Delta IV Heavy Launch

Joined
Sep 13, 2008
Messages
549
Location
Viera, FL
ULA finally got the Delta IV Heavy launched last night after more than a few scrubbed attempts. It was spectacular to see and feel the ground shake from the three engines igniting.
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Joined
Jan 12, 2018
Messages
695
Location
Puget Sound
Real Name
Ken
Absolutely beautiful! I am very jealous. My FIL in FL is a retied jet engineer (who worked on a part of the Apollo-Soyuz mission) and I have been wanting to take him to a rocket launch for years, but we have never been able to arrange anything.

--Ken
 
Joined
Sep 13, 2008
Messages
549
Location
Viera, FL
Absolutely beautiful! I am very jealous. My FIL in FL is a retied jet engineer (who worked on a part of the Apollo-Soyuz mission) and I have been wanting to take him to a rocket launch for years, but we have never been able to arrange anything.

--Ken
Thanks, Ken. There are a lot of launches coming up in 2021 so (hopefully) the opportunity presents itself soon. The Space X crew missions to the International Space Station bring in a lot of launch viewers. They are great to watch and would be a great experience you both. Hopefully Kennedy Space Center’s Visitor Complex will be open when you visit.

Great image! How far away were you?
Thanks, Phil. Probably about 8-10 miles from the launch pad. It took a few seconds for the sound and ground rumble to get to us.

That is amazing. So well thought out to capture the arc of the rocket in the frame at that shutter speed. A bit of Fibonacci!
Thanks!

Wow! DOUBLE WOW! Great job, Tony!
Thanks, Mike. Very much appreciated.
 

JLH

Joined
Jan 28, 2019
Messages
144
Wonderful shot for sure. Judging from the movement of the stars during the exposure shows this shot had a long exposure. The long upward arc tells the story very well! Great!
 
Joined
Sep 13, 2008
Messages
549
Location
Viera, FL
That's a wonderful shot! I see the shutter speed was 117 sec. Were you shooting aperture priority to get that shutter speed? The arc and reflection are just great!
Thanks, everyone. Comments are very much appreciated. A few have asked where and how I shot this. I setup at an area along Florida State Road 528/A1A, just west of Port Canaveral, along the shore of the Indian River Lagoon. You can see the cruise ships and Exploration Tower at the port from this spot. If you use Google Maps, find Port Canaveral, then follow A1A where it turns west. There are two spots on the map named “Rocket Launch Viewing Area” - I was at the east one. If you come and want to shoot from here you need to get there at least 2 hours before the launch to get a spot but I would recommend 3 to get good parking, too.

The camera setup is pretty simple - wide angle lens, camera, cable release, tripod. I use my iPhone and Apple Maps app with the GPS coordinates of the launch pad (37B) to aim the camera. Once aimed, I use an app named Space Launch Schedule for the countdown (live streams can be off by 5-10+ seconds). Set the camera to manual, shutter speed to Bulb, pre-focus and hold the shutter open when the glow appears. It takes a few seconds after the glow starts for the rocket to appear. I shot this one at f/11 and it was underexposed by 1.5-2 stops, corrected in Lightroom, along with white balance. This pic had a few lens flares off the ground lights, that were taken out in Photoshop. I’m still working on getting the right focal length on the 14-30. This one was at 14mm, which was too wide - I thought the rocket would go higher in the frame so the next launch I shoot in portrait, maybe I’ll go 20mm, but having extra space is better than not having enough so maybe not since I’m only getting one shot at this.

I’ve only shot launches at night when I can do the long exposure, but I think for the next daytime launch, there’s a spot in Titusville I want to try and it’s a good opportunity to do a stacked image. Since moving here 5 5 years ago, seeing the launches has been amazing and learning to photograph them has been a lot of fun, and I’m still leaning. Some of the photos the local photographers post are jaw dropping. On my list of things to do is to find a contact at NASA to see if/how I can get access to set up a remote camera at the launch pad, which gives a whole different perspective to the launch.
 

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