Spaceport America

A blog about something a little different today... I've just returned from an incredible trip covering America, Canada and Mexico with my father which saw us touring Vancouver, cycling the Golden Gate in San Francisco and visiting friends in Los Angeles to climb to above the Hollywood sign.  The highlight of the trip was the opportunity to photograph at the world's first purpose-built commercial spaceport, Spaceport America near Las Cruces in the Jornada del Muerto desert basin in New Mexico. Last week saw the opening of the new terminal building, a collaboration between Virgin Galactic and the State of New Mexico.

The launch event was attended by the world press, celebrities from Kate Winslet to Buzz Aldrin to Princess Beatrice, along with 150 of the nearly 470 'future astronauts' who have already parted with $200k each to be the first space tourists.

It was a tremendous privilege to be able to see the site, watch a flight demonstration of Spaceship2 and Whiteknight2 and to hear speakers including the ex second in command from Nasa, the govenor of New Mexico and Richard Branson among others.

My new aims after such a spectacular trip are to start flying lessons and hopefully one day (when the price comes down) purchase my own trip into space.  The whole experience moved me far more than I anticipated.

Galactic Girl, Sir Richard's private jet as he arrived early morning for the event...

Watching the flight demonstration with the Govenor of New Mexico...

Buzz Aldrin presenting Sir Richard with the street name for the Spaceport - named after the address of their first office in London...

Carla + Tom's Liverpool Wedding

The last time I went to Liverpool was for the launch of a New Look store in my old existence as a marketeer, so my knowledge was limited to the shopping district.  It was a long way to go on Saturday, especially after a full day wedding in Surrey on the Friday but a friend and colleague, Luke, asked me at the last minute to cover his brother's wedding for just three hours.  And since I had just bought the Skoda, I thought it a good opportunity to stretch her legs on the open road. I pretty much never photograph a couple without having met them at least once, and usually done an engagement shoot with them too, so it was a little strange turning up on the doorstep of Carla's friend, where she was getting ready.  The gorgeous three story house was a hive of activity with Carla having six bridesmaids (of mixed sex).  My favourite image of Carla was actually taken in the bathroom, sitting on the loo, where the light was gorgeous - she looks absolutely beautiful.

Michelle Webb, a friend of Carla's, was doing the make-up.  I'd met Michelle before on the set of 500 Miles North, a film directed by Luke and mostly filmed up at Inshriach.  I went on set for three days to do some behind the scenes shots.

Luke didn't supply me with details of the church until the last minute, so it was a bit of a Magical Mystery Tour (ahem) of Liverpool, but I found the church, All Hallows, Allerton, looming large on a fork in the road.  The bridal party made their entrance, with Carla walked down the aisle by her mother who had come over from Mexico.

I was only booked to stay long enough to get the group photos done outside the church (efficiently choreographed by Luke), and a few shots of the couple before the party reconvened at a local pub for the reception and I headed back on the long drive to Surrey.