[39/365] STS-130: Endeavour Shuttle Launch

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    Monday, February 8, 2010 - 4:14 AM EST

    Note: Best viewed while listening to Mission Control on SomaFM.

    Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the space shuttleEndeavour. Its 13-day mission: to install a connecting module to the International Space Station that will (1) expand the area for crew members, life support, and environmental control systems; and (2) provide a panoramic view of Earth, celestial objects, and visiting spacecrafts through a 7-window cupola. To boldly go where few humans have gone before.

    (I couldn't resist. What can I say? Witnessing our shuttle program'sfinal night launch makes one a bit sappy.)

    Almost 24 hours after Sunday morning's early morning launch was scrubbed due to unfavorable weather, Endeavour successfully ascended into space under perfect viewing conditions. It was poetic -- a tiny glowing sun swiftly rose, traversed the sky, and disappeared amongst the stars.

    I'm not a morning person, and two consecutive days of pre-dawn awakening is a danger that I would normally avoid. At that hour, I typically wake in a state of confusion and have conversations with the voices in my alarm clock. However, I managed to pop out of bed at approximately 4:10 AM, grabbed my camera and tripod, and stepped outside my back door into what felt like an icebox to set up just in time. My settings and framing were similar to those I used for the Discovery launch last August. Granted, that shot was taken at a shorter focal length and cropped quite a bit, but it's incredible to compare the low light sensitivity of the D60 vs. the D700! Interestingly, Discovery's booster exhaust plume was visible, whereas Endeavour's was not -- presumably due to the dryer air and a slight wind.

    I'm pleased with the shadow detail & the wispy patches of cirrus clouds. And how 'bout those star trails?! I didn't get to set a shutter delay, which caused the slight hiccup at the beginning of the shuttle trail. The Nikon 80-200mm is known for ghosting & lens flares, and my lens captured a few. I attempted to minimize them in post-production; you can especially see them at large view. I adjusted the white balance to counteract some of the sodium vapor light from street lamps.

    There's no way to capture the true awesomeness of a night launch. I just tried to make it look cool. Let me know what you think!

    buckchristensen, althocks, and 26 other people added this photo to their favorites.

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    1. Lois_WA 63 months ago | reply

      WOW. Beautiful shot of an historic moment!!! Thanks for getting up and sharing it with us! Saw the shuttle land once at Edwards in CA... but this is so much more awesome.

    2. Claudia Sharon Moore [deleted] 63 months ago | reply

      WOW!!! This is really unbelievably amazing! I'm so glad I could see this through your beautiful photo. I can hardly imagine what it would've looked like in person. Stunning work, Lindsay! :-)

    3. LunarDakotaPhotography 63 months ago | reply

      I am so jealous that you got this!

    4. shadows57 [deleted] 63 months ago | reply

      wow! totally awesome shot!

    5. bunnyfrogs 63 months ago | reply

      Incredible! If I lived there I'd be waking up for it too. I have always stayed up for the meteor showers. Cool stuff happens in the wee hours!
      Seen in my contacts' photos. ( ?² )

    6. fly280zx/Andrew 63 months ago | reply

      Pretty spectacular shot you've got here! I am not a morning person either. Which is why I just stayed up both nights. There is no way I am waking up up at 4:10am unless it is work related. (money)

    7. lighthack 63 months ago | reply

      Wow! Great shot!

    8. agmeadows 63 months ago | reply

      wow. what a dedication to photography! great shot and narrative.

    9. althocks 63 months ago | reply

      This is the only Shuttle launch photo I can recall seeing that has star trails! Well done!

    10. degrassifan [deleted] 63 months ago | reply

      If NASA knows what's good for it then it will contact you and purchase the rights to this beautiful shot!

    11. garnatha 62 months ago | reply

      now that is cool! brilliant (and rare) shot well done

    12. pea g. 61 months ago | reply

      Thank you for all your comments, everyone!

      I snapped Discovery this morning... please stop by for a visit! :-D

    13. -hedgey- 61 months ago | reply

      this is so cool Lindsay !!

    14. Hanoverian 60 months ago | reply

      Hi, I'm an admin for a group called Mix PICTURE FOR EVERYONE, and we'd love to have this added to the group!

    15. TimeFlowsFree 53 months ago | reply

      perfect lighting. man..some great quick thinking on how to go about shooting that

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