Author Topic: STS-134 (and STS-135): Photographic guidance  (Read 10730 times)

Offline STS-134

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Re: STS-134 (and STS-135): Photographic guidance
« Reply #20 on: 07/07/2011 05:41 PM »
Another detail: If you have a UV / Skylight / whatever filter on your lens, remove it for the launch as it will most likely cause flare and ghosting of the SRB flame.

Hmm, good advice.  I actually took my shots with a UV filter on (nobody told me to take off the filters) but I don't see any ghosting or flare.  I guess I just got lucky.

And I should re-emphasize, for those who have never seen a launch before: watch it with your own eyes.  The experience of seeing a launch in person is something that no camera can ever capture.  You don't want to "miss" the launch because you're watching it through a viewfinder!

The SRB flame is surprisingly bright, and there is no camera on the market with enough dynamic range to capture it, nor is there a display on the market with enough dynamic range to reproduce it.  Remember, just seeing this, and later hearing the roar of the rockets (that no subwoofer on the market can reproduce) is something that you can never go back to do.

When people ask me how bright the SRB flame is, I always tell them that it's similar to viewing the Sun in pictures vs. viewing the Sun in person.  The real thing is so bright that you can't look directly at it, but in photos you can stare at the spot of the Sun all day without damaging your eyes.  Of course, the reason nobody is surprised at seeing the Sun's brightness in person after viewing photos of it from a particular location is that everyone has seen the Sun; in contrast, very few people have had the opportunity to view a Shuttle launch.  But you can imagine that if you were born and lived in a cave all your life, and had only seen the Sun in pictures, you would be very surprised at its brightness when you first stepped out of that cave.  So those of you for whom this will be your first and last Shuttle launch, keep this in mind: you're like the person coming out of the cave and viewing the Sun for the first time.  The flame brightness from the SRBs WILL surprise you.  Take this opportunity to see it, because the photos you take will not capture it.  It's something you'll be able to take with you only in your memory.
« Last Edit: 07/07/2011 05:56 PM by STS-134 »

Offline Jez_H

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Re: STS-134 (and STS-135): Photographic guidance
« Reply #21 on: 07/07/2011 08:30 PM »
I have to say I agree with most of the advice on here. Based on my experiences of watching STS-133 it's certainly worth watching the launch with your own eyes. However if you have the equipment and know how, it's also worth photographing it.

STS-133 was my one and only Shuttle launch, and I'm so glad that I made the effort to photograph it. Ok, from the Causeway you're never going to get pics as good as the official NASA photos, but you can still produce something that you can hang on your wall with pride.

The use of a Tripod and remote release worked really well for me. I watched the actual launch with my own eyes while the camera clicked away on continuous shoot until the Shuttle got to the top of the frame. I then removed the camera from the tripod using the quick release and tracked the shuttle through climb-out up to SRB separation. I was quite happy to view the SRB separation through a camera lens because I could see it better with the long zoom that with my naked eye.

I had few focussing issues due to using manual focus, but I still managed to get a couple of "money shots".

If you want to see my album, it can be found here: http://s1109.photobucket.com/albums/h423/Jez_H/STS-133%20Shuttle%20Launch/


Offline Jez_H

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Re: STS-134 (and STS-135): Photographic guidance
« Reply #22 on: 07/07/2011 08:39 PM »
The SRB flame is surprisingly bright, and there is no camera on the market with enough dynamic range to capture it, nor is there a display on the market with enough dynamic range to reproduce it.

That's so true - I was amazed at how bright the flame was. However, if you "expose for the flame" (must shoot RAW) and then do a bit of photoshop work on the results you can come up with some interesting pics:

Offline STS-134

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Re: STS-134 (and STS-135): Photographic guidance
« Reply #23 on: 07/07/2011 09:05 PM »
The SRB flame is surprisingly bright, and there is no camera on the market with enough dynamic range to capture it, nor is there a display on the market with enough dynamic range to reproduce it.

That's so true - I was amazed at how bright the flame was. However, if you "expose for the flame" (must shoot RAW) and then do a bit of photoshop work on the results you can come up with some interesting pics:

Another piece of very good advice that I forgot to include: shoot in RAW mode.  It will allow you to correct for underexposure/overexposure after the fact to some extent, as well as to play around with the settings as you "develop" your picture to get different effects.  Remember, a RAW image is like a digital negative.  If you would want to keep the negatives for these photos, you want to create the RAWs.

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