Monday, September 21, 2009

Space Shuttle Discovery Mission STS-128 Landing Photos

Space Shuttle Discovery & crew's STS-128 mission was a successful mission which involved dropping off astronaut Nicole Stott at the International Space Station, as well as 7.5 tons of supplies.

The landing at the end of the mission, just like the launch at the beginning, faced a number of delays. Ultimately, the landing occurred at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

When a shuttle lands in California, it must be ferried back to Kennedy Space Center atop the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) - a modified Boeing 747. NASA's mate/demate devices lift the shuttle in the air, the 747 rolls under, and the shuttle is mounted to the 747. The SCA & shuttle travel to Kennedy Space Center, making several refueling stops on the way. After the safe arrival at KSC, another mate/demate device removes the shuttle from the SCA.

Normally the arrival path of the SCA & shuttle brings the pair on a photogenic pass along Cocoa Beach. Due to weather off of the coast of Cocoa Beach, the path was modified to be much more direct, swooping just South of Titusville and then curving directly to KSC's runway 33.

Despite the modified path, I was still able to get some shots from the pier at Jetty Park, just North of Cocoa Beach.

The distance of the shuttle, the roll of the SCA, and the intense visual heatwaves were all significant challenges in getting a clear image. Although the shots are not what I was hoping for, I am still thrilled to have had the opportunity to view what could possibly be the last SCA/Shuttle paired flight.

Space Shuttle Discovery STS-128 SCA 747 Landing at Kennedy Space Center by Will Hawkins
Space Shuttle Discovery STS-128 SCA 747 Pair Approach to Kennedy Space Center shot from Jetty Park

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

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Carter Beauford - The Beat of Dave Matthews Band

One of the highlights of the recent shooting spree that Promark set me up on was with a massively popular, Grammy winning band that I have listened to forever, but never seen live.

For about 15 years, I have known the music of Dave Matthews Band, but known little about the band themselves. The core band consists of 4 founding members - singer/guitarist Dave Matthews, bassist Stefan Lassard, violinist Boyd Tinsley, and drummer Carter Beauford.

I arrived at the venue several hours before the performance in order to meet up with Henry Luniewski, Carter's drum tech for a number of years now. Henry set up our passes, showed us around the stage, and let us get a general idea of what our plan would be, come showtime. Henry informed us that Carter had invited us to shoot the entire show, from anywhere we wanted to, including onstage. This level of hospitality and access with such a massively successful band & crew is rare.

The show was amazing. 22,000 people at the sold-out performance. 2 hours of familiar music & spectacular jam sessions. Dozens of solos, evenly spread across the band members. DMB thoroughly impressed me! Of course they were going to be good... but I really had no clue how amazing each individual musician was, how great their onstage chemistry would be, and how well they would connect with the audience.

Shooting at the drum kit during the show gave me an opportunity to get some great shots, and also to see Carter really tearing it up! He is a monster on those drums!!

Here are some photos from the evening:

Dave Matthews Band - Carter Beauford by Will Hawkins
Carter Beauford

Dave Matthews Band - Dave Matthews by Will Hawkins
Dave Matthews

Dave Matthews Band - Stefan Lessard by Will Hawkins
Stefan Lessard

Dave Matthews Band - Carter Beauford by Will Hawkins
Dave Matthews Band (Carter Beauford on screen)

More photos of Carter Beauford after the break! Click here!