Shuttle Launch -how to?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by tunet@tampabay.rr.com, Jul 14, 2005.

  1. Guest

    Hi,

    Guess the launch delay might help me out. Didn't even think
    about taking a pic before my wife asked the question this morning. Was
    mad at myself all day thinking of all the lost advice this newsgroup
    has to offer :(

    I live in St. Petersburg and am thinking of taking pics from
    The Pier. Thanks so much in advance for any advice.

    -Steve
     
    , Jul 14, 2005
    #1
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  2. Don Guest


    > Guess the launch delay might help me out. Didn't even think
    > about taking a pic before my wife asked the question this morning. Was
    > mad at myself all day thinking of all the lost advice this newsgroup
    > has to offer :(
    >
    > I live in St. Petersburg and am thinking of taking pics from
    > The Pier. Thanks so much in advance for any advice.
    >
    > -Steve



    Wow, you can see it from St Pete? I am hoping I can get to the next launch.
    Bought the wife a Canon Digital rebel and we have a 75-300mm EF lens (I
    think that's what it is) from the Rebel S 35mm camera. I like to go out SR50
    to the end at A1A on the coast. ABout as close as you can get anymore, I
    think the launch pad is like 15 miles away. Really neat at night but that's
    not going to happen anymore. But it looks like it's going to be a while
    before launch so I guess we have time.

    Anyone else planning on taking shots of the Space Shuttle launch? This could
    be an interesting thread here.
    D
     
    Don, Jul 14, 2005
    #2
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  3. Owamanga Guest

    On Thu, 14 Jul 2005 20:04:09 GMT, "Don" <> wrote:

    >Wow, you can see it [shuttle] from St Pete? I am hoping I can get to the next launch.
    >Bought the wife a Canon Digital rebel and we have a 75-300mm EF lens (I
    >think that's what it is) from the Rebel S 35mm camera. I like to go out SR50
    >to the end at A1A on the coast. ABout as close as you can get anymore, I
    >think the launch pad is like 15 miles away.


    That's easily close enough.

    >Really neat at night but that's not going to happen anymore.


    Why is that? Safety or just that the space station windows are always
    daytime launches?

    >But it looks like it's going to be a while before launch so I guess we have time.
    >
    >Anyone else planning on taking shots of the Space Shuttle launch? This could
    >be an interesting thread here.


    I took some (and I don't have them to hand, they'll be in a box
    somewhere) a few years ago from Palm Beach - I guess about 150 miles
    south of Kennedy. Night launches, extremely easy to see, can clearly
    make out the main-tank separation explosions, the three blue flames
    from the shuttle engine vs the golden light & smoke from the solid
    booster rockets. And you can see the boosters start their fall back to
    Earth.

    From this distance, you can't see the dudes face looking out the
    window or anything, but with a long exposure across a fountain-lit
    lake and my apartment / trees in the foreground it was still a
    reasonable set of images.

    I've watched 4 night launches, and 1 day launch. I think I've
    attempted to see 2 other day launches and been foiled by cloud.

    This time round NASA streaming TV actually worked, thanks to a couple
    of bandwidth sponsors.

    I seem to recall that the space station flights all take her out over
    the sea, away from the coast.... does anyone *know* ?

    --
    Owamanga!
    http://www.pbase.com/owamanga
     
    Owamanga, Jul 14, 2005
    #3
  4. Mike Guest

    "Owamanga" <> a écrit dans le message de
    news: ...
    > On Thu, 14 Jul 2005 20:04:09 GMT, "Don" <> wrote:
    >


    >
    > I seem to recall that the space station flights all take her out over
    > the sea, away from the coast.... does anyone *know* ?
    >
    > --
    > Owamanga!
    > http://www.pbase.com/owamanga



    I think the westward launches add the usefull (and free) momentum of the
    earth rotation to the engines thrust. If I remember well, Jules Verne
    predicted the same in his books.
    You are lucky to take shots of such events !!!

    It makes my Canon jealous!

    Mike
     
    Mike, Jul 14, 2005
    #4
  5. Ed Ruf Guest

    On Thu, 14 Jul 2005 21:57:25 GMT, in rec.photo.digital Owamanga
    <> wrote:


    >Why is that? Safety or just that the space station windows are always
    >daytime launches?


    Pretty much by definition every Shuttle launch in the future is going to
    ISS, except a Hubble repair mission. Also, by edict all launches will be
    during daytime to allow detailed images of the launch to be acquired
    looking for debris strikes on the shuttle.
    ----------
    Ed Ruf Lifetime AMA# 344007 ()
    See images taken with my CP-990/5700 & D70 at
    http://edwardgruf.com/Digital_Photography/General/index.html
     
    Ed Ruf, Jul 15, 2005
    #5
  6. Owamanga Guest

    On Thu, 14 Jul 2005 19:36:05 -0400, Ed Ruf <>
    wrote:

    >On Thu, 14 Jul 2005 21:57:25 GMT, in rec.photo.digital Owamanga
    ><> wrote:
    >
    >>Why is that? Safety or just that the space station windows are always
    >>daytime launches?

    >
    >Pretty much by definition every Shuttle launch in the future is going to
    >ISS, except a Hubble repair mission. Also, by edict all launches will be
    >during daytime to allow detailed images of the launch to be acquired
    >looking for debris strikes on the shuttle.


    Duh! <slaps head> yes of course, they need to photograph it now. This
    rule must have more than halved their launch window opportunities.

    ....Damn, those night launches were really pretty.

    I guess I'll still see the odd 'star-wars' rocket go up at night,
    might have to get a bit closer though.

    --
    Owamanga!
    http://www.pbase.com/owamanga
     
    Owamanga, Jul 15, 2005
    #6
  7. Jer Guest

    Ed Ruf wrote:
    > On Thu, 14 Jul 2005 21:57:25 GMT, in rec.photo.digital Owamanga
    > <> wrote:
    >
    >
    >
    >>Why is that? Safety or just that the space station windows are always
    >>daytime launches?

    >
    >
    > Pretty much by definition every Shuttle launch in the future is going to
    > ISS, except a Hubble repair mission. Also, by edict all launches will be
    > during daytime to allow detailed images of the launch to be acquired
    > looking for debris strikes on the shuttle.



    I remember hearing a news blurb that the next launch will be the most
    photographed launch in NASA history. This blurb also included that 100+
    cameras (including UV & IR) will be trained on a wide variety of vehicle
    areas, and the quantity of images they expect averages to 1200 shutter
    events per camera for this one launch. Some of these cameras are
    externally mounted on the SRBs, and image retreival will commence once
    Discovery reaches orbit.

    --
    jer
    email reply - I am not a 'ten'
     
    Jer, Jul 15, 2005
    #7
  8. In article <>,
    wrote:

    > I live in St. Petersburg and am thinking of taking pics from
    > The Pier.


    Steve-

    I recall driving north from St. Pete on what is now I-275, and seeing an
    Apollo moon launch. Yes, you can see them on a clear day, but the camera
    will see a small vapor trail in the distance, even with your best
    telephoto lens!

    If you can come to the coast, one of the better viewing sites is Veteran's
    Park in Titusville, just south of Garden Street (SR 406) and just east of
    US Highway 1.

    There is also Jetty Park north of Cape Canaveral (the city), but it is a
    bit further than Titusville. You can also park along the SR 528 "Beeline"
    causeway, due south of the launch site. Being south of the pad, these
    sites would be best for morning launches because of the sun angle.

    Either way, it was quite the mob scene Wednesday when the launch was
    scheduled. Traffic was snarled for several hours after the scrub.

    I've tried numerous combinations of cameras and lenses over the years, but
    don't have the expensive equipment you need for a good close-up shot. The
    closest was a 1000 mm (telescope) mirror lens with a Vivitar doubler on an
    Olympus OM-2 with Kodacolor 400 film. While the result was poor, the
    image size wasn't bad. I estimate the ideal lens for photographing the
    Shuttle from the nearby public sites, would be around 3000 mm (35 mm
    equivalent).

    Fred
     
    Fred McKenzie, Jul 15, 2005
    #8
  9. frederick Guest

    wrote:

    >
    > Hi,
    >
    > Guess the launch delay might help me out. Didn't even think
    > about taking a pic before my wife asked the question this morning. Was
    > mad at myself all day thinking of all the lost advice this newsgroup
    > has to offer :(
    >
    > I live in St. Petersburg and am thinking of taking pics from
    > The Pier. Thanks so much in advance for any advice.
    >
    > -Steve
    >


    This take me back a bit...
    I was visiting the US in 1989, and saw a night launch from the back yard
    of a bar in (IIRC) Titusville, with a clear view over the water to the
    launch pad.
    I even got a photo of it:
    http://www.geocities.com/angels2000photos/shuttle.jpg
    There is flare in the shot that these days could be taken our with PS.
    (goodness knows how the flare ended up as an exclamation mark!) The
    original image is quite sharp - the web image is a scan from a Cibachrome.
    It was an incredible sight (understatement).
     
    frederick, Jul 15, 2005
    #9
  10. On 13 Jul 2005 21:13:11 -0700, wrote:

    >
    >
    > Hi,
    >
    > Guess the launch delay might help me out. Didn't even think
    >about taking a pic before my wife asked the question this morning. Was
    >mad at myself all day thinking of all the lost advice this newsgroup
    >has to offer :(
    >
    > I live in St. Petersburg and am thinking of taking pics from
    >The Pier. Thanks so much in advance for any advice.
    >
    > -Steve


    I had a lot of fun taking pictures of a shuttle launch many years ago.

    In Titusville there is a bridge/causeway connecting the town to the
    Cape. On the morning of the launch we were able to set up on the
    approach to the causeway. There are also any number of spots along
    the road parallel to the Cape that would also be good and should give
    you a line of sight to the launch pad.

    From that spot we were able to see the vehicle assembly building and
    the top of the launch pad, maybe 5 miles away - not certain of the
    distance. The shuttle itself wasn't visible and could only be
    photographed after it gained a bit of altitude - perhaps 200 feet or
    so.

    I had an Olumpus OM-1 hooked up to a Celestron C-8 telescope which
    gave me a focal length of 2000 mm. I don't remember film speed or
    shutter speed. Probably ASA 400.

    (The 2000 mm focal length gave such a good image scale that I'm sure
    that a 300 mm would also be very nice indeed).

    I got some good shots of the shuttle lifting off and clearing the pad.
    I was able to swivel the scope mount as the vehicle ascended and got
    some excellent shots of the shuttle at the apex of a splendid fiery
    trail.

    It was disappointing that light cloud prevented me from getting a shot
    of the solid booster rocket separation - I had been looking forward to
    that.

    Be aware that that the acceleration of the shuttle has to be seen to
    be believed. You can't really tell from televison shots as there is
    no frame of reference. If you have your camera on a tripod be
    prepared to be able to shoot at a high angle and swivel and shoot
    QUICK. A few dry runs are highly recommended - low flying aircraft
    nearly overhead would be good practice.

    Soames
     
    Hemlock Soames, Jul 15, 2005
    #10
  11. Sheldon Guest

    There will probably be other people around willing to share tips. I would
    use the longest lens you've got and average the exposure for the weather
    conditions. Using a tripod will also make it easier to pan along with the
    shuttle as it rises. Also, at that distance you should probably use a
    manual focus and just set it at infinity. If the camera sees blank sky and
    is set to autofocus it might not want to focus and you may not be able to
    shoot at all.


    <> wrote in message
    news:...
    >
    >
    > Hi,
    >
    > Guess the launch delay might help me out. Didn't even think
    > about taking a pic before my wife asked the question this morning. Was
    > mad at myself all day thinking of all the lost advice this newsgroup
    > has to offer :(
    >
    > I live in St. Petersburg and am thinking of taking pics from
    > The Pier. Thanks so much in advance for any advice.
    >
    > -Steve
    >
     
    Sheldon, Jul 16, 2005
    #11
  12. Owamanga <> writes:

    >I seem to recall that the space station flights all take her out over
    >the sea, away from the coast.... does anyone *know* ?


    All space launches (not just the shuttle) are eastward if they can be,
    since that uses the earth's surface rotation velocity as part of the
    energy needed to reach orbit.

    Then, given that you're launching eastward, you want nothing but water
    to the east of the launch pad so if the rocket blows up accidentally
    (not that uncommon still), or if it malfunctions and goes off in the
    wrong direction so it *has* to be blown up by ground command, the pieces
    will not land on anyone.

    The exception to this is some satellites which are in steeply inclined
    or nearly polar orbits. (This is done so they travel over the whole
    earth's surface in time, not just remain above the equator. Think of
    spy satellites, earth mapping, GPS navigation, and some communications
    satellites.) Those need to be launched toward the north or south. In
    the USA, those launches are done from Vandenburg Air Force Base near
    Lompoc California, which has nothing but water to the south.

    The ideal launch site, in terms of avoiding falling debris, is a small
    island in the middle of an ocean. Somewhere near the equator for maximum
    rotation help with eastward launches is also nice.

    Dave
     
    Dave Martindale, Jul 16, 2005
    #12
  13. In article <>, Hemlock Soames
    <> wrote:
    >
    > In Titusville there is a bridge/causeway connecting the town to the
    > Cape. On the morning of the launch we were able to set up on the
    > approach to the causeway. There are also any number of spots along
    > the road parallel to the Cape that would also be good and should give
    > you a line of sight to the launch pad.
    >
    > From that spot we were able to see the vehicle assembly building and
    > the top of the launch pad, maybe 5 miles away - not certain of the
    > distance. The shuttle itself wasn't visible and could only be
    > photographed after it gained a bit of altitude - perhaps 200 feet or
    > so.
    >
    > I had an Olumpus OM-1 hooked up to a Celestron C-8 telescope which
    > gave me a focal length of 2000 mm. I don't remember film speed or
    > shutter speed. Probably ASA 400.


    Soames-

    That causeway is most likely the one at the north end of town, an
    extension of Garden Street (SR 406). It is near Veterans Park, and is
    probably closer to ten miles away from the pad. There, or anywhere along
    the shoreline would be good, except that the area is continuously being
    built up. There seems to be fewer and fewer good viewing sites as time
    goes by.

    My telescope is the Celestron C-90, which is 1000 mm f/11 when used as a
    camera lens. With the old Vivitar doubler, it becomes 2000 mm f/22
    (optimistically!) I made one set of shots from on-base with that setup.
    The sky was a clear blue with almost no clouds. The Shuttle came out a
    nice size, but the lens contrast was very poor. The resulting photo
    appeared to have been made on a dark, gloomy day.

    I think the Celestron C-8 has an eight inch aperture, which means it is
    2000 mm f/10 as a camera lens. One thing you might not have thought
    about, is that the Shuttle flame is quite bright. Using automatic
    exposure, you end up with a shutter speed that is higher than you might
    have expected, which helps with camera shake.

    Fred
     
    Fred McKenzie, Jul 17, 2005
    #13
  14. On Sun, 17 Jul 2005 14:01:24 -0400, (Fred McKenzie)
    wrote:

    >In article <>, Hemlock Soames
    ><> wrote:
    >>
    >> In Titusville there is a bridge/causeway connecting the town to the
    >> Cape. On the morning of the launch we were able to set up on the
    >> approach to the causeway. There are also any number of spots along
    >> the road parallel to the Cape that would also be good and should give
    >> you a line of sight to the launch pad.
    >>
    >> From that spot we were able to see the vehicle assembly building and
    >> the top of the launch pad, maybe 5 miles away - not certain of the
    >> distance. The shuttle itself wasn't visible and could only be
    >> photographed after it gained a bit of altitude - perhaps 200 feet or
    >> so.
    >>
    >> I had an Olumpus OM-1 hooked up to a Celestron C-8 telescope which
    >> gave me a focal length of 2000 mm. I don't remember film speed or
    >> shutter speed. Probably ASA 400.

    >
    >Soames-
    >
    >That causeway is most likely the one at the north end of town, an
    >extension of Garden Street (SR 406). It is near Veterans Park, and is
    >probably closer to ten miles away from the pad. There, or anywhere along
    >the shoreline would be good, except that the area is continuously being
    >built up. There seems to be fewer and fewer good viewing sites as time
    >goes by.


    I'll go along with the 10 mile estimate - it was a long time ago and
    I'm remembering the image scale when viewed through the
    telescope/camera lens. I do remember that we couldn't be sure if we
    were looking at the launch pad until the time of launch.
    >
    >My telescope is the Celestron C-90, which is 1000 mm f/11 when used as a
    >camera lens. With the old Vivitar doubler, it becomes 2000 mm f/22
    >(optimistically!) I made one set of shots from on-base with that setup.
    >The sky was a clear blue with almost no clouds. The Shuttle came out a
    >nice size, but the lens contrast was very poor. The resulting photo
    >appeared to have been made on a dark, gloomy day.
    >
    >I think the Celestron C-8 has an eight inch aperture, which means it is
    >2000 mm f/10 as a camera lens. One thing you might not have thought
    >about, is that the Shuttle flame is quite bright. Using automatic
    >exposure, you end up with a shutter speed that is higher than you might
    >have expected, which helps with camera shake.
    >
    >Fred


    My old Olympus OM-1 was a manual camera, no automatic anything. The
    rig worked well and the photos were very good and well exposed. Sure
    wish I could remember the shutter speeds.

    Soames
     
    Hemlock Soames, Jul 18, 2005
    #14
  15. In article <>,
    wrote:

    > I live in St. Petersburg and am thinking of taking pics from
    > The Pier. Thanks so much in advance for any advice.


    Steve & anyone else interested-

    If you would like digital copies of some of the photos taken by Kennedy
    Space Center's photographers, go to the KSC home page at
    http://www.nasa.gov/centers/kennedy/home/index.html
    and click on the "View site" for Kennedy Multimedia Gallery. On the next
    page, click on "View More..." for HotPics: The newest photos.

    The following several pages have various photos of activities at the
    Kennedy Space Center such as the launch and the recovery of the Solid
    Rocket Boosters. The newest are on the first page. Launch photos have
    already been pushed back to the second page!

    Each photo is available in three resolutions (S,M,L).

    Fred
     
    Fred McKenzie, Aug 4, 2005
    #15
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