Posts tagged: astronaut

Cleaning up – it’s all about the lighting

By , December 14, 2011 12:35 am

Today has been a good day, not that most days aren’t. I have spent most of the day with people I admire and enjoy working with, and been inspired by a few I have never met – and to think I am being paid for this too!. More importantly I have been asked if I would like to be involved in two particularly exciting and enjoyable projects – one huge, and one bigger. Can’t say more at the moment, but suffice to say that I will post more about them when the time comes, and I expect that time to be in the next few weeks.

Anyway, after finishing up I decided to go to the public gallery at the House of Commons, something which I have never done before, and thoroughly recommend that you do if you get the chance. I then went to the UK premier screening of Richard Garriott: Man on a Mission in Soho, before heading back to my office to set up for a shoot first thing in the morning. Not having a subject to check the lights on, I grabbed a rather old and grubby vacuum cleaner and put it in position, and fired one test shot. Reviewing the image I was struck by how good almost anything can look when it is well lit! Which reminded my of a conversation I had this afternoon about the end of the world being built in Lego, a concept that had me thinking that my sons’ bedroom looks pretty much like the end of the world in Lego. Boys, I have some advice: if you light your room well, it will definitely look better!

vacuum cleaner

Vacuum cleaner - tested for lighting. Photo: © Michael Cockerham 2011

Final mission

By , February 25, 2011 11:26 am

After months of technical delays the space shuttle Discovery lanuched from the Kennedy Space Center at a little before 10pm UK time last night. Discovery is regarded as the fleet leader, having flown in space more times than any other space craft, covering some 143 million miles by the time it completes this mission.

Aboard STS-133 is Mission Specialist Benjamin Alvin Drew Jr on his second trip into space. I met Al in Houston in October 2010, shortly after his first flight, and he was kind enough to sit for my project on astronauts, so this seems a suitable reason to post his portrait here.

Astronaut Benjamin Alvin Drew Jr. Photo Michael Cockerham

Astronaut Al Drew photographed at his home in Clear Lake, a few miles from the Johnson Space Center, Houton, Texas. October 2007.

For anyone that’s interested in watching a piece of history, here is the video of the launch:

Focus and things

By , March 10, 2010 1:31 pm

So much to do, so little time.

Went to Focus yesterday. The annual trudge to Birmingham to fight my way through the throngs of hobbyists who insist for reasons best know to them on walking round the show festooned with every camera they own. What the hell they expect to photograph I don’t know. The irony is that they seem to do so in the hope that they will be taken seriously by the exhibitors because they wear their cameras like a badge, when in fact the “serious” photographers are instantly recognisable by virtue of not carrying all their cameras.

Sadly, some years ago the specialist retailers realised that there was money to be extracted from these people, so they started being more proactive in selling at the show. As a result those that go to ask questions of manufacturers and distributors, or make supply deals that could save them tens of thousands of pounds a year, find that they are constantly fighting against the tide of equipment and gadget freaks.

The result? Well, I bumped into a friend, a respected photographer, publisher and writer on photography, and asked him how he was. “I’m at Focus doing my penance. What do you think?” came the reply.

Anyway. A productive show for me. Answered all the questions that I needed to address, has given me food for thought and opened new opportunities, all of which I will write about in good time. One thing I will share with you quickly though is Canson Platine Rag. Got hold of some samples, and just made a test print of this picture on it. Exquisite paper!

Owen Garriott - NASA astronaut.
Owen Garriott – NASA astronaut, Skylab II and STS-9/Space Lab 1. Image © Michael Cockerham 2008

The show finished, I wandered back to the station (went on the train this time – so much easier), got a beer in the bar, and the phone rang. It was an editor with an assignment. So exciting an assignment (for me anyway) that I nearly dropped my beer. Just a couple of days to go, but if it comes off as planned, you can be sure I will be telling you about it!

A bit flash

By , July 3, 2009 4:49 pm
Entrepreneur computer games developer Richard Garriott worked extensively with British schools before, during and after his trip to the International Space Station

Entrepreneur computer games developer Richard Garriott worked extensively with British schools before, during and after his trip to the International Space Station

A pro pos of nothing, I have been involved in working with a group of 14 to 16 year old students from a number of schools in the East End, in conjunction with an organisation called Venture Thinking. The objective is to introduce them to real world photography with a live brief and client.

Yesterday we managed to kill two birds as it were, when two of my projects collided. Cosmonaut Richard Garriott met me on the shore line at Coin Street for a photoshoot and took the time to meet the kids and tell them what life is like in space, and the students in turn took some time to engage themselves in helping me with ideas and logistics for the photograph. There is something kind of cool about being able to see the boy holding the light in this preproducton shot. A rush version of the finished image can be seen on my main site.

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