Levi’s Stadium Concerts and Events

27_megw0795

Working for the 49ers has its perks. We also get to cover the dozens of nonsporting events Levi’s Stadium hosts. The stadium has played host to some great acts including: Taylor Swift, Grateful Dead, Kenny Chesney, One Direction and etc. Seeing the stadium transformed so quickly for concerts, and witnessing thousands of passionate fans fill seats for their favorite artists is always a blast. Along with concerts, the off season is filled with events like Wrestlemania, NHL Winter Classic, Supercross, COPA America, PAC12 Championship, and Monster Jam. We also get a completely different gameday experience from the occasional high school football game we cover at Levi’s through the 49ers Youth Football department. The look in the player’s eyes when they take the field for the first time is one of pure joy and excitement.  Shooting non-football events help me look at the stadium from other angles and allows me to create some different images images.

 

Grateful Dead Signange37_a4tl353947_a1tl563419_megw8284

Week Leading Up to Super Bowl 50

MEGW6492

The week leading up to the Super Bowl was non-stop. The Super Bowl 50 Host Committee’s goal was to make this years game the most philanthropic of all time. That meant hosting a lot of events to give back to the bay area. The 49ers community relations department is one of the best in the world. Just last year they won the Beyond Sport award for Sports Team of the Year, the top accolade given in their field. There were 72 events that the 49ers organization was a part of. Our photography team was in charge of covering 26 of them that week. I ended up shooting 10 events around the bay area leading up to the game.

Here’s a break down of what they were.

 

MEGW6378

Super Bowl Media Opening night. Held at the SAP center in San Jose was the medias first chance to question and photograph the two teams leading up to the game. I’d heard that this event is always a bit crazy and hectic in the media frenzy. But overall I think it was one of my favorite experiences from that week. I liked the challenge of trying to create unique images when there were literally a hundred other photographers right next to me trying to shoot the same thing.

MEGW6012

Kid Power Unicef at DeMarillac Academy. Torrey Smith and company hosted a pep-rally and taught students about Kid Power (a fitbit type watch that allows you to earn points while working out, the points then transfer into food credits to be used in under privileged communities overseas). The highlight for me was Torrey taking a selfie with Chewbacca and R2D2.

MEGW4622

Super Bowl City Kickoff morning. Torrey Smith and family helped celebrate the opening of SB City in front of the Ferry building in San Francisco. Michelle Obama spoke in a video about eating right and kids ran around and enjoyed themselves. SB City was always crowded but we were able to sneak in a few minutes to ride the zip line. Something I can finally check out my SF bucket list.

MEGW2603

George Seifert Luncheon at Santa Clara University. Speakers like Ronnie Lott, George Seifert, Mike Pereira and Brandi Chastain discussed lessons in leadership, ethics and life. It was humbling to hear some of the old stories and to be surrounded by so many successful sports legends.

 

MEGW7791

PCA Future of Football. Herm Edwards, David Shaw, Ted Robinson and Al Guido discussed the direction of football. Herm defiantly dominated conversation.

MEGW8698

49ers party. The 49ers hosted a party to celebrate the upcoming game. The venue was at the beautiful City View Metreon and One Republic played. Overall a fun night.

MEGW9191

Family Football Clinic. Hosted at the Moscone Center’s temporally installed artificial turf field NFL players lead families in games to further increase bonds. Torrey Smith is wonderful, simple as that.

MEGW0519

Make-A-Wish at NFL Experience. Make-A-Wish kids got a private tour of the NFLx and had some one on one time with current and alumni NFL players. These kids are just the most fun loving deserving people around. They got to run around and hang out while not thinking about their conditions for a day.

MEGW1095

Marcus Martin at City Hall. SF Mayor Ed Lee celebrated the city’s high school and college football accomplishments. A short ceremony was held that was nice but what was a definite highpoint for me was spending time in the mayors office. Marcus and the mayor sat down and chatted for a while then he showed the 49er his “man cave”. It was filled with sports memorabilia from all the bay area’s teams. My favorite was a personalized poster that said “the Lee-Peat” paying homage to the Giants three World Series wins while he has been in office.

MEGW0035

Rebuilding Together Build. 100’s of volunteers help repair six homes in Bayview. I really treasured this project. What I was most drawn to most was the 49ers alumni’s connection to the neighborhood. A few of the guys grew up a few blocks away and one currently teaches at the local community center. Everyone was so friendly and loving and I came away with a serious case of the feels.

 

Below are a few more of my favorite photos. Click on the thumbnails to make larger.

Super Bowl 50

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Standing at the top of the Super Bowl 50 logo at my first Super Bowl happy as a clam

 

I was lucky enough to have worked my first Super Bowl this year. Also it was a pretty big one being Super Bowl 50 and all. Hopefully I can start my own streak and work the next 50-100 like the three legendary photographers Walter Iooss, John Biever and Mickey Palmer who have worked 1-50. If you are interested in their story Keepers of the Streak is an ESPN film about the four photographers who had covered 48 Super Bowls. Tony Tomsic missed his 49th last year when he feel ill to a stroke or else he would be in the 50 crew as well.

The challenge that day was I didn’t have a sideline credential. I wasn’t too disappointed because I was just grateful to be there in the first place. All the events that I’ve shot in Levi’s stadium over this past year prepared me pretty well for that Sunday. Typically at concerts and the other events like the Winter Classic and Wrestelmania I would roam in the stands and look for wide stadium shots and fan interactions. So I knew my angles and how the light would fall across the stadium through out the day. With that in mind the 49ers crew divided up the stadium into quarters so that everything would be equally covered. I snagged a prime location in the endzone next to the video booth on the 400 level and went to town shooting with my CPS borrowed 200-400. After half time I moved down to the main concourse to get a little different angle.

I had a couple of good plays happen in front of me (the forced fumbled that turned into the first touchdown to name one). It comes down to a little bit of luck when you are up that high because my range wasn’t as long. Throughout the game I kept pinching myself thinking how surreal it was that I was working my first Super Bowl at 24 years old. I’m still pinching myself.

Click on the thumbnails below to see full screen images.

To see more images from the game check out my website www.megwilliams.co

 

Gold Rush Tryout Cinemagraphs

MVI_7417

The first round of the Gold Rush (49ers cheerleaders) held last weekend was filled with a couple hundred women dancing, trying to make their dreams true. Here’s a look at a couple of cinemagraphs I created that day. I love the process of bridging the gap between photos and videos and look forward to creating more.

MVI_7428b MVI_7437 MVI_7497 MVI_9462  MVI_7708MVI_9423

Check out the full article that was posted on the 49ers site

http://www.49ers.com/news/article-2/Cinemagraph-Photography-Captures-Gold-Rush-Auditions/c4830540-8dd9-423b-9d32-cc02a7956952

2014 In Review

2014InReview34 2014InReview7

2014 has been a pretty stellar year. I divided my time almost equally between San Francisco, Portland and Kansas City. Three very different locations and but also oddly similar in more ways than I expected.

2014InReview10 2014InReview14 2014InReview6 04451040ae3c11e39f300e3607e3630b_8

This year brought a lot of new and exciting photography opportunities. This March marked my first time at spring training, watching or shooting. I had a great week full of baseball, sun and burritos. When I was back in the Portland for the summer I was fortunate enough to intern for Craig Mitchelldyer and get to shoot the Portland Timbers (MLS), Portland Thorns (NWSL) and the Hillsboro Hops (MiLB) as well as lend a hand on miscellaneous other shoots. I have affectionately been referring to this time period as the summer of soccer, which lead into the fall of football.

2014InReview25 2014InReview232014InReview21 2014InReview132014InReview8 2014InReview1810831866_1591753277706002_1364785870_n 10844181_388538204639478_599499796_n

In august I moved to Kansas City and began work for the Chiefs without knowing much more about the city then its reputation for amazing BBQ. Working for the Chiefs has been an amazing opportunity to grow as a photographer and photo editor as well as see first hand how an NFL team works on a daily basis. My boss and team photographer Steve has been wonderful in teaching me the ropes as well as photo archivist and ninja turtle lover Zach. All my fellow interns are excellent as well, coming from all over the US and one coming as far as South Africa. As a group, we have become pretty close. I jokingly say that my life since being out here has been football, barbeque and beer (but there is a lot more truth to that then I care to admit).

2014InReview27 2014InReview202014InReview28 2014InReview19

While in Kansas City I was able to work for MLB as a photo editor during the World Series. What sweetened the deal was that the Royals played the Giants, both cities I am quite fond of. My favorite part about the Series, besides all the behinds the scenes things you don’t see on tv, was meeting all the great photographers who covered the event including fellow Sports Illustrated intern alum Amy Stroth.

10723690_648585355251117_1330593869_n 2014InReview262014InReview33 2014InReview22

Also during this time I attended the Eddie Adams Workshop. This sleep deprived weekend full of shooting, inspiring lectures, 2 am portfolio reviews, meeting some of my photography heroes and some new photography friends was a whirlwind adventure. It has been a couple of months now and I am still trying to process it all. I came away inspired, rejuvenated and at the same time in desperate need of sleep.

2014InReview29 10358394_390660327738941_581906531_n927097_1492856417616025_2020376766_n 10401745_1460102184234591_1268270042_n

Overall this year has been my favorite photographically in the images I shot, events I covered, photographers I met and the information I gleaned.

2014InReview2 f614d546aaf811e3942f0e12bda11337_8

Outside of photography my life has had a couple of changes as well. My volleyball career ended a bit earlier then I had originally planned. I had one more season left of eligibility but decided to give it up in order to take the internship with the Chiefs. It was a tough decision but my teammates, coaches and the entire AAU athletic department were incredibly supportive. I am grateful to all of them for the amazing four years that I had and am proud as ever to be an urban knight.

2014InReview11 2014InReview162014InReview5 2014InReview32

This year brought a heap of new friends as well as a ton of laughs and new memories. It also took a couple away from me. My good friend Amy moved to New York to pursue a job and I couldn’t be more proud of her. My beautiful friend Janie got married and moved to Chicago (how weird is it now to say I have a best friend who’s married?). I moved leaving some amazing friends behind (Kanoe, Janelle, Devin, my teammates and too many others to name them all). I also lost two loved ones this year one being my Bompa (my wonderful Grandfather) at the ripe old age of 89 as well as my fluffy companion Scout (faithful family dog).

2014InReview17 2014InReview92014InReview15 2014InReview312014InReview12 2014InReview30

Overall these past 12 months have brought a lot of change and insight and most importantly happiness. I am very thankful for my family and friends who have supported me. It is because of you guys that I have been able to have these opportunities, I would be nowhere without you all. 2015 if you are anywhere near half as good as 2014 I am stoked and ready to start this adventure all over again. Happy Holidays everyone!