Note: This post was migrated from my old blog software. It hasn't been cleaned up yet (and might not ever be). Don't be surprised if the formatting, links, images, etc... are messed up.
Last week, I spent roughly three days doing reseach/planning, eight
hours driving (split between two road trips) and stood around for
another half dozen hours. This was all done in order take to make a
single exposure that lasted for 167 seconds and had no chance for a
do-over. The subject of all this effort was space shuttle Discovery
as she and her crew launched from Kennedy Space Center for mission
Here is the result:
Flight trail of space shuttle Discovery's launch for mission STS-128
As far as I'm concerned, it's completely worth the effort.
Of course, since the above image was made with a camera sitting on
a tripod, I was also able to do some shooting with a telephoto lens
for a more traditional liftoff image.
Space shuttle Discovery liftoff for mission STS-128
Finally, I had planned to attach my point and shoot camera to the
tripod and shoot some video as well, but the
I bought that day fell apart on me. So, I ended up setting the
little camera directly on the ground and crossing my fingers. I
couldn't get a clear view of the sky, but figured it was worth a
shot anyway. The resulting video falls squarely in the "Happy
(Note: At about 1:50 seconds into the video, the rumble that starts
is the sound from engines. It took that long for it to get to where
I was shooting from. Prior to that, the all the rocket noise is
coming from the audio on the radio. The announcer was obviously
To give credit where it's due:
- Thanks to Dr. T.S. Kelso
from celestrak.com for helping make sure I
was setup to capture the entire flight path.
- For a great set of notes on shooting launches, visit
- K4GCC (146.940) retransmission of the NASA audio which you hear
in the video.
- M.C. for letting me borrow some additional gear.