I moved to Florida back in 2015, since then I have been impressed with all the launches that SpaceX and ULA holds, every single time I was able to watch a launch I try to see it with my 1300mm lens, but it wasn’t that fun and the picture never were nice since it was too far away, with the time I start thinking on how I could take better images of the launches and I start making a lot of research, I found many websites from experiences photographer that specializes in launches photography, I was really impressed with his work because he had the credentials to place he’s cameras remotely in the launchpad which is a great idea, but I immediately thought it can be a little difficult to get there but I would whatever I have to do to get my camera there…
In 2016 I got my first long exposure image from a rocket launch at night, which is the image below. After understanding all the little things that you have to have in mind for planning the shot, like where the rocket would be launched? Where would I locate? How would it be the trajectory of the rocket itself after liftoff? How long is going to last? Those are one the most important things to have in mind when planning this, it was something new for me, so I was learning a lot, I start following pages that talk about launches, and downloaded a few apps that show me a schedule of the upcoming launches. I got really excited after I saw this shot perfectly how I planned, so I was like really motivated, so I start getting serious on these shots, every time there is a launch schedule I start to looking for a great location to capture it.
I am currently trying to get the credentials and all the requirements to get my camera place remotely in the launchpad so I can get close up shot of those amazing rocket launches. This type of things always had grabbed my attention, and I really enjoy doing so because it was tough me a lot of new things, and I have learned a lot about space stuff.
The last two images below it been a completely different challenge, as I got really motivated and excited with the result, I start getting new ideas for the upcoming launches, So the first image below was the SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch, which it was on Feb 06 of 2018. the challenge here was that the launch would be during the day, so I could not be able to capture the trajectory as I used to do with night launches. I had a kit of ND filters but I wasn’t enough to capture a long exposure of 8 minutes, I wanted to last 8 minutes because one the best things about this launch was that the two second stages would fly back to Florida and land simultaneously at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, so the liftoff would be around 4 minutes and till the two second stages land would be another 4 minutes so I decided to make it that long so I could capture both things in a single shot, the liftoff and the amazing landing of the two second stages. You can read more about this image here.
This last image is a combination of two separated images, the first image is an infrared long exposure of 4 minutes, and the second one is a regular photo capturing the liftoff of the ULA Atlas V rocket, this time I didn’t get that close to the coast, I when to a national park call Moss Park in central Florida where is this lake called “Lake Mary Jane” I place my two cameras in the edge of the dock and wait for the counting, I think that one the most excited and stressful moments… It takes a lot of time to plan this and just a few minutes to capture it, is like cooking… you are happy after all.