Music Photography Blog

by Adam Elmakias

Warped Tour 2012 stories – Days 25 -> 29

Day 25 – July 22nd – Hartford, Connecticut

Show Day with Of Mice & Men – I took 737 photographs today

Zack Marshall doing sound for Tonight Alive
Ian Grushka of New Found Glory

I guess the top of this stage was lost sometime during the drive the night before, I was stoked, got a cool shot with a sky behind it.

Kellin Quinn of Sleeping With Sirens
Me shooting Of Mice & Men’s set. Photo by Josiah Van Dien

I shot Yellowcard that day and specifically set up for the backflip shot… I set up for this shot for a good five minutes. I was crunched in a small area on stage- drum set to my left, guitar rack to my right and amps in front of me. I kept bending up and down trying to get the perfect amount of crowd and sky, trying to sort out the exposure, and trying to see where he would jump. Framed up as well as I could for something he wouldn’t do until he actually did it. I got a few other shots while I was waiting as well.

Sean Mackin of Yellowcard
Ryan Key of Yellowcard
Parking lot workout

Day 26 – July 23rd – Hartford, Connecticut
Day Off with Of Mice & Men

I woke up at a Wal-Mart. I was SO excited for this off day cause we were going to some awesome waterpark thing. But it was raining, all day, so we didn’t go. I ate at Wal-Mart once. Then went back to the bus, smoked, and ate at Wal-Mart twice more. I also filled up on some toothpaste and other things I was a little low on. After the band was done doing their shopping we headed out to our off day alternative activity. The mall!

After parking at the mall it only took about an hour or so for fans to start showing up and lurking around the bus. They were hiding in bushes, sitting in their cars, and just watching from a distance. I can’t ever really get mad at them, because our bus has the whole band’s picture and name wrapped around it haha. We were parked next to a hotel we had two room at- for showering and stuff. I snagged a room key and went and hung out in the hot tub for 30 minutes or so. Put my iPhone by the side and blasted some Drake, it was very relaxing.

After that I went to the bus and cruised over to the mall with Tino. While we were walking around a security guard tracked us down. She offered to give us a ride to and from the bus, gave us her phone number, and also said if any of the fans were bothering us that they could have them moved. They were super nice but I imagine it was also because we were in a small town and these security guards don’t get much action outside of their occasional shoplift and lost baby in JC Penny.

Tino and I walked back to the bus. On the way out we got some sunglasses from Dick’s. I had started wearing glasses for the first time in my life on this tour, however they were just the free ones I got from vendors on the road- I had to get some solid ones. I earned the nickname “The Chronicles Of Ridiculousness” and figured I needed to live up to it. I got some real skinny sunglasses that fit tight on my head cause my head is narrow. They looked badass. My other nickname I was given on this tour was ”ae alien” – I like that one better.

After hanging at the bus for a little we decided it was time to go to a movie. Some of us had eaten edibles, a few others were on acid- collectively none of us could figure out how to get to the movie theater. We called the mall security and had them give us a lift to the mall. We ran through the mall pretty fast to avoid the fans and eventually ended up on the other end. We only had about 1 mins to get to the movie theater and were a mile away. We left the mall and started running. We ended up in front of a construction store or something. We had gone the wrong way.

We all wanted to see The Dark Night Rises and couldn’t afford to miss it. So determined! 5 minutes until movie starts, maybe less. The rest of the guys were already there, we had to meet up with them. We had a group meeting and decided that we had to ask someone for directions…. and cross our fingers that they might feel bad for us and just take us there. We stopped this plumber guy with one of those rape lookin’ vans. He told us we were way off course and it was a short drive but a long walk. We all made the most pathetic moans of disappointment and bowed our heads in defeat. I didn’t say it but I thought… that dude seemed chill, I wish he would take us, maybe he will turn around and swoop us.

We started walking back to the bus slowly, when about 5 minutes later homie with the rape van pulled up next to us, screeching to a stop and window down he yelled for us to hop in. You remember all those things your parents told you about getting into a van with a stranger? They don’t matter when you are trying to see mothafuckin’ Batman. We piled in his seatless back of the van and held on tight. Dude got us to the theater in aboout 5 mins, a life saved. I took his business card but I lost it… if anyone knows a plumber from the area that picked up some routy tattooed folk on a random summer day- let him know to e-mail me. We ended up getting to the theater just in time.

We sat down with the rest of the group. I think there were 10 of us in total. Two of the guys didn’t make it through the movie due to the fact they weren’t in their right mind.


After the movie we mobbed a group to the closest Buffalo Wild Wings.

Homies hanging on off day
Mobbing to B-Dubs
Mob at table in B-Dubs

Our waitress was cool and came and hung out with us at the bus for about 10 minutes before we left. She was so hot, and barefoot. What the fuck. That’s like the ultimate combo. Ay girl, you beautiful ‘n you got tens toes- a keeper, let’s hang. I wish everyone reading my blog new me in real life, or could hear me reading this to you. I just joshin around.

Day 27 – July 24th – Columbia, Maryland

Show Day with Of Mice & Men – I took 2504 photographs today

I wanted to get a good group shot of the guys before leaving tour, and with my last day being the next day I didn’t want to wait until it was the very last minute. I loved my 70-200mm f/2.8 and decided to make it happen with that lens. The guys stood at the very back of the trailer before their set and I stood at the entrance. I zoomed in as far as I could to give them some depth of field that would separate them from the background. I took about 8 images, however this one is my favorite.

I shot their whole set and made it away with one keeper. Towards the end of their set I went over to the 7/11 cart right next to the stage and asked them for some Slurpees for the guys. They said sure and I took them back and gave it to the band as they got off stage.

New Found Glory

I photographed New Found Glory a little bit, but didn’t really know them very well so I kept it minimal. Headed over to Tonight Alive’s stage to shoot their set. I didn’t get any solid live images but got this shot of one of their girlfriends helping them sell CDs after the set. I also lost my laminate… again, right then, somewhere.

Tonight Alive selling CD’s after set

And that was when I lost my laminate. Damnit. That is the third time. Losing a laminate is something you really only do once… maybe twice at the most. But sure enough I did it three times. I have no idea where it went or who the hell has it, but someone does. I went to production to get a new one and the lady I talked to first said no. She gave me a hard time and punished me but not making it easy for getting a new one. “Didn’t you already lose two? No way am I giving you another.” Made me feel like I was a child. I need to learn how to hold myself differently or get really big muscles and a beard, maybe a massive bulge in my penis area so I look more manly.  Anyway, she treated me like the kid I sorta look like, and it made me feel like crap. I ended up going to a different lady in production and she hooked it up. She explained to me that when they get laminates they have to prints XXX of them at once, so it was getting to end of tour and they didn’t want to have to do another run. I get where they are coming from, I messed up. But I feel like there could be a better way to handle it. Oh well, I am not in production so I don’t know what they have to deal with on a daily basis. I imagine asking for a new laminate from them gets kind of old.

Rob Dyer

I had a shoot with Tonight Alive that started only a few minutes after All Time Low finished playing. I set up all my gear at the location. My octabox speedring ended up coming out of its spot and broke… so I had to run and get some gaffer tape to put it back together. It was so sketch, half the thing was drooping off.  It took me a good hour or so to move my gear and set it all up. After I was all ready to go I headed to All Time Low’s stage to shoot. By the time I got to their stage I was sweating up a storm, it was a super humid day. Holy crap hometown crowd singing along to their lyrics at 1 hour 33 minutes 50s

Alex Gaskarth of All Time Low
All Time Low
All Time Low

I ran back to Tonight Alive’s bus and got them ready for the shoot. We walked to the location and the shoot went alright but man it’s hard to photograph women. Don’t get me wrong she is good looking, it’s just you have to pose them differently than guys and it’s a lot more difficult- and nerve-wrecking. I wasn’t too happy with how the images came out and I don’t imagine they will ever be used. But, there will be a next time and hopefully we will make it happen then.

I packed my gear, dragged it for 10 minutes and back to the bus. I totally forgot I was shooting group images of Of Mice & Men crew and band. Luckily I got right back to our bus on time.

This is everyone who rode on our bus all summer.

After all was said and done I was exhausted, full of sweat and my arm muscles hurt from dragging my gear. FOOD TIME.

There was a Chipotle about a mile from the venue. I asked around if anyone wanted to go and luckily Tissue was down. I was surprised there was something so close to the venue. I had been to this venue twice before but never left the grounds- and I always thought we were in the middle of a giant field in the wilderness. Nope! We were a mile from tons of civilization and food and shops. Once we got to the mall it became clear to me that this is where everyone was… that went to Warped Tour. The mall was packed and their was a 30 person line at Chipotle. I stood in line while Tissue went to a store and bought an iPhone controlled helicopter. Crazy guy.

I waited in line for about 30 minutes and by the time I got to the front they said “WE RAN OUT OF FOOD”. Motherrrfuckerrrr. I just wanted to eat. I stood in line regardless and had a burrito that was more beans than anything else- but it was still bomb.

We walked back and I met up with Cara Bahniuk and two of her friends. Cara is photographer from Chicago that I originally met at Photoshop World in DC. We all hung out on the bus for a bit and the Of Mice & Men dudes welcomed them with plenty of drinks. After Cara left I made my way to the other end of the venue for the mustache concert. Spaceman had the best mustache ever and nobody knew it, he wore his hat all night.

The video I have for this best explains it all. Watch contest at
1 hour 34 minutes 3 seconds

Late night haircut

After the contest we headed back to bus world. It was getting late but there were some cool lights around so I started snappin’ pics. I have known Elliott for years. We first toured together on one of my first tours- and his as well. He used to play in Before Their Eyes and that was where we met. It has been a few years and now he has been in blessthefall for a few years. He mentioned I didn’t take many photos of him on this tour- and he was right. So I corrected my wrong instantly. We shot over by this parking lot light. I swear I get the best light from those things.

Elliott Gruenberg of blessthefall
Austin Carlile of Of Mice & Men and Minh, Warped Medic.

I basically just walked around talking to people for short amounts of time, eventually sneaking some photos into our conversations and then moving on to other people.

Ronnie Radke and Ryan Seaman of Falling In Reverse, and security guy
Late night Magic The Gathering
Stephen Poole is creepy

I am allowed to say Stephen is creepy. I first met him on my first bus tour in 2009 with The Devil Wears Prada. I remember I woke up from sleepin’ in the back lounge, opened the door to the bunk area and tried to start walking forward. Next thing I know Steven grabs my leg from his bottom bunk, holds up a pocket knife to my cock and says “I am going to cut your dick off” while staring at me in the eyes. Then he went back inside his bunk. You can never tell if he is serious or not as he always as this creepy grin on his face. STEPHEN, you are mental.

Wyatt on the other hand is more of a chiller

Day 28 – July 25th – Virginia Beach, Virginia

Show Day with Of Mice & Men – I took 1875 photographs today

I went to go get my replacement laminate that morning. It felt good to have my credentials back. Of Mice & Men was on early again, I think they were first main stage act on the stage, but not first act. Sometimes they put other bands from other stages on the main stage early because they didn’t have enough bands on the stage. I shot them from the pit and after the first song every photographer was given the boot but me. It was so much easier to shoot when their was noone else in the pit. Still, I didn’t get any solid shoots. Shooting images from pit when sun is at my back, and directly on my subjects is difficult. Nothing usable. That day was hot and we played a lot of Super Smash Bros. Alan and Eeki kicked everyone’s ass. I did well a few times but only by dodging, not dominating. I had a few shoots that day. A quick one with Austin for a tattoo magazine, Jeffree Star for fun and Memphis May Fire for Rock Sound UK magazine.

My friend Josh Lopez came to hang out that day. He was awesome and has assisted me on multiple shoots in the past. I scouted for the locations for about an hour before deciding on a bamboo wall, wooden doors, Coca-Cola truck and nearby sand mound. Everything was super close and easy to access, meaning the band wouldn’t be angry with me for making them walk far. I wanted to go in the woods nearby but there were too many bugs so I scraped that.

I shot Jeffree during the day. I set up my softbox and did some light tests with people passing by. The lighting didn’t look so great with them, but once Jeffree hopped in everything looked on point.

Location one for Jeffree Star shoot
Jeffree Star
Location Two
Jeffree Star
Dahvie Vanity of Blood On The Dance Floor and Jeffree Star

I started the Memphis May Fire shoot that night, once the sun had set. I can’t post any pictures from this yet as they are not released. But I used a good amount of gels for these shots to help them not look like such normal locations. I had Tom’s Alien Bee and two speedlites, I love using speedlites for gelled kickers.

After I was done shooting I packed everything up and hung out with Josh for an hour or so. Early bus call, I think it was 10:00, so not very many late night escapades.

Day 29 – July 26th – Atlanta, Georgia

Show Day with Of Mice & Men – I took 3059 photographs today

This was the last day of Warped Tour for me, so I had to make the best of it. My image count was more than ever, I made so many photographs.

Travis Clark of We The Kings

Of Mice & Men crowd

I ran out in the middle of the stage to get this last shot. It is my least favorite thing to do because it’s very intrusive to the bands’ stage space, but it was towards the end of the set and I know the guys will like the shots in the end and appreciate my devotion rather than getting mad at me for being on stage for a few seconds.

Austin’s dad was there that day, he was amazing. He cooked food for everyone and it was the first time in a long time I ate a ton of meat. Our whole bus just smelled awesome that day, and not because of the usual- but because his dad made the following.

  • Jalepeno poppers filled with cream cheese topped with spicy raspberry sauce and bacon
  • Pulled pork sandwiches with awesome toppings I forget
  • Pineapple jalepeno wings

I hadn’t eaten meat for awhile for health and personal beliefs, and up till now I have been eating it occasionally but man it makes me feel like a selfish human. I still need to work on this, however life is hard enough as is, eating should be an easy unthought out everyday task. When you have to devote so much energy to it, it becomes exhausting and unenjoyable and I find I eat less. Still not quite sure what to do here, I am working on it though.

The Carliles
New Found Glory

I ran into the drummer of New Found Glory a few days before this. I forget where and when, but it happened. He told me that he had seen me shooting their set one day and got excited cause he had seen me shooting everyone else’s set- but not theirs. He asked their tech who I was and he told him. I knew their tech, Zach, because he used to work for Bring Me The Horizon. Anyway, he asked me if I would come shoot their set one day. I told him of course, I hadn’t been shooting them very much because I didn’t know them well and didn’t want to intrude. He told me he didn’t care, shoot all I wan’t. What is this? New Found Glory wants me to photograph them? I am totally down.

That day I photographed them from the pit with my staff, apologies to all the photogs that gave me dirty looks for getting in their way. I had a hard time shooting their set. They are all over the place in the best way possible. Just crazy like a kid with ADHD on cocaine or one of the whack-a-mole games. Poppin’ up all over the place.

New Found Glory

I tried to get the best shots I could of the drummer. It was harder than I thought, I think this is just a solid image of him playing the drums and I like the simplicity of it.

New Found Glory

I was shooting these images with my staff, hanging back a few feet, stickin’ my stick in the air and shooting him from above when I got in trouble. Well, not really, but their other tech (who I didn’t know) came over to me and said their tour manager who was at the soundboard needed me off the stage. I was confused cause I got okayed so I asked the drum tech that okayed me and he said it was fine. He asked the drummer if he minded and the drummer gave me this rock on sign and you can see the tech giving me a thumbs up as well.

New Found Glory
New Found Glory
New Found Glory

After their set their tour manager tracked me down and sorta called me out for not listening. Hey, I don’t blame her, I totally understand where she is coming from. I guess she had people there from the label who were taking images and now my staff was in all their shots. I apologized and then 10 mins later she found me and apologized to me. She didn’t realize I was on the tour and said it was 100% okay I shot. This just goes to show it’s all about who you know.

And Jeffree Star knows Akon. He mentioned he wanted to get a pic with Akon, so sometime around dinner I waited in a tent outside for him to text me. Jack found me hanging and wanted to get in the pic too so we kicked it and waited for the text. Eventually the text came and we went inside to take the photo quick. It was cool to meet Akon, man he was such a dark black compared to Jack and Jeffree.

Jack Barakat, Akon, and Jeffree Star

I shot Taking Back Sunday from stage that day. I didn’t really know any of the guys or any the crew that well. I knew one of their guitar techs because he used to work for nevershoutnever. I asked him if I could shoot from stage and he said sure and introduced me to their tour manager on stage. He gave me a run down of where I could and couldn’t shoot. Basically stick to the sides and don’t run around a lot. I choose to just shoot from two spots and keep it safe and simple.

Adam Lazarra of Taking Back Sunday
Adam Lazarra of Taking Back Sunday
John Nolan of Taking Back Sunday

After the set was over everyone exited the stage and I saw Adam, the vocalist of Taking Back Sunday walking with his kid. 99% of the time I never try to take pictures of people that I do not know at all, especially if they are with their kid. It is very very intrusive. But they were walking into the sun, and I was going to wait for them to be very far away, and just take their silhouette, it would literally just be the outlines of them holding hands and walking. and walking- from over 100 feet away with the 70-200mm lens. Or maybe this is just more wrong, the fact I am trying to hide it? Who knows. Right when he passed me getting off stage a girl took a pic of them with her iPhone, he asked, “Did you just take a pic of us?” She said, “Yes, you want me to delete?” The fact she followed up with that means she knew what she was doing was wrong… I mean with an iPhone, that’s for personal use, and that is sorta creepy. He responded yes please. Because of this I decided not to take the pic. I wish I knew him better so I could have gotten the image, now I will just bash my head against a wall wish I woulda gotten it. But this happens, and I guess it just wasn’t meant to be. Who knows, I could have taken it and pissed him or his lady off and then they could have jumped me and broke my camera. That woulda sucked.

This dude rules.

This guy

I headed back to the bus area for sunset to grab some portraits of people.

Jason, merch guy for Breathe Carolina
Justin Trotta, guitar tech for Of Mice & Men

Kellin Quinn of Sleeping With Sirens

After taking some portraits I headed over the the amphitheater. LP from Yellowcard was holding a drum off and I wanted to see it and photograph it. I got there a bit early and shot around. It was dark out but I got some good shots anyway. This has to be one of my favorite portraits I have ever taken. He was sitting on the ground and I took it from above.

Klu, drummer for T-Mills
Jordan Eckes, Mike Ferri, and Cameron Hurley of We Are The In Crowd

While I was hanging in the to be drum off area, I heard All Time Low finishing their set inside the amphitheater. I sprinted and stepped in a big ass puddle on the way in, that sucked, but I made it to their set in time to grab a good photo of Alex.

Alex Gaskarth of All Time Low

The drum off has got to be one of the most insane things I have ever seen. Most musicians don’t show their true potential until you give them thier instrument and just let them do what they want. I imagine it’s similar to a photographer. Shooting assignments and for clients, you don’t always get your best work. But when you get your own assignment and own time you can do exactly what you want.

Anyway, I feel like if I tried to explain the whole competition it wouldn’t even come close to giving it jutice. It’s just one of those “you have to be there moments”. Wouldn’t it be cool if I had a video? I don’t… gah. I regret that.

LP starting drum off
Steve giving Tino some celebratory drinks
Accidentally tuned my flash up all the way, blinded everyone

Back to bus world for last night hangs! That night there was the worst punisher ever. A punisher is basically someone who talks to you and just punishes the whole time. It’s okay, I don’t get along with everyone and that is not what I am talking about. Picture it like this, you are at a waterpark with your family waiting to get on a ride, when all the sudden some drunk girl comes up and joins your group. Totally uninvited, unwanted, and is just ruining everyone’s day. Most people would figure it out after a cold shoulder or two… some people, can’t get it through their head. We call these people punishers.

Anyway, hanging on the bus with my friends and the worst punisher of the worst comes on. She is so bad that some of my friends leave, and even people on the bus leave. It sucks, I don’t know how these people get back stage and on the bus. I guess she used to be a street teamer and then tried to do more and no one had the balls to tell her to go away. That’s all I got for my rant, nothing too crazy, just had to put it out there. Bad form, girl who ruins my photos and remembers my name.

Man, I always leave stuff till the end. I think it’s good though, because on Warped I did a good job of living in the now. I didn’t even really tell anyone it was my last day until the night of, and then I was left scrambling to get images of me with some of my friends. I pulled these off in about an hour.

Phil, Britney, Me, Anthony, Tino, Sal
Jack, Me, Tay, Alex
Flip, Eric, Mariah, Lou, Colton, David, Me, Tissue, Tasty
Jack, Me, Alan
Danny and I

Day 30 – July 27th – Orlando, Florida > San Diego, California

Travel Date

The next morning I had arranged for Nick Dinatale to pick me up from the venue and take me to the airport. He is a good dude and just finished a trip all over the USA doing his awesome project to help animals -> check it out here. I wheeled all my stuff to the exit of the venue and waited there for him. I met a mother and a daughter who knew who I was and took pics with both of them/hung out for a little bit. They were really nice and even offered to take me to the airport if I needed.

My gear barely fit in the car. Actually, my gear fit fine. I barely fit in the car! haha, I sat on top of my SKB case and hunched over.

All my stuff crammed into Nick Dinatale’s car
Photo by Nick Dinatale , leaving for the airport

Last words? Well if there is anything I learned this summer is that I have always been where I wanted to be, I just never really noticed it. It’s good to always want more and try for better, but that doesn’t mean that where you are should mean any less. Have a good time, do what’s right because it’s right, not because you will be rewarded in the end. Let’s just chill, have a good time, and keep taking photos. No one likes a fuck-face.