Tuesday, March 31, 2009

just finished shooting John Mayer's Mayercraft Carrier. Sitting @ LAX for the next 5 hours to fly home to Chicago! Hope the weather is nice!

Friday, March 27, 2009

out to sea once again... photographing on John Mayer's Mayercraft Carrier Cruise from LA to Cabo.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Hollywood Super Heros, Girls of Playboy Golf and Bob Barker!

Today was my last full day in Hollywood before heading to Long Beach and getting on the Carnival Splendor to photograph the John Mayer cruise "Mayercraft Carrier" for the weekend. Between running errands and doing laundry... I decided to re-visit the amazing characters of Hollywood Blvd. As I posted the other day, there was a Tinkerbell that I photographed and instantly fell in love. Ok, maybe not... but what struck me were the # of grown people who make a living working the street in Halloween costumes as Super Heroes and such... all in the name of making a buck. I figured they would make an excellent photo series... and wow....I believe they do. There are more where these came from, but here are a few of my favorites from Wednesday in Hollywood:

Originally, I thought these would work excellent as black and white shots... but in some cases the colors are just too good. After about an hour of shooting these shots, just as I was about to venture out of the insanity... two beautiful girls asked that I use their camera and get a shot of them with "Elvis" and "Marilyn".... Of course I obliged and took one with my camera just to make sure everything came out...

Well, as luck would have it... as I talked to Casey and Billie Jo some more... they were in town from Pittsburgh... to be a part of the PLAYBOY Golf outing and parties.... that's right... they are from the "Girls of Playboy Golf". Awesome. Do you think Spongebob is Happy?
Sadly no invite to the mansion came my way, but they were nice as could be and seemed to be having a blast on their first visit to the land of dreams and movie stars. Later this evening, I would stop off at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel for a quick drink and to catch up with my good friend John Thomas Griffith of Cowboy Mouth and we would find out there were something like 400 "Girls of Playboy Golf" at the hotel. Welcome to Hollywood.

If that was not enough for the day... as I was waiting for Griff to pick me up earlier in the evening... I happened to see the one and only... Bob Barker... that's right... Spay and Neuter your pets... "Price is Wrong, bi*^%!" Bob Barker.... so of course I had to get a picture with him! I must say... an excellent day in Hollywood.
And now... as mentioned.... I am in Long Beach and in a short 8 hours or so, Sixthman and crew will be loading up the boat in advance of the "One Splendid Evening" charity show for VH1's Save The Music with John Mayer and more.

As I say often... the adventure continues. Who wants to join the ride?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Hollywood, CA and the John Mayer's Mayercraft Carrier this weekend!

(Alfonso Soriano of the Chicago Cubs at Ho Ho Kam Park in Mesa, AZ - Photography by Will Byington © 2009)

This past weekend, I had an EXCELLENT time in AZ watching the Cubs Spring Training thanks to The Heckler. At times, there were about 20 of us in the group outing taking in baseball under the warm Arizona sun and watching the Cubbies get amped up for the 2009 season. There were many laughs and stories shared. We also caught Chicago comedian Scott Derenger at the Comedy Spot in Scottsdale and that was another highlight of the trip.

Saturday's beating of the Chicago White Sox 13-2 was a very welcome start for this BIG Cubs fan on my personal 2009 Cubs season. I also marketed and sold a few copies of my book WE ARE CUBS FANS and thank everyone who picked up a copy for the compliments and support. If you have never been for Spring Training... The Heckler will be sponsoring a 2010 journey and I highly suggest you jump at the chance to go.
(Just off I-10 West outside of Phoenix, AZ - Photography by Will Byington © 2009)

From Mesa, instead of heading back to the frozen tundra of Chicago for 48 hours before having to trek back across the country... I headed further west and found myself in Hollywood, CA. I actually lived in Hollywood for one short year back from 2000-2001 and always love the chance to come back. As much as I hated living here at the time (let's just say my time here will make a great movie one day), there is something intoxicating and enticing for me here in the hills and close proximity to the ocean. I think it starts with my love of all things entertainment... and the fact that 75% of entertainment is born here.

I have a bunch of friends out here and it has also been great being able to briefly catch up with them. From my friend Karen Love who works on Game Shows... to PR Wizard Alfred Hopton currently working with Dick Clark Productions to Jill & Lee at Warner Brothers... the stories are fantastic and the time to catch up with friends is priceless. Thanks for taking time out of your busy days to fit me in. I also caught up with my friend Bob Plain from high school and had a couple beers while catching up in Beverly Hills. Bob and his beautiful wife are expecting a child in the next month, but have also built their business to a thriving success.... doing nothing other than Eyebrows!!! Awesome. Their company is Billion Dollar Brows and they have grown to have products and a salon in Beverly Hills that only shapes, trims, styles your eyebrows!!! And that my friends... is one of the main reasons I love it out here... the creativity and dreams everyone has to at least try to live the life they want.

It could also be the palm trees and swimming pools... the random music videos being filmed on Hollywood Blvd. or the fact that I finally found Tinkerbell:
(Poolside at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood - Photography by Will Byington © 2009)

(Random music video being filmed on Hollywood Blvd.- I love the random record label suit watching every move - Photography by Will Byington © 2009)

(Tinkerbell on the boulevard - Photography by Will Byington © 2009)

John Mayer's Cruise is next! Tomorrow night is the VH1 "Save The Music" Charity event called "One Splendid Evening" that kicks off the Mayercraft Carrier 2009. For the first time, we will be boarding the boat a night early for an evening of music performances by John Mayer, Gavin Rossdale, Jordin Sparks, O.A.R., Sara Bareilles, Guster and Erin McCarley before setting sail on Friday to Cabo San Lucas. Once again, I will be the official photographer for John Mayer and the other bands on the ship so look for some shots in the weeks to come right here.

Finally, don't forget to check out my website for my European adventure I am planning of May...where YOU can send me on assignment and get a personal photo of a European landmark for your walls. Details can be found at: www.willseuropeanadventure.com

Until next time as always.... say hello.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Just watched the Cubs beat the Sox in AZ 13-2 & sold a few copies of WE ARE CUBS FANS. One more game tomorrow!

Friday, March 20, 2009

@ first Cubs game of 2009. Spring training in AZ is excellent! Cubs up 4-2 in the 5th. if you are around... say hello!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Cubs Spring Training in AZ, John Mayer's Cruise and Europe in May!

Lots going on right now... just trying to find the time to stay on top of everything! Let me first say that I picked up my good friend Jim McArdle's new book LIVING THE DREAM and it looks excellent. I was lucky enough to do some of the photography for the book including the cover as seen here. Pick up a copy today!

I am leaving for Cubs Spring Training in Arizona this weekend. I will be out in Mesa with a group of fans from The Heckler and some friends including comedian Scott Derenger who will be doing some comedy shows throughout the weekend. If you are around AZ, please say hello and let's catch up! Baseball is here... Let's have some fun in the sun! I will also have copies of my book WE ARE CUBS FANS if you want to pick up a copy or 6.

From Arizona, I will be heading further west... to Hollywood for a couple days, before getting on the Carnival Splendor for the John Mayer cruise... the Mayercraft Carrier with John Mayer, OAR and Guster. This is cruise #5 of the year for me through Sixthman and I am very excited to see the Pacific and head down to Cabo as I have heard great things.

On another note, I just launched today a website for my next adventure I am planning for May... a trip to Europe for charity and photo assignments: http://www.willseuropeanadventure.com

The idea is this.... 10 years ago this year, I took Amtrak 14,000 miles around the USA and Canada over 24 days. Now it is time to see the rest of the world... One step at a time - This May, I am planning a trek across the pond and beyond. From May 17th till June 5th I will visit Europe and I want you to send me on assignment! I will backpack around Europe, taking pictures that you suggest and photographing shows along the way by the Counting Crows and The Hold Steady - together in England, AC/DC in Vienna, Austria and Bruce Springsteen in Finland.

As a professional photographer, I often sell my original images from the world I see. This time, you get to suggest photos you might like for me to capture. I will be posting my schedule as it is planned... and you can offer suggestions for photo shoots I should aim for. I can’t promise to get every shot, every time... but I will do my best. At the end of the trip, I will have a large gallery of images from which you can choose or any of my other original photos.

For a $20 donation in advance... you can make a selection at the end of the journey from my gallery of a free 8x10 print. I will be blogging, twittering and updating galleries along the way
so you can follow me every step of the way throughout Europe.

A % of every advance purchase will be donated to one of my favorite charities called Imerman Angels (http://www.imermanangels.org/) - where they connect people who have cancer with people who had cancer.

More details will be posted soon along with a new website. Please feel free to contact me with any ???

Until next time... enjoy.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Photographing Freddy Jones Band @ Mystic Celt 3-6pm then heading to Hello Dave tonight @ Stanleys! Come on out!

Monday, March 16, 2009

uploaded pix from this weekend to Facebook and is now getting in on the Twitter bandwagon by using Ping.fm to update all status at once!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

5 hours to go... Cayamo, U2, Gaelic Storm and WE ARE CUBS FANS

This seems to be a common thread. With approx 5 or so hours before I reach the full week mark since my last post... I am sitting in my neighborhood Starbucks using the wi-fi internet due to no service at my apartment. My internet has been offline since some storms blew through the area the middle of last week and my awesome provider of RCN is saying that it will possibly be Tuesday before someone comes by to work on it. So here I am like Jack Bauer racing the clock to get my post online before I owe another $20.
I returned to Chicago a week ago from CAYAMO and have still been trying to find the words to describe the trip. Another photographer, John Davisson from POLLSTAR who was on the boat, posted this blog recapping his trip. That is a pretty good start to cover the massive amount of music and experiences that were provided over the week of music and fun. As many of my friends who have been on other Sixthman boats... like the Rock Boat have asked what it was like, was it fun, etc... I respond with a resounding yes. While the idea of being on a boat filled with singer/songwriters may sound like a snooze fest... it was so much more than that. Without question I feel like I saw some of the most unique and intimate shows that I have ever seen. Think of the old MTV show unplugged at its finest... and you will have an idea of what it was like... add to that being able to see the lead singers of bands like Tonic, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Collective Soul, Barenaked Ladies and Sister Hazel among many more. To see them play acoustic, telling the stories behind the songs... awesome. Not only that, but the true experience of a Sixthman cruise is that you also get to know the artists... you see them at the buffett, by the pool or watching other artists they love. As I said last week.... I have one more cruise left for the 2009 season... leaving the 27th of March from Los Angeles... the Mayercraft Carrier with John Mayer, OAR and Guster. There is still time to get on the boat.
This past week, I also had the cool chance to see one of my favorite bands within two blocks of my apartment. Let me clarify actually... I only got to see them paparazzi style... but still an excellent opportunity. The Irish Rock band U2 came to the Metro in Chicago's Wrigleyville neighborhood for a national radio promotion. They were playing DJ for stations around the country for an hour and talking about the music they love. I tried to get into the show through WXRT, the station I photograph for... yet they were told no photography would be allowed inside... even winners who got inside had to turn over their cell phones before entering the venue. This all fueled talk that the band would be playing a short set and demand for tickets went through the roof. A good friend of mine who thought they may be able to get me in... ended up having their tickets sold by their friend for $300. I don't blame them... as it turned out, $300 in the pocket is much better than seeing a bunch of rockstars sitting on a couch talking. Anyway... I stayed outside the Metro with a few friends and waited for the band to emerge. I actually arrived about 20 minutes after the band and found out they had taken time to take pictures and sign autographs for people upon arrival. As the band was leaving, they once again trekked to the line and shook some hands before being whisked away by SUV. I was able to capture a few fun photos.

I also shot the bands Gaelic Storm and Oakhurst at the House of Blues on Friday night and the St. Patrick's Day tradition of dyeing the river green on Saturday. Pictures of both of those coming soon.
This time next week, I will be in Arizona for the Cubs Spring Training... It should be a great trip as I am heading out with The Heckler and I hope to sell some of my book WE ARE CUBS FANS to the faithful who journey west for the kickoff to the baseball season. Let me know if you will be out there and say hello. As someone who attends 50 games a year at Wrigley... I am looking forward to the adventure of seeing the boys in blue gearing up for the season.

Details will be coming soon also about my European adventure I am planning for May. Until then... to steal the Sixthman motto: Live Loud.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

I owe $20....

I am back home in Chicago... on a 44 degree thunderstorm filled day in the Windy City. 10 days ago I flew to Miami for the 4th time this year already... to board the CAYAMO cruise and once again, photograph some of my favorite bands for Sixthman. This was the most music intensive of the cruises this year and it did nothing short of blow me away. Over 40 artists were booked to perform for 7 days in the Caribbean with stops along the way in Samana, St. Thomas, Tortola, and Nassau. Unreal. Lyle Lovett, John Hiatt, Indigo Girls, Patty Griffin, Brandi Carlile, Marc Broussard, Glen Phillips (Toad the Wet Sprocket), Emerson Hart (Tonic), Ed Roland (Collective Soul), Ken, Drew and Ryan (Sister Hazel), David Ryan Harris, and SOOO many more... I know I am forgetting right now... rocked for the week. I photographed the experience - people and bands from noon till 2am each night, gambled with some of my new best friends and favorite bands and drank till 5am while watching some of the most talented singer/songwriters around! Simply amazing. If you get the chance... and want to take the vacation of a lifetime... get on a Sixthman cruise for 2010. There is still time to get on the Mayercraft Carrier at the end of March this year. Do it. I will also say, I think I found my new favorite place on earth... heaven it could be called... We took the artists on the boat by ferry from Tortola to the island of jost VAN dyke in the British Virgin Islands... and arrived just offshore from the Soggy Dollar Bar. After swimming up to the beach and using our soggy dollars for their world famous Painkiller drinks... we lounged on the beach and enjoyed the Caribbean warmth. Even on a very overcast day... watching the yachts 100 yards off the sandy beach, was one of my favorite days.

Speaking of action... while being on the ship for the week out at sea.... I had internet access once and used it to very quickly check e-mail and catch up on the world outside of the bubble I was living in. Well, needless to say... I did not follow my own resolution of updating my blog once in each 7 day period. As I stated back at the beginning of February... if I failed at this mission... and you are the first person to catch me and call me out on this... I owe you $20. Well... David Bergman, the excellent photographer who motivated me to maintain and stay on top of blogging... is the same one who was the first to catch me and call me out. Thank you. Per his request, a $20 donation was made to REVERB - An environmental action not-for-profit group that was founded by a band member in Guster and promotes healthy environmental lifestyles and touring. Second place also goes to my friend Jeremy Mills who came in second at calling me out. The deal still stands... if you catch me at slacking... and are the first to e-mail or comment on it... I owe you $20.

Pictures and more updates from the cruise coming soon.