Friday, July 31, 2009

Photos of shuttle landing | Can't you hear the thunder?

Space shuttle Endeavour let its presence known with two loud sonic booms Friday as it entered the airspace over the Space Coast. The twin roars seemed louder than usual. Unfortunately, I didn't record it this time (I did last time). Instead, I shot still images of the landing for the first time with my new telephoto lens. This first photo was taken before most people at Titusville's Space View Park had even caught a glimpse of the spaceship; I knew what I was looking for this time.

After circling around, the shuttle makes a steeper descent toward Kennedy Space Center. The view wasn't spectacular as it dropped because of yet another hot, hazy summer day in Central Florida.

Endeavour levels out as it approaches the ground. Two kayakers get a magnificent view from the middle of the Indian River.

People on the end of the pier look on or take photos as Endeavour prepares for its touchdown at 10:48 a.m. Friday. Another successful, safely completed mission for NASA.


Will Hawkins II (Liam) said...

Great shots!!! What was your location? What lens did you use? What should someone be watching for if they want to try to capture the shuttle approach?


Andrew Knapp said...

Thank you.

I was at Space View Park in Titusville, probably the best public place to watch both a liftoff and a landing because it's directly across the Indian River from the landing strip and the launch complex. And I used a 150-500mm Sigma zoom lens on my Nikon D90. All of these shots were zoomed in to 500mm. If you can get your hands on a more powerful lens, by all means do.

As far as tips for shooting from Titusville, you'd probably want to set your exposure and focus on the sky and clouds. That'll get you prepared. You'll hear the sonic booms about five minutes before the landing time, then you probably should be looking to the north for a faint white object moving eastward. Then fire away as the shuttle moves rapidly and steeply down to Kennedy Space Center.

Will Hawkins II (Liam) said...

Excellent! Still loving the shots ;)

I'll be heading over there tomorrow with a 100-400mm & 2x multiplier. I'll lose some aperture and sharpness, but at least I'll have a shot at catching it & the flexibility of zoom.

Thanks for the info!

Andrew Knapp said...

Tomorrow should be interesting, too, because it's only 30 minutes or so before sunset. You might get some pinkish clouds in your shots. Unfortunately, I cannot make it because of work. Just one warning, though: The weather doesn't look great, so the landing attempt could get scrubbed.