I flew out to Orlando, Florida on October 13th for a two day photo shoot with A Day To Remember. This photo shoot was for all their new album cycle press images. I was stoked not only because this is one of my favorite bands to work for, but because my good friend/photographer Matt Lingo came along with me. I have never flown with someone else for work, I am always riding solo- so this was a pleasant change.
Anyway, we flew out on the night of October 13th with an arrival time of 10:00am in Orlando Florida. Red Eyes rule, because you don’t waste a day flying. On the other hand, you waste your next day being tired as shit. We got to the airport a little early just in case we ran into any troubles when boarding. This was my first time using the new TSA full body scanners, which I will never use again, as I value you my health too much. But you basically stand in a big X-ray and do gang sign with your hands at about chest height while facing a wall. After I went through, the TSA guard told me to stop and not go any farther. I looked at Matt and laughed, here we go again. The male TSA agent looked me in the eyes and said “your butt”. I just started laughing. His face was serious as ever. He had an ear piece in that he kept touching, as if he couldn’t hear exactly what his colleague was trying to relay to him. I stood there staring at him, waiting for him to say something else. He looked at me again with the most serious face ever and said “butt, your button”. What the heck is this guy trying to say? I laughed at him again in confusion, he wasn’t stoked and went back to trying to listen to his boss as I stood there. Matt already passed through the security point, I looked over at him and yelled “They have a problem with my butt” while pointing to my bottom with both hands. He smirked and went back to his cell phone text world. The TSA man looked at me once more and said “do you have a wallet?” I patted myself and responded with “no sir, I took everything out earlier”. He said “I am going to have to pat you down”. I assumed he meant he was going to have to feel my ass- nope, everywhere. I don’t have a problem with TSA giving me the friskiest frisk ever, it doesn’t bother me, I actually think it’s pretty funny. I started laughing cause the dude went straight for my dick and gave it a stiff shove with the back of his hands. This guy knows what makes him happy. I can see how people feel like they are getting violated by the TSA agent, but I just like to think of it as – this dude gets paid to touch my dick, he is a legal male prostitute, what a loser. The TSA theatrics continued for a few more moments before I was told to continue.
I purchased a new mic for the 7D the night before. I figured if we are going to record audio, we might as well have it be clear.
We hung out in the terminal for a bit. Matt fell asleep in his seat and I don’t even remember what I did, it was a blurry mess of sleeping with my eyes open, I was so exhausted. We boarded our flight and I passed out immediately and woke up once we landed in Orlando. I felt like a new human! So refreshed, I knew it was temporary, but i felt so good. Matt and I got off the plane and I phoned Sal to pick us up. He took a bit longer than expected but he eventually swooped us from the port and we headed to Gage’s house to steal a vagabond from him. I felt bad, it was literally a hit and run, no time to hang- but I know I’ll see him again soon. We got some sandwiches at a really good sandwich shop around the corner from Gage’s. I got a turkey sandwich with stuffing and cranberries, so good. Off to Ocala. It was a a little over an hour to drive there, but the sheltered white people billboards made the drive all the more interesting.
Once we got to Ocala we checked in at our hotel and settled in.
That night we went back to the hotel and got the wrinkles out of the costumes- this is me being a thug.
My other assistant for the shoot, another Matt, also showed up that night to hang. He has the best license plate ever.
Our first day of shooting was full of different locations throughout Ocala and Gainesville. We started in downtown Ocala. That morning some old sheltered white folk were holding a picket sign protest right next to all of our locations. I don’t really mind when old people protest, I feel like it is their last cry out for help before they rot away and die. No need to fight the old fading mindsets of this country, they will be dead soon enough- it’s just a matter of time.
We set up a giant softbox so that Matt could hold it and walk with ease while the Vagabond was on his back- this kept us mobile.
***ill post the images from the first location as soon as they are released, but for now…. I won’t. Soon enough!
The Matts and Neil helped me out by being my test subjects. My first set-up didn’t work well, the ceilings were not tall enough to get everyone in the band lit.
I switched it to a sitting down position. Kevin wasn’t fond of sitting down, so he is doing some sort of epic squat in the back. Not quite sure what he was doing, but it ended up looking awesome.
A simple straight forward band image, nothing ground breaking- but I always need a few of these “safe” images.
After everything was done with we headed back to Ocala for the night. Keaton randomly texted me that night- he was driving through Florida and saw I was in the area via Twitter. He said we should meet up- totally down! Twitter for the win. He came over for an hour two and kicked it with the me, Matt, Sal and Alex. We didn’t really do anything of significance, just hung out and caught up on each others lives. I hadn’t seen him in at least a year, so it was a pleasant surprise! We tried to go to Jackass 3 that night, but it was sold out.
For our second day of shooting we headed to the St. Augustine Alligator Farm. Prior to this shoot, I did not even know that alligator farms existed. Double J, one of the guys at Victory Records just sent me an e-mail after I requested basic concepts form him- and all it said was “two words, alligator farm”. I did some research a few days before, called the place and told them what we were doing. It took them a few days to get back to me, and we actually ended up finalizing the location the night before the shoot. It always ends up being last minute! No matter what I do. We had originally planned to do shoot at an indoor location in Ocala. However after talking it over with the guys, we decided to make a last minute change of plans and just go to St. Augustine for the day, as it was a over a three hour drive there, and another three hour drive back.
We met at Sal‘s hotel around 9:00am and carpooled in their old tour van from Ocala to St. Augustine.
Memory cards, gotta collect ’em all.
Muscle man Jim here, moving gators like there is no tomorrow.
This is the third shoot I have done with A Day To Remember that had an audience. All along the fence to their left, our right- there were about fifty or so people watching. I had to Photoshop them out, but it was funny. One guys said “did they tell you that gators love bright colors” – referring to their tattoos. A good laugh for me- for the guys, more of a scare.
We also took a few images of the guys by the water, while all the gators were getting fed in the foreground. Again, I’ll post them when I am able to.
After we finished with the massive gators, they brought out a canvas bag with five baby gators in it. The guys had to hold them a special way, so that they didn’t get tagged by their razor sharp teeth. To keep it safe we also kept four of their five mouths tapped up. I Photoshopped out the tape in the final image, oh and I gave Kevin a belt! Actually I gave him a belt in all of the images.
Thank you so much to the people at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm for hooking it up. Nothing but a great team running the place. If you are ever in Florida, make a point to visit the farm, it’s amazing.
We grabbed some BBQ at Sonny’s on our way home. I ate too much and passed out for the rest of the ride back.
Back to the hotel to crash for the night, and then Matt and I flew home the next day. Fun trip, good times, and hopefully Matt can travel with me more in the future.