Music Photography Blog

by Adam Elmakias

Warped Tour 2012 stories – Days 13 -> 18

Day 13 – July 10th – Noblesville, Indiana

Show Day with Of Mice & Men – I took 2247 photographs today

I woke up and took the long walk to the venue to personally examine the porcelain they had to offer. I have been to the venue more than any others because I drove out here in 2007 to shoot the festival for Alternative Press. I was 18 at the time. Five years later I am back for the 4th time. Usually this venue is really humid, today it wasn’t too bad.

Of Mice & Men was on first, see video of below shot at 1 hour 38 seconds

I was doing a good job of remembering to turn my video on that day. I turned it on right before I jumped into the pit to shoot Austin going over the crowd as shown in the shots below. Problem was my GoPro was already on, so what I thought was me turning it on- was actually me turning it off.  The video cuts out right as it gets good, such a shame! Doh.

Austin Carlile of Of Mice & Men
Austin Carlile of Of Mice & Men
Tino hanging backlounge
That’s me, working on things in the front lounge of the bus
Guitarist of The Ghost Inside initiating the circle pit, see video for this at 1 hour 3 minutes
The Ghost Inside

I shot all of Mod Sun and T-Mill’s sets.

Mod Sun
T-Mill right before heading on stage

I attached a GoPro to T-Mill’s mic, you can watch it at 1 hour 4 minutes 6 seconds

I totally embarrassed myself during T-Mill’s set. No one noticed, except for me and him. It’s actually in the GoPro video, you can see it. Basically he came over to me and asked me if the GoPro on the mic was still on. I thought he said say something into the mic cause he kept facing it towards me. Anyway, I yelled into it and instantly felt stupid haha. Video of it at 1 hour 5 minutes 10 seconds

MANNN I miss being 15. This shot is something I took while my camera was hanging upside down by my side. It was at the end of Warped. Just a young couple, they look at about 15? Sitting right next to each other kissing once in awhile.

This is Warped Tour, man being 15 was so awesome.
Poker game
So many homies
Every Time I Die bar
The guys behind the bar

It was Lionel’s birthday.

Jaime Preciado and Tony Perry of Pierce The Veil
Long party night, this is what our bus looked like at bus call
Bus call
Bus band promo at 2:00am

Day 14 – July 11th – Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio

Show Day with Of Mice & Men – I took 1134 photographs today

The walk to the production/press area today was long and winding. We had to go in the front entrance of the venue, walk over a bridge, around the lawn/ seating hill and behind the amphitheater. It was the first time Warped Tour was put on at this venue- so everyone had some figuring out to do.

I tried to shoot inside the amphitheater but for the most part the ambient yellow lighting just killed everything. I did get a keeper of Breathe Carolina though.

Evan McGrew, a fellow photographer and protoss player came out to hang. I originally met Evan at Photoshop World in DC earlier this year, it was good to hang out with him again. This was an incredibly stoney day, I think I overdid it and honestly I can’t remember much. I mostly just cruised around in my zone and took pics. Evan didn’t have anything for dinner so him and I shared my catering.

I brought my C-stand to main stage with me from the bus. MAN it was a long walk.  It wasn’t light! 100% metal and then some. After leaving the stand there I walked out of the venue and over to another stage. I found this guy chillin’ out front of the Monster stage. I can’t remember his name! It’s killing me. Once he reads this I am sure he would tell me. Anyway, a young photographer sat down and talked with him and his friend for 7 minutes or so. Cool guy.

I can’t remember your name, but you were a cool ass photographer guy

I shot the show from the stage with the C-stand. My goal this time was to get a good shot of Tino on the drums.

Please note LP and Lionel looking right into my camera.

This is the shot I ended up liking. It’s hard to get different angles with drummers cause… well they stay in one place for the most part. I mean their torso moves and they might stand up once in awhile but other than that they stay in their spot.

Austin asked the crowd to carry him from the stage, all the way to the exit of the venue. It happened, it was awesome. I have photos, video, and my audio somehow broke. So enjoy this moment of silent epic body-passing. Video starts at 1 hour 6 minutes 10 seconds

Austin Carlile of Of Mice & Men
Austin Carlile of Of Mice & Men
Austin Carlile of Of Mice & Men
Austin Carlile of Of Mice & Men

I walked back to the bus area and tried to grab as many images as I could as the sun was setting.

Kyle Even and David Schmitt of Breathe Carolina

I was in the middle of taking pictures of Lionel with three bottles of alcohol when I saw Austin’s legs disappear into the light above. Damn! It looked awesome, so I followed. You got up there by climbing up the bunks the lined each side of the bus. Bus climbing in action at 1 hour 7 minutes 4 seconds Once I got up top I walked over the edge where he was sitting. Check out the video to get a closer look.

Austin Carlile of Of Mice & Men
Austin going back down into bus
View from standing on top of bus

This was Machine Gun Kelly’s first day on the tour, so all the bands on the tour wanted to watch him, me included. So all the bands / artists/ crew on the tour wanted to watch his set from right outside the venue. I stood in the same place and set up my C-stand, no concert attendies could get out there so it made standing with my set up a tad bit early. MGK went on about 40 minutes late I think, it was a good set, worth the wait.

I took a ton of photos with my C-stand staff, cause I was blind-shooting. I ended up liking this one the best.

Machine Gun Kelly crowd

About halfway into the set I saw my friend Ian sitting on top of a semi-truck. I closed my C-stand down, put it over my should and walked to the semi. This thing was so high up. I climbed on the door, Ian reached down with his monstrous arm and hoisted me up. I shot the rest of MGK shots from up above.

Feet dangling off the edge of semi truck

It was worth it to go up there. It was like shooting with my C-stand, but a tiny bit higher, and I could see what I was shooting AND use my telephoto lens. Not to mention when I wasn’t shooting I could just chill on the roof of a semi and watch MGK play. He’s a solid rapper and to see his home town show was pretty rad. The sun had set by the time he played so the weather was nice and cool. It didn’t feel like Warped, more so like an night of opera in the park with your family only MGK is all “thatthelittlemotherfuckerfromthelandwouldacameupandmadethemstacks” , no really that is what he is saying at around 1 hour 9 minutes 5 seconds

Machine Gun Kelly crowd with telephoto lens
Machine Gun Kelly crowd with wide angle lens

Climbing down from the semi was even more sketchy than getting up. Ian went down first, and then we all climbed down. The last part involved stepping on Ian’s shoulders because it was too far to really jump.

Getting down from semi truck was sketch

There were lots of hangs that night. I cruised around and hung out with everyone. The tents made amazing reflectors for my flash in most of my shots so I tried to find people kickin’ it underneath the tents. I also dialed in some ambient light to keept the colors of the lights surrounding them. You can see the red in this image below.

Austin Carlile of Of Mice & Men, David Schmitt of Breathe Carolina, Jeffree Star, Jac Vanek, and Nicole

Eventually we all made it back to the bus. I was in my bunk downloading images and this was the view from my bunk.

Turned over in my bunk, took this pick before going to bed.

Day 15 – July 12th – Burgettstown, Pennsylvania

Show Day with Of Mice & Men – I took 1489 photographs today

I got off the bus right after starting downloading my images. The floor was gravel, and I was only half wearing my finger shoes. It hurt my feet! I walked back to the trailer, took a left and ran into some proper English speaking guys. I asked them where the bathroom was and if they had a lighter. They let me borrow a lighter and then pointed me in the direction of the porta potty. I was thinking “who the hell else on this tour has an accent” – I knew the few foreign bands already. Somewhere between the light and the porta it came to me,  The Lostprophets hopped on the tour today! So sick, I was such a big fan when I was a kid it would be nice to finally see them live.

Spider, guitar tech for Yellowcard

I usually shot their chants from underneath them, but this time I prepared with my camera on the end of a monopod and took pictures from above them. I had to tippy toe it to get just the right angle but I really like how this came out. I have gotten pretty good at blind-shooting.

This is what the kids do these days
Of Mice & Men crowd
Aaron Pauley of Of Mice & Men

I shot Sleeping With Sirens from the photo pit and then moved to the side of the stage.

Kellin Quinn of Sleeping With Sirens
Kellin Quinn of Sleeping With Sirens and Matty Mullins of Memphis May Fire

Halfway through the set Kellin said something along the lines of get body passed up here and come touch my hand. Holy crap the looks on these girls’ faces were amazing. So much happy spurting out.

Headed over the the amphitheater stage and caught All Time Low and Breathe Carolina’s sets.

Stage manager was being nice that day, and I missed a shot of Alex because I was set to manual focus. You can see the shot I wanted at 1 hour 10 minutes 23 seconds. I also missed the group shot of all the guys freaking out cause I was zoomed in at the end. The many downsides of shooting with camera on a staff.

David Schmitt of Breathe Carolina

I shot MGK that day as well, got there earlier so I could prepare for his stage, again missing so many images as it’s hard to focus with camera on staff.


Day 16 – July 13th – Holmdel, New Jersey

Show Day with Of Mice & Men – I took 1136 photographs today

Alex Gaskarth of All Time Low, Ian Grushka of New Found Glory and Jack of All Time Low
Sleeping with Sirens on main stage
Sleeping With Sirens main stage crowd

I had the worst headache so I took a nap for the majority of the day, I could barely think.

Austin Carlile of Of Mice & Men, Jim Riley of The Ghost Inside, and Phil Manansala of Of Mice & Men

Austin grabbed my camera for a little bit and went around photographing people with it. He got a totally different reaction from people with my camera than I did. Partly because people knew he was joking around, and partly because he is Austin.

Matt Barre, the man.
This girl was chill, she is an aspiring photographer I met that day, she was really nice.
Kevin doing sound for Pierce The Veil

Later that night I hung out on the roof with a friend. I kept taking pictures of people walking by with my flash, and multiple pictures of clearly out of place people just to confuse them.

Typical bus party

See the above photographs being taken at 1 hour 12 minutes 46 seconds. That night we were leaving for Canada, so we cleaned out the bus very well, and partied really hard.

Day 17 – July 14th – Montreal, Quebec

Show Day with Of Mice & Men – I took 1971 photographs today

When I woke up we were still at the border. We had been there for four hours or so I heard. We had to stop at an airport, gas station, and one other place before we crossed so this caused us to get there late… and get stuck. There were donuts in the front lounge so I ate a bunch of those. Once we got to the border everyone had to get off the bus. The guy at the border had a son going to the festival that day and he loved Of Mice & Men. He took a photograph of Of Mice & Men for his son and had them sign something.

We eventually got to the venue and parked. The walk to the venue was about 20 minutes if you couldn’t find a golf cart, so once I left for the venue I planned on staying there for the whole day. Two years ago I got some of my favorite shots ever here. There is this bridge by the buses that almost no one knows about, but it’s awesome. I took some portraits of Oli here two years ago. I went to check if it was still accessible. It was! Awesome, you can see our buses on the right in the second image.

We caught a golf cart ride to the venue and went straight to the stage. The guys were on at 1:00, so not much time to kill.

Alan Ashby of Of Mice & Men

I tried to shoot a bunch of GoPro videos that day but I accidentally left it running at the wrong times and then leaving it my lens pack. I just had so much on my mind, it was hot, and the last thing I could remember was to take my GoPro out and put it on my camera.

Tonight Alive
Whakaio Taahi of Tonight Alive
T-Mills and Mod Sun, multitasking
Mod Sun taking in the sun
Klu, drummer for T-Mills

I wasn’t allowed to shoot from stage for Machine Gun Kelly, I shot from pit and did the best I could. Such a fun show.

Machine Gun Kelly
Machine Gun Kelly
Machine Gun Kelly
Machine Gun Kelly taking care of his fans

There would be fireworks that night, I guess we always come around the time when there is fireworks, cause it happened two years ago as well. (This is Jessie who proofreads Adam’s blogs and I found out why there were fireworks!) I gathered a few friends and they gathered a few friends and before you knew it we had a shit ton of people headed to the bridge. A few people saw us going over there as well so they followed. I was so pumped to take photos, I just couldn’t really go wrong, bridge, tons of people hanging , frieworks. The hard part was not overdoing it. I mean, I want to capture the event, however it involved disrupting people and turning them around- so I have to be careful to not ruin it for them. A balance learned through experience.

Tony Perry of Pierce The Veil, Tino Arteaga, Austin Carlile and Aaron Pauley of Of Mice & Men, LP of Yellowcard, Mike Fuentes of Pierce The Veil, Elliott Gruenberg of blessthefall, Casey Ervin, Eric Lambert of blessthefall, and Kevin
Everyone hanging out on the bridge
LP of Yellowcard and Tino Arteaga of Of Mice & Men
Alan Ashby of Of Mice & Men writing music in back lounge

That night Matt Barre and I went over and smoked with Machine Gun Kelly’s crew, we didn’t really know them very well, actually I didn’t know them very well at all, but Matt had smoked with them a few days earlier. We went over to their bus and MGK was outside with his headphones on writing a song. Later we saw him just walking around the BBQ with his headphones on, still writing. Devoted guy.

Jeffree Star and Jayy Von Monroe of Blood On The Dance Floor
Justin and Mark

Day 18 – July 15th – Toronto, Ontario

Show Day with Of Mice & Men – I took 2512 photographs today

Another long walk to the shower/production area, super long. The venue was in an abandoned water park area. It was pretty badass. I made my way to the showers and got cleaned off. Geoff of Thursday was in there hanging out waiting for the showers too. He wouldn’t remember me but I photographed him and his band a few years ago, still it was rad to see him again. We talked a bit but I never really brought it up. Partly cause I would feel weird and I didn’t know if he hated shootin’ with me or not.

I went back to the bus and edited a bunch of photos, got the e-mails ready and then headed back to the production area to send them off at press. They usually have wifi there you can borrow, and in Canada no one has web. I know I havn’t discussed it very much, but by this point in the tour I had a tiny bit of a schedule- every morning I would wake up, edit images, make the e-mails and let them send throughout the day. We usually had web problems so I just let it sit all day. In addition I was uploading images to my Dropbox for Of Mice & Men to use everyday. I love using Dropbox for turning files in on the road. If I had a video to upload I would just leave it in my Dropbox folder and my assistant would eventually get it and upload it from home. This way there are no interruptions due to shit web. Because I was editing in the morning, this meant I would have to download the images the night before. On numerous occasions I would fall asleep with my head on my laptop and wake up to the finished job. I was just so exhausted on Warped that I couldn’t stay up for long in my bunk.

While I was headed to the press area I had to pass some security that was guarding the entrance to the area. I had so much in my hands that I sorta just did a twist to show him my ass with my laminate dangling from it. He grabbed my arm and ordered me to stand there. Pet peeve, don’t touch me. Not sure why security guards think it’s more effective, but if you speak to someone they will (most of the time) respect you and listen. I told him to not touch me and ripped away from him. He grabbed my wrist… fuck off man. Keep in mind these security guards are people that the tour hires to help keep people out, I am by no means anyone important, but if he did this to someone in production I can see it not going down very well for him. He said he needed to see my credentials and I told him that is all he had to say. At this point he was angry so he grabbed my credential with a firm grip and said a reluctant thank you. Then as I walked away he grabbed my laminate again and he held on. So if you can picture this there is a grown man grabbing something that is dangling from my ass and not letting go. I can asure you this is the first time this has ever happened to me in my whole life. He told me he wanted to get my name so he could report me. Adam El…. he couldn’t say it. Let alone remember it. Who is he going to report me to? I didn’t understand. I think he just felt like he didn’t have his security guard power and had to show me he was still in control, so this was his way of showing me that. His way of pounding his chest. Do everything you wanna do man, just stop grabbing me while I am trying to go to work.

The whole time this was happening there were about 20 photographers stuck at the entrance waiting there for an escort. I guess he got confused with how the press passes worked and thought they all needed escorts to go to the press area. This isn’t how it usually works as the press area is a place most photographers go in and out of all day.

After I got inside, Bethany, the lady in charge of press, had me go outside on five different occasions to escort people in. It was pretty funny cause it was the same security guy there and I had to go up to him each time and said they are all good to go. I didn’t care but I think he took it personally that he had to listen to me. Whatever man, it’s security, at a fun festival, cheer up.

All in all I wouldn’t get this mad if this hadn’t happened before on multiple occasions at other venues. It happens to everyone, security gets a tad power trippy and too strict. Then again, he probably has to deal with it all the time too so I guess we are both at fault in some way.

I got word that it was going to rain later that day so I got to shootin’ as much as I could. Lighting gets cool before it rains, and after.

Ace Ventura and Jack Barakat of All Time Low
Jack Barakat and Alex Gaskarth of All Time Low, easily one of my most favorite lit candids ever
Jack Barakat of All Time Low

I tried to get some jump shots of Jack that day, it took a few tries but I eventually got it. Jump shots are tricky, and they look cool-ish no matter when you get it. Cause its’ a dude jumping! It “doesn’t happen very often”. I sorta agree with this, but I think people let not-so-great images into their portfolio too often when someone is jumping. Just because someone is jumping doesn’t mean you should excuse the other aspects of your image. You gotta have the whole package, a nice frame, solid DOF and a good background. All those things should still come into play. These first two images are shit, I shutter click and blatant miss. However for my third short I got in position and waited for him to jump in the area I wanted. Perfect, everything looked spot on. You can see the stage, you can see the bras, the crowd is in back, and the ground he jumped off is there for a point of reference.

Jack Barakat of All Time Low

We all know what said artist looks like on stage, get over it. When shooting a show I wanna see the stuff I only get to see for a split second, or something that shows me something I might have missed during the show. Not this is what this person looks like on stage. It helps me if I focus my shooting on one person at a time. Uusally during a set I make it out with 10 okayish images, 300 or so not very solid images, and two images that are spot on. Those two images are the ones I go with. I don’t even know why I take the other 300 images, I guess it’s just me trying to capture something awesome. I get into shoot zone and just start snapping away.

Rian Dawson of All Time Low

The storm was coming in so I went to edge of the venue with Of Mice & Men and took some images with downtown Toronto in the background.

Of Mice & Men in Toronto


We headed to the signing and right as we finished up it started pouring. The guys went back to the bus, I stayed and hung out with Matt from Atticus. This was the perfect opportunity for some great images! Anytime there is something that sways your day from the norm, it’s usually a good idea to photograph it.

The rain sucked for attendees and it got so bad they had to shut down the venue and everyone had to either go to their car or take cover in the amphitheater.

We couldn’t really leave as it was raining too much, so we chilled in the tent and smoked a joint, relaxed and enjoyed the rain. I guess the Tonight Alive guys wanted to get naked, so they did, grabbed some photos.

And again
Eric of blessthefall
Main Stage crew taking cover and protecting their gear
Blood On The Dance Floor crowd… I am kidding.

I had the opportunity of shooting next to this guy wearing a mask during Anti-Flag’s set. I had no idea what to make of it haha. He was rockin’ out though, more power to him. Remember remember The 5th of November.

Phil Manansala of Of Mice & Men

I met up with Jessie Lau that day. She took this awesome image of me getting people’s way. Sorry everyone, I tried my best to stay in back. Jessie is the girl behind correcting all these blogs and I always owe her a big thank you. It takes me weeks to write them… correcting them would not be fun. But she kills it, every time. That being said if you do find any mistakes, make sure you tweet her and let her know she messed up. Don’t really, I am kidding. Love the Internet though, enables people from all over to be friends, man the photography community would be so different without the web.

Jessie Lau took this… “ruining photos since 2010”

After the guys were done with their set we set off for an adventure to get their favorite meal. Sushi! Excuse my immaturity but the first four letters of our cab driver’s name spelled out Poop. I have never seen this before so I had to take a picture of it.

Cab 1 of 2 to the sushi place
Too good to be true

Once we got to the sushi place they sat us, took our orders, and it probably took about 90 minutes for us to get our food. Because of this wait, everyone got shitfaced. Tons of sake and beer, I had a shot, that was good enough for me!

Hanging with our waiter

When we the left the sushi place to grab a cab, for some reason Alan just ran off. He was pretty drunk but he just jetted out the front door and ran a few blocks to try and find a cab. We eventually found one before him and he ran back. It was night when we got back and everyone had started partying. There was a huge dance party in the amphitheater. I went around with Austin for a bit and grabbed some hard style photos of him with everyone we could find. The rest of my night consisted of dance parties and bus hangs. Photographic proof!

Day 19 – July 16th – Buffalo, New York

Off Day with Of Mice & Men – I took a few photos today

Today we had an off day. We were parked outside of our hotel so I took a shower and relaxed for a bit. There were about ten other buses parked in the area.
We went to mall for family dinner at The Cheesecake Factory.

I got two salads and a roasted artichoke. I used to have artichokes all the time when I was a kid, my parents made them for dinner. Not sure how it qualified as a meal but it was so good.

The guys always seemed to get tracked by fans. Here is Austin taking some pictures with fans right outside of The Cheesecake Factory.

Austin spent the majority of his off day going through all of his gifts/the band’s gifts they received from fans. He kept everything the fans gave him. Basically he would sort through each one, ready everything, then place ’em in a designated box. I think he put the ones with contact info on them in a separate box and contacted the people later to say thanks. After he puts them in boxes he puts them in the trailer and once they get back home he puts them in storage with the rest of the gifts.

Austin Carlile of Of Mice & Men sorting through his gifts from fans
Austin Carlile of Of Mice & Men sorting through his gifts from fans

That night we met up with some of the guys from Breathe Carolina and went and saw the movie Ted. I had already seen it once but I loved it and couldn’t wait to see it again. We kept losing Austin on the way to the movie cause fans kept stopping him. However we all eventually got there and it was a good time.

continue to part 4