If you’re a rocket enthusiast, then the museums at NASA are a must. I’m a little bit of a rocket nerd so I found it pretty exciting. That, plus being a photo nerd, was a perfect combo. Also, you get a leeway when it comes to using extreme HDR when taking photos of all this epic hardware.
I made the photo below with Luminar — it’s a really fun tool and I recommend it. To see more about it, see my Luminar Review here on the site.
Daily Photo – The Final Night
Here’s a photo I’ve only recently processed even though the last flight of the space shuttle was quite a long time ago. I felt very lucky to go out to the launch pad on the final night… I felt like I was in a science fiction movie. Unfortunately, tripods were not allowed (why?), so I had to keep my unsteady hands as steady as possible!
Here is part 1 of something I did with Fox News. I know many of you saw it live, but in case you missed, click play below! 🙂
No More Space Shuttle
It’s kind of a bummer, eh? I wish NASA had something exciting on the heels of the space shuttle to get everyone excited. Surely they have designed some awesome new ships… let’s see them and get ’em up there! 🙂
Daily Photo – The Shuttle Machine
I went out to the launchpad during the “retraction event” which is quite exciting. Well, it’s kind of exciting because it’s all in slow motion. The unit retracts very very slowly – so slowly you barely even notice it. The whole thing takes over an hour, but it’s still pretty cool.
About halfway through, I got the feeling that the shuttle was intertwined into this huge, hulking machine, and that is when I grabbed this shot.
So, if you know Richard Branson, show him these NASA Photos… Tell him you know me and you want to get us together so I can take photos of his rocket ship. I don’t know the guy yet, but I have a feeling we’d get along well.
Daily Photo – After the Blast Off
One thing that impressed me after the shuttle took off was the shadow across the top of the clouds. I had never seen anything like it, and it was completely unexpected. Of course, it makes perfect sense, but it’s one of those little after-the-fact-obvious things that makes you happy.
I have another offer to jump out of a plane with the US Army Golden knights DURING an upcoming rocket launch… and I can take photos on the descent. That sounds pretty dang awesome and tough!
Want to see more photos from NASA? Or how about Patagonia? Remember you can click on the categories on the right or at the bottom of the post!
Daily Photo – Endeavor to the Beyond
This photo was a bit of an accident.
I was as close as humanly possible to the launch, on the edge of the media area in the NASA compound. When the shuttle blasts off, there is a long delay before you hear the thing. Right when I took this, the first staccato wave ripped through my skeleton. I think I just hit the trigger out of fear and shock combined! But, it came out pretty good, all the same.
We already have the very popular HDR Tutorial here on the site that shows you how to make these sorts of photos. But, I thought you’d like to know that I’m going to update the whole thing and show you how I made the first space shuttle shot below. I like to update the tutorial every three months or so, but this one will have many excellent updates… so get ready for that!
Best of NASA
I’m sad the Space Shuttle program is ending, but NASA says it’s not the end of human spaceflight for the US. Since I was lucky enough to be invited by NASA, I got to go into a cool area to see some of the next-generation capsules they’ll be putting atop new rockets. I didn’t know if I was allowed to get photos or not… but I will talk to them and see if we can arrange something special in the future.
Anyway, I wanted to put some of my favorite NASA shots below for you… sort of a celebration of awesomeness.
I felt lucky to be one of the last people to get a NASA escort out to the launch pad, on this final night for the Space Shuttle program and the Atlantis. It was truly beautiful evening, and things were peaceful and calm. I felt like I had a personal moment with the mighty rocket… I’ll never forget it.
There is an important retraction event that takes place about 24 hours before the actual launch… it is a special time… I think of it like an athlete taking off his sweats before an Olympic event.
NASA also has all sorts of these awesome “relics” laying around, just generally sitting there and being awesome. But, the Saturn V is already impossibly awesome.
18 minutes till the launch. Newsmen from around the world go live while they go through their Ron Burgundy vocal preparations.
Both launches saw incredible storms hit the VAB (Vehicle Assembly Building) a day before the planned launch. This one rolled in the first time I visited NASA… I’ll never forget it because I was standing by Levar Burton and a NASA gal came out and said, “We have a Level 2 lighting alert! You have to get inside!” To this, Levar Burton asked, “Is that anything like a Level 3 Diagnostic?”
This is my favorite shot of Endeavor as it wormholed into the low cloud layer. It was still accelerating at this point, so it looked like the cloud literally “sucked” it up.<
I had a great day at NASA. I haven’t slept much… I’m really on fumes at this point. But it was all worth it and a very nice experience all around.
After the shuttle went off and broke through the clouds, I turned around for a while to collect my thoughts… Unbeknownst to me, my friend Stu Maschwitz (from Prolost.com) took this photo of me… I don’t post a lot of these, but thought you might like to see it… BTW, Stu’s wife is making some awesome shuttle tees that are stylish and unique…might be worth a look if you are a fan of all this space stuff like me!
Robert Scoble also posted a photo of me before the launch itself. He ended up with a nice shot too… I told him right where to stand, and he was so excited when he got the shot! Haha it was hilarious because he came running across the field, waving his laptop in the air yelling, “I love you Trey! I love you Trey!” Hehe…but, besides the good advice on the spot, he still got a great shot at 400mm on his own.
Daily Photo – The Shuttle Rips Space/Time at the End of an Era
I’ll try to describe the sound.
Since this is as close as you can get, and this is 3 miles away, it takes a while for the sound to get to you. And it does rush across the water in a rumbling, tumbling way like you might expect. But then, after that, something other than sound starts to come across the water. It’s a series of concussive waves that vibrate your entire skeleton and thrum through your soul. It’s not a steady din of vibration, but a violent staccato rhythm of unseen forces that cause a tremulous cadence around and through your chest.
This is the final space shuttle launch of our lives. And so we could not help but be reminded of this finality when this unearthly sound combined with the final sight of the lonely craft arcing away into space.
Today: Google+ Hangout Live from NASA at 11:15 EST
Join me on Google+ today at exactly 11:15 AM when I’ll be doing a LIVE Video Hangout. Only a limited number of people can get in, so be ready to click to join the hangout! New to this stuff? Here are some video hangout tips I made.
Yesterday I did a very cool live broadcast video hangout from NASA with Google+. We had people from all over the world connecting while I was on video on my laptop approaching the launch pad. We all went through a few levels of security together (I made everyone be quiet), then we approached the VAB, saw some of the media center, before finally getting to the launch pad. I’ll do another live Google+ Hangout tomorrow during my setup and you guys can ask questions…or just…hangout!
Interview with Scoble
Robert Scoble is here with me at the NASA event (along with many other people). After a little #NASATweetup session yesterday, he grabbed me for a quick interview about photography (click link to listen), and how I was planning to this trip in particular. Enjoy!
Daily Photo – Final Night of the Space Shuttle
I was completely soaked after laying in mosquito-invested waters for an uncomfortably long time. At one point, a concerned French news reporter came up to me and said, “Excuse me, but you’re quite covered in bugs.” It must have been pretty bad for him to come over and say that… I think perhaps he thought I was dead because I stayed in the same position for so long, trying to zen-focus on the shot.
This is the Space Shuttle Atlantis, in case you do not know. It’s also the final space shuttle launch, ever. So, it’s incredibly special, and I’m happy I got to spend time with the ship on its final night.
Bonus Photo – The Countdown Clock at Sunrise
And this is the famous countdown clock. Scott Kublin and I woke up before 5 AM to start setting up our remote cameras. One of them Leo Laporte Fed-exed to me overnight so we could have time to set it up… we put those inside the blast zone and set them up to automatically fire at the launch. We made a behind-the-scenes video to show how everything was done… it will be edited and shared soon… but, in the meantime, here is what I saw first thing in the morning upon arrival to NASA.
Also, Robert Scoble (and many others) will be with me at the launch, and I figure we’ll be using Google+ quite a bit too to post updates, photos, and the like, so that’s another fun place to watch.
Daily Photo – Sun Busting Through Stormclouds at NASA
I was in the Tweetup tent doing something terribly important but completely inscrutable when Stu Maschwitz came in and told me that the storm clouds were breaking upon our shores. So I got my little rig and went outside to see the matter.
We get these kind of huge powerful summer clouds in Texas too. The kind that roll in on a too-hot day and you have a feeling that something powerful is a-comin’. You tie down the cows and take the favorite sheep down to the basement because it’s gonna be a long night…
The sun darted in and out of the clouds, and I grabbed it just as it peeked through a small hole it tore in the thunderhead.
I’m coming in for the final shuttle launch and I heard about a secret thing… Nikon has a special room/building at NASA that is full of lenses and all kinds of awesome stuff! I just need my NPS (Nikon Professional Services) card and I can be a kid in a candy store. Now, all of this sounds way too good to be true, but I’ll swoop in there to get the full scoop and let you know. (I even heard they have a 1200mm prime laying around!)
Daily Photo – The Endeavor Lifts Off
So, when I took this, I was using two different cameras. The first one was my D3X with the 28-300mm lens on a tripod, and that is how I got this one. It’s an HDR from a single RAW.
Not long after this, the buffer filled up and it started to shoot slowly, so I went to my second camera around my neck, the D3S with a 50mm prime. And I got the second shot below.