and yell out their support of the Cubs as we made our way north.

Mr. Cub Ernie Banks puts his horn to good use on the Tally Ho Parade

The "Holy Cow", Ivy Man and Ronnie Woo Woo get ready for the Tally Ho Parade

Mr. Cub Ernie Banks, Harry Caray's Grant DePorter and Dutchie Caray with fans arrive at Harry Caray's Tavern at the end of the Tally Ho Parade

Don't forget... This Friday, August 15th at the Harry Caray's Tavern in Wrigleyville from 7:30 to 10pm is the book release party for WE ARE CUBS FANS. Check out the evite here!

Harry Caray's Tavern in Wrigleyville
August 15, 2008
7:30 to 10pm
The Deal: For $20 - All-You-Can-Drink package...
Or for $40... (a steal) get the 2 1/2 hour drink package and a copy of WE ARE CUBS FANS.

Please spread the word... Bring friends and tell everyone you know!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

WGN Interview with David Kaplan on Sports Central and Outside the Loop radio

Tonight I had the pleasure of being a guest on David Kaplan's WGN radio show Sports Central. Over the past couple of years, I have been lucky to get to know Dave through a fantastic charity named the Miracle Michael Foundation. Beth and John Schultz run a charity golf outing every year and Dave is one of their biggest fans. This year I donated some copies of my new book WE ARE CUBS FANS and Dave said instantly he wanted to have me as a guest on his show.

Interview with David Kaplan on WGN's Sports Central

I was slightly disappointed to not be a guest in the studio as right after my segment, Kap was lucky enough to interview two playboy playmates.... but hey, I'll take what I can get. Thanks for the support buddy.

This weekend is the big Cubs vs. Cardinals series at Wrigley.... Let's go Cubbies.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Kerry Wood's Strike Zone

It is 6:30pm on Wednesday night and I am trying to figure out my plans for the evening after an excellent Cubs win... and I get a call from my good friend John. He has scored me an extra pass for one of the coolest charity events of the year... Kerry Wood's Strike Zone 3000 event at 10 Pin bowling lanes next to the House of Blues. I instantly hop in a cab and get down there. Chicago's very own Hello Dave is playing in the middle of the venue. All around me are Chicago Cubs being as friendly as could be, signing autographs for anyone and everyone... and having a BLAST. It was amazing to see the friendship, and personality they all have with each other and their fans. I took the opportunity to snap some pictures with a few from the team and tell them about WE ARE CUBS FANS.

WE ARE CUBS FANS' Will Byington with 1st Baseman Derrek Lee

WE ARE CUBS FANS' Will Byington (Far Right) with Jim Edmonds (Left) and Mike Fontenot (Center) of the 2008 Chicago Cubs

WE ARE CUBS FANS' Will Byington with Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood at his Strike Zone 3000 Charity event

WE ARE CUBS FANS' Will Byington with potential future Cubs owner and Dallas Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban

WE ARE CUBS FANS' Will Byington with Cubs starting pitcher Ryan Dempster

It was an event that I would HIGHLY suggest any true Cubs fan attend in the future.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Ron Santo and Bernies...

This morning, I ventured over to one of my favorite neighborhood bars - Bernies. Recently they picked some of my Wrigley pictures in their upstairs party rooms and they look excellent.

We brainstormed some ideas for unique, one of a kind photos for their walls and came up the idea of having Ron Santo pose in front of the marquee at the corner of Waveland and Clark.

Tuesday morning I met with the owner and waited for Ron to arrive. It was a huge pleasure to meet the true Cubs fan himself. I had met him before in the past, but it was an honor and very cool experience to photograph Ron. The shoot took a grand total of 10 minutes, max... and the images came out great!

Thank you Ron for all that you do. Go Cubbies.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Lollapalooza 2008

I just finished up three days of shooting Lollapalooza in Chicago for WXRT-FM. Check out some of the best pictures here:

Lollapalooza: Day #3 Day #2 Day #1


Friday, August 1, 2008

Outside the Loop Radio

My friend Mike Stephen interviewed me a few weeks back for his outstanding radio program "Outside the Loop Radio" that airs every Friday on WLUW. Check it out for sure as it is interesting and fun radio... the way it should be. The interview was one of the more fun to do also, cause Mike came to me... doing the interview while we drank a beer on the front porch of my apartment building during a Cubs game. Could it get any better? Take a listen to the interview here:

Interview with Mike Stephen on Outside the Loop Radio

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Book release party... Be there!  Click here for the invite!

Details in short:   

WE ARE CUBS FANS book release party
Harry Caray's Wrigleyville
Friday, August 15th 2008 7:30 - 10pm

All-You-Can Drink & a Copy of WE ARE CUBS FANS = $40.00
All-You-Can-Drink - $20.00

There will be many more details posted here soon... please help spread the word and bring as many friends as you wish. The event is open to the public and I hope to have the place packed!


Friday, July 25, 2008

Book Release Party and other events!

SAVE THE DATE - Friday, August 15th 7:30 to 10pm... I will be having my BOOK RELEASE PARTY at Harry Caray's in Wrigleyville.  More details coming soon...

Also... On Thursday, August 14th at 7pm - I will be doing a book signing at Anderson's Bookshop in Naperville.

Stay tuned for more events and more details.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

WGN Interview with Spike O'Dell

Life has been moving full speed ahead over the past month since the release of WE ARE CUBS FANS.  I have now done an internet video interview, a handful of radio interviews and two newspaper interviews.... I will be posting them all here for your reading enjoyment.  Crazy week.

Last Friday morning... I was lucky enough to be a guest on the excellent Spike O'Dell WGN-AM morning show.  The fun thing is that I went to school wit
h Spike's son years ago, so it was fun to catch up with Spike and be a part of the #1 morning show in Chicago.  

WGN's Spike O'Dell (L) with WE ARE CUBS FANS author Will Byington (R)

Click here to hear the interview:

To continue the madness.... I was also interviewed on a station in south western Illinois (that actually carries the St. Louis Cardinals) by their afternoon host Lou Anne (the station's only Cubs fan).  WLPO is the station in Oglesby, IL and you can hear that interview here:

And finally... A good friend and former college professor of mine from the University of Alabama was up here recently for a Cubs game with some friends.  Well, one of those friends is a columnist for the Tuscaloosa News and this past Sunday... he ran his column about yours truly... 

Read that here:

More coming soon also... Next week I will be on WGN again, this time with David Kaplan and Sports Central.  I will also be on with Mike Stephens on his "Outside The Loop" Radio Program.  More details on those coming up...