Sir Richard Branson and Tim Peake

A conversation with Tim Peake and Sir Richard Branson at the Science Museum

Last Friday I had the pleasure of photographing a very interesting event at the Science Museum with Major Tim Peake, the British astronaut who recently returned to Earth after six months living in space and the amazing Sir Richard Branson.

The client, Virgin Galactic has asked if I would be interested in covering the event for them, where Tim & Sir Richard sat down in front of an audience of Virgin Future Astronauts and talked about space and what it meant to them and I of course jumped at the chance.

It was, as always, a tricky event to cover. Time was short as the talk only lasted 45 mins, the room was crowded with over 150 guests which made finding good shooting positions tricky to find and as always, the lighting conditions were very harsh with 2 spots lighting the stage and the rest of the room so dark as to be impossible to shoot. Though with my trusted Canon 5D MK IV and some expert post production through Adobe Bridge we managed to get some cracking shots of the night.

The stage where Tim & Richard sat was set up in front of the Soyuz TMA-19M descent module, the same one which took Tim Peake up to the International Space Station and brought him back home safely. I managed to get a close look at the capsule, and its scorch marks from re-entry are quite something. Tim said it was quite an uncomfortable vessel for his journey and I really believe him.

Later during the talk Anousheh Ansari, the first female private space explorer, who was integral to the development of the XPRIZE, which in turn led to the creation of Virgin Galactic was invites by Sir Richard up on to the stage to join them. Unfortunately, as an unplanned guest, she was placed directly in front of Richard’s main light, so she casted a massive head shaped shadow over him. Luckily, I had manged to get some great shots of him prior to this, so I wasn’t too worried about it. One thing experience has taught me in this game, is to get the killer shot as quick as you can as you never know what may happen.