Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Green alien spaceship instead of Delta rocket

The green light from an Air Force helicopter streaks through this 19-second exposure made in Cocoa Beach. The chopper originates, of course, over the spotlights of Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral, where it had been hovering for the Delta IV liftoff that never happened.

A Delta IV rocket pregnant with a new type of Global Positioning System satellite has struggled to get off the ground since Friday. On Monday night, technicians scrubbed its third launch attempt because of a glitch.

Friday, which I had off from work, was the worst of it for me, though. That's when I drove halfway to my launch-shooting location only to realize that I had forgotten my camera. I had grabbed my camera bag, but the Nikon itself was still resting comfortably on the couch. Keeping an eye out for the police, I sped home, picked up the camera and arrived at the beach in time for the launch, only to hear that it was postponed.

That forgetful episode was the second in as many nights. After a newspaper assignment Thursday, I placed my iPhone atop my car to free my hands and load my camera equipment into the vehicle. Fortunately, as my car reached 40 mph, the phone tumbled off the roof and landed on top of the trunk. It stayed there as I pulled to the roadside and rescued it.

Lucky or not, though, I'm losing my mind, apparently.

The launch was scrubbed hours ahead of time Sunday, so no harm there. I stayed home and ate pizza. And drank some pop.

On Monday, I left work and went to south Cocoa Beach for the 11:13 p.m. liftoff, only for it to be scrubbed with six seconds remaining in the countdown. Some large clouds offshore were moving northward toward the launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, and they were lit by a bright moon. I placed my tripod strategically at the edge of the surging Atlantic Ocean. And as I tried to shoot the clouds and their reflections on the wet beach, an Air Force helicopter flew along the shoreline.

Not exactly the streak shot I was going for, but it's better than nothing.

No comments: