Saturday, August 29, 2009

Space Shuttle Discovery Mission STS-128 Launch Photos

Every single shuttle launch is a incredible & unique experience worth witnessing.

STS-128 was the third launch I have viewed from the 'front row.' STS-126 and STS-127 are the only other ones that we've seen up close.

STS-126 was a night launch that we viewed from Titusville, about 12 miles from the launch site. With 126 being our first night launch, or launch of any type, we had no clue what to expect, as I mentioned in the previous photo blog - Space Shuttle Endeavour Mission STS-127 Launch Photos - and the poor photos demonstrate that ;)

Shooting a night launch shares no similar settings or methods with a day launch...

For STS-128, I studied & experimented until I had a solid plan. I researched the great night launch photos that are out on the web, read other photographer's blogs, and reached out to one of the greatest shuttle photogs out there - Stan Jirman. Stan has some great advice (and photos) on his site, so be sure to check it out!

Stan is on vacation in Europe, but still took the time to share some tips which lead to a very successful nighttime long exposure photo. I could've done a bit better on the close shots, and I am certain that I will next time :)

To my amazement, the SRB separation, which takes place about 2 1/2 min after launch, 220,000 ft in altitude, and 35 miles downrange, is visible both day and night.

Here is the long exposure, a few launch photos, and some grainy SRB separation shots!

As always, usage of these registered, copyright protected images is prohibited unless licensed directly from Will Hawkins.

STS-128 Space Shuttle Discovery Launch Long Exposure by Will Hawkins
STS-128 Space Shuttle Discovery Night Launch: Long Exposure (6 min 2 seconds)

STS-128 Space Shuttle Discovery Launch by Will Hawkins
STS-128 Space Shuttle Discovery Night Launch: Just before liftoff, the smoke blocked view of the shuttle!

STS-128 Space Shuttle Discovery Launch by Will Hawkins
STS-128 Space Shuttle Discovery Night Launch: Liftoff!

More photos of Space Shuttle Discovery STS-128 launch after the break! Click here!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Slayer's Dave Lombardo - Shooting Spree

Promark Drumsticks has had me on a shooting spree this month. Shoots with Dave Matthews Band's Carter Beauford, Incubus' Jose Pasillas, Killswitch Engage's Justin Foley, Marilyn Manson's Ginger Fish, and Slayer's Dave Lombardo have all been on the other side of my lens in the past two weeks. Several more shoots are in the works right now...!

Slayer had a formidable presence at Mayhem Fest here in Tampa. Thousands of fans chanting, dozens of Marshall amp stacks whose tops spew fire, a huge metal Slayer eagle that becomes engulfed in flames, and a ferocious rhythm driving the fans into madness!

The man driving that rhythm is Dave Lombardo. Dave is the original drummer, who spent a handful of years away from the band in the 90's, then returned again in 2002.

Dave has performed with Mike Patton's Fanômas, Testament, and even a couple songs with Metallica. Countless well-known drummers list Dave Lombardo as an influence, and some credit him for being the reason they began playing drums.

This was my second time working with Dave. We did a shoot back in 2004 that was far reaching, hitting 3 magazine covers, about 5 magazine articles, a series of ads, and numerous websites.

Here are some photos from our shoot (I'll throw a couple of wider shots in so you can see the pyro!):

Dave Lombardo of Slayer by Will Hawkins
Dave Lombardo

Dave Lombardo of Slayer by Will Hawkins
Dave Lombardo

More photos of Slayer and Dave Lombardo after the break! Click here!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Yamaha All Access 360: Chick Corea - featuring yours truly!

A few months ago, I received a call from Tiffany Napper of Yamaha Corporate Artist Affairs asking if I was available to shoot an artist on a hybrid photo/video shoot, which is part interview, part commercial - to be featured online and in print. Schedules matched, and the shoot was scheduled!

The shoot was for Yamaha All Access, with the legendary 15 time Grammy winning jazz pianist Chick Corea.

I took on the wonderfully talented photographer Zekeshem Parsons of Blue Lane Photography/Room 3307 as an assistant for the shoot, which was to take place in and around Chick Corea's home in Clearwater, FL.

The shoot went well! Chick and his management were great to work with, the Yamaha crew was great to work with, and Zekeshem is always great to work with! We did have a couple of challenges, but nothing we haven't faced before - shoot time was cut in half, we ended up having to work with just one location, lighting was difficult (reflective surfaces, dark wooden ceilings, etc.).

Chick had a collection of amazing instruments, including the Yamaha Avant Grand, a Yamaha Concert Grand Piano, a Bosendorfer Grand w/extra notes, and various other keyboards, etc. Dave Weckl's drumkit and sticks were also at his place!

The Yamaha All Access magazine and Yamaha All Access 360 behind-the-scenes video of the shoot both came out great! The Yamaha All Access 360 site is a gorgeous interactive flash website featuring videos, photos, magazine links, product information, etc. Be sure to check it out!

Below is the Yamaha All Access 360 video, followed by links to the 360 & magazine sites, then some photos from the shoot.

Big thanks to Yamaha, Chick, and Zekeshem!

"Chick Corea is a current featured artist on Yamaha All Access 360! Check out and share the behind-the-scenes video, and visit to see never-before-seen photos, his spread in All Access magazine, and enter to win a Yamaha keyboard!"

Yamaha All Access Magazine - The Backstage Guide to the World of Yamaha

Chick Corea by Will Hawkins
Chick Corea

More photos of Chick Corea after the break! Click here!