Last Shuttle Project- The Waiting Game

The Lightspeed Media team came from all over the US to assemble in Florida for the launch of the Shuttle Discovery.  Originally set for Monday, the launch was delayed one day by the time we all gathered for our first meeting at the hotel.  We all began opening the huge pile of boxes and gear that we had shipped down here.  It looked like a photographers fantasy Christmas :)

As soon as our meeting was over we found out the the mission was delayed one more day- to Wednesday!  Delays are actually pretty common with Shuttle missions, so we weren’t too surprised.  But we knew that not much was going to happen now, and it did leave us with some free time.  And this is about as close as we would be getting to a shuttle for a couple of days

Since I grew up down here I knew where to take everyone for a little fun.  The Cocoa Beach Air Show is going on this weekend, so we went down to the pier to have some drinks and see the sights.  We arrived just in time to see the last few planes, but I did get a few good photos with the monster 50-500mm lens that we’ll be using for the shuttle photos.

And I think most people know that one of my favorite things to do is sit at the pier, have at least one margarita (maybe more), and photograph the surfers. The waves and the lighting were perfect today.  It really reminds me of all the time I spent here at the beach before I moved away.  If things go as planned we’ll probably head back to the pier Sunday in the afternoon to do the same thing!  Stay tuned~

Behind The Scenes Shuttle Story

The launch of the Discovery is quickly approaching.  One of the best parts of this Space Shuttle Project is that I have had a chance to work with one of my oldest friends.  I have known Rhonda for longer than either of us care to think about.  But we’ve never been involved in a large project together.  She lives near the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.  So when I heard that the Lightspeed Media team needed a photographer that lived in the area, I was happy to suggest her name.  The four photos on this blog post were all taken by her.

Last month about this time, Rhonda and I found ourselves crammed onto a NASA transport bus with dozens of other photographers from all over the world.  I was taking photos of the Discovery with a long telephoto lens.  Rhonda had a wide angle zoom on her camera.  This became important as we were leaving, when it turned out that our normal exit from the pad was blocked.  The NASA press guide said, “Our only option is to drive up across the launch pad, and get out that way.  But we are NOT stopping on the way!”

So we suddenly found ourselves heading straight toward the shuttle!  And of course we all wanted photos!  There were small, skinny access windows over the main windows on the bus.  Rhonda climbed over the guy sitting next to her, slid open the window, and stuck her arms out the bus to take some great shots as we drove under the launch pad structure.  

I desperately wanted to switch lenses.  But there was no easy way to get to my gear.  So I was stuck with the long lens.  I did get a few good shots out the back window as we drove away.  But Rhonda still managed to get one of my favorite candid moments from that day-

It just goes to show that a good photographer will do almost anything to get the good shot.  And luckily the nerdy guy sitting next to her didn’t seem to mind being climbed over :)