I had the fortunate opportunity of covering my first rocket launch through photography. While it was my second ever rocket launch, I brought away a lot more than just photos from this launch.

The launch:

SpaceX’s 7th Commercial Resupply Mission to the International Space Station.

I booked my ticket less than 1 week before SpaceX was to launch the Dragon capsule to the ISS.

I packed my bags and brought every camera I could, even asking friends and family to borrow cameras so I could cover every angle possible of the launch. My good friend Kevin lent me his Canon Rebel XS and my Uncle Brad lent me his, yes I know, Nikon D700.

I also brought along my Canon Rebel T5i and GoPro Hero 4 Black + my gear.

I arrived in Cape Canaveral on June 27th, the day before the rocket was due to launch. Even saw some gnarly thunderstorms on the flight in.

I picked up my rental car, and hung out the rest of the day.

Spent the evening shooting the sunset thunderstorms by the beach, but wasn’t able to get anything to turn out. My friend Mike Killian ended up with some stunning shots taken from Melbourne Beach.

After just a few hours, it was time to head out to the launch pad and setup remote sound-activated cameras:

The first comment on the post by my friend Talia:

“Can’t wait!!! Maybe it will be worth all the bug bites!”

That couldn’t be more accurate. The bugs were insane!

After setting my remote cameras, I edited pictures from them and came out with the following two shots:

Remote Setup; The Night Before

After sleeping for just a few hours on a couch, and several more in the car I witnessed an incredible sunrise over NASA’s Launchpad 39A:

After a few short hours more of waiting at the press site, we were cleared to take the hike up to the top of NASA’s Vehicle Assembly Building.

Thanks to WeReportSpace.com‘s Jared Haworth for this epic profile shot of me, taken with his Fujifilm X100T. I still cannot believe the fill flash feature of that camera.

My view through my uncle’s D700 and sigma 50-500. You can see the rocket standing tall and the lightning arresting towers.

Another pre-launch shot from the pad, thanks to Alexander Polimeni.

My resulting launch photos were some of my favorite photos I’ve taken:

Star Trails from the Launch Pad

 

Cables Away

 

 

 

Falcon 9 Has Cleared The Tower

The wide shots from the pad were captured thanks to my friend Kevin for lending me his Rebel XS and the shots from the roof of the VAB were thanks to my Uncle Brad.

I also have to give a big thank you to Mike Deep – who last minute lended me a sound activation trigger, showing me how to use it, and clueing me in on what settings I should use.

And a huge thanks to Walter Scriptunas II for showing me the ropes of launch photography and helping with settings for the shots and his previous launch photography for inspiration.

After an incredible experience, it is crazy to think I have allowed myself to be away for a whole year from rockets. I am hoping to be back down very soon and can’t wait to bring what I have learned over the past year to my launch photography game.

Also, happy birthday Elon Musk!