The end of NASA’s Space Shuttle program in 2011 meant the end for more than the shuttles themselves. One aspect of the program you may not have known about was the plethora of incredible photo and video equipment that was used during the program’s heyday to capture each launch. At any given launch, about 138 professional still, video and TV cameras were pointing at the shuttle, and some of them were downright incredible. Read more…
Posts Tagged ‘shuttlelaunch’
During a 2001 launch of the Space Shuttle Atlantis, NASA photographer Pat McCracken captured this amazing photograph of the shuttle’s smoke plume casting a shadow across the full moon rising in the horizon.
[...] the Sun, Earth, Moon, and rocket were all properly aligned for this photogenic coincidence. First, for the space shuttle’s plume to cast a long shadow, the time of day must be either near sunrise or sunset. Only then will the shadow be its longest and extend all the way to the horizon. Finally, during a Full Moon, the Sun and Moon are on opposite sides of the sky. Just after sunset, for example, the Sun is slightly below the horizon, and, in the other direction, the Moon is slightly above the horizon. Therefore, as Atlantis blasted off, just after sunset, its shadow projected away from the Sun toward the opposite horizon, where the Full Moon just happened to be. [#]
Talk about a one-in-a-million shot…
Who says you need a heavy and expensive lens to capture a beautiful shuttle launch photograph from far away? After the Space Shuttle Endeavour blasted off yesterday on its final mission, one of the photographs that went viral was shot from an airplane using an iPhone. Another was this stunning photo made by Trey Ratcliff using a Nikon 50mm prime lens while thousands of photographers around him were holding massive lenses.
Even though I had my Nikon D3X set up on a tripod with my 28-300 lens, I actually shot this picture with my 50mm prime lens on my Nikon D3S! Everything did go according to plan, and I had run through the routine a few times before the launch. The plan was to fire away on my main body during the first 15 seconds or so. At that point, the D3X starts to have bufferring problems, so I switched to my Chewbacca-bandolier D3S. I pulled it up into a vertical orientation and rapid-fired just as the shuttle tore into the clouds. [#]
You can read more about the shot over on his website here.
Image credit: Photograph by Trey Ratcliff and used with permission