The Shuttle Rips Space/Time at the End of an Era

 

After the Shuttle Atlantis

HDR PhotoI had a great day at NASA. I haven’t slept much… I’m really on fumes at this point. But it was all worth it and a very nice experience all around.

After the shuttle went off and broke through the clouds, I turned around for a while to collect my thoughts… Unbeknownst to me, my friend Stu Maschwitz (from Prolost.com) took this photo of me… I don’t post a lot of these, but thought you might like to see it… BTW, Stu’s wife is making some awesome shuttle tees that are stylish and unique…might be worth a look if you are a fan of all this space stuff like me!

Robert Scoble also posted a photo of me before the launch itself. He ended up with a nice shot too… I told him right where to stand, and he was so excited when he got the shot! Haha it was hilarious because he came running across the field, waving his laptop in the air yelling, “I love you Trey! I love you Trey!” Hehe…but, besides the good advice on the spot, he still got a great shot at 400mm on his own.

Daily Photo – The Shuttle Rips Space/Time at the End of an Era

I’ll try to describe the sound.

Since this is as close as you can get, and this is 3 miles away, it takes a while for the sound to get to you. And it does rush across the water in a rumbling, tumbling way like you might expect. But then, after that, something other than sound starts to come across the water. It’s a series of concussive waves that vibrate your entire skeleton and thrum through your soul. It’s not a steady din of vibration, but a violent staccato rhythm of unseen forces that cause a tremulous cadence around and through your chest.

This is the final space shuttle launch of our lives. And so we could not help but be reminded of this finality when this unearthly sound combined with the final sight of the lonely craft arcing away into space.

HDR Photo

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Final Night of the Space Shuttle

 

Today: Google+ Hangout Live from NASA at 11:15 EST

Join me on Google+ today at exactly 11:15 AM when I’ll be doing a LIVE Video Hangout. Only a limited number of people can get in, so be ready to click to join the hangout! New to this stuff? Here are some video hangout tips I made.

Yesterday I did a very cool live broadcast video hangout from NASA with Google+. We had people from all over the world connecting while I was on video on my laptop approaching the launch pad. We all went through a few levels of security together (I made everyone be quiet), then we approached the VAB, saw some of the media center, before finally getting to the launch pad. I’ll do another live Google+ Hangout tomorrow during my setup and you guys can ask questions…or just…hangout!

Interview with Scoble

Robert Scoble is here with me at the NASA event (along with many other people). After a little #NASATweetup session yesterday, he grabbed me for a quick interview about photography (click link to listen), and how I was planning to this trip in particular. Enjoy!

Daily Photo – Final Night of the Space Shuttle

I was completely soaked after laying in mosquito-invested waters for an uncomfortably long time. At one point, a concerned French news reporter came up to me and said, “Excuse me, but you’re quite covered in bugs.” It must have been pretty bad for him to come over and say that… I think perhaps he thought I was dead because I stayed in the same position for so long, trying to zen-focus on the shot.

This is the Space Shuttle Atlantis, in case you do not know. It’s also the final space shuttle launch, ever. So, it’s incredibly special, and I’m happy I got to spend time with the ship on its final night.

HDR Photo

Bonus Photo – The Countdown Clock at Sunrise

And this is the famous countdown clock. Scott Kublin and I woke up before 5 AM to start setting up our remote cameras. One of them Leo Laporte Fed-exed to me overnight so we could have time to set it up… we put those inside the blast zone and set them up to automatically fire at the launch. We made a behind-the-scenes video to show how everything was done… it will be edited and shared soon… but, in the meantime, here is what I saw first thing in the morning upon arrival to NASA.

The Countdown Clock at Sunrisethis is the famous countdown clock. Scott Kublin and I woke up before 5 AM to start setting up our remote cameras. One of them Leo Laporte Fed-exed to me overnight so we could have time to set it up… we put those inside the blast zone and set them up to automatically fire at the launch. We made a behind-the-scenes video to show how everything was done… it will be edited and shared soon… but, in the meantime, here is what I saw first thing in the morning upon arrival to NASA.- Trey RatcliffRead the whole entry here at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Daily Photo – Test daily photos – 1

Blurb number 1

Test daily photos – 1

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/3.5
  • ISO400
  • Focal Length50mm (50mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

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Sun Busting Through Stormclouds at NASA

 

Want to follow the pre-launch activities?

Follow me @TreyRatcliff and the #NASATweetup hashtag on Twitter.

Also, Robert Scoble (and many others) will be with me at the launch, and I figure we’ll be using Google+ quite a bit too to post updates, photos, and the like, so that’s another fun place to watch.

Daily Photo – Sun Busting Through Stormclouds at NASA

I was in the Tweetup tent doing something terribly important but completely inscrutable when Stu Maschwitz came in and told me that the storm clouds were breaking upon our shores. So I got my little rig and went outside to see the matter.

We get these kind of huge powerful summer clouds in Texas too. The kind that roll in on a too-hot day and you have a feeling that something powerful is a-comin’. You tie down the cows and take the favorite sheep down to the basement because it’s gonna be a long night…

The sun darted in and out of the clouds, and I grabbed it just as it peeked through a small hole it tore in the thunderhead.

Sun Busting Through Stormclouds at NASAI was in the Tweetup tent doing something terribly important but completely inscrutable when Stu Maschwitz came in and told me that the storm clouds were breaking upon our shores.  So I got my little rig and went outside to see the matter.We get these kind of huge powerful summer clouds in Texas too.  The kind that roll in on a too-hot day and you have a feeling that something powerful is a-comin'.  You tie down the cows and take the favorite sheep down to the basement because it's gonna be a long night...The sun darted in and out of the clouds, and I grabbed it just as it peeked through a small hole it tore in the thunderhead.- Trey RatcliffRead more here at the Stuck in Customs blog.

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The Endeavor Lifts Off

 

OTW To Florida

I’m coming in for the final shuttle launch and I heard about a secret thing… Nikon has a special room/building at NASA that is full of lenses and all kinds of awesome stuff! I just need my NPS (Nikon Professional Services) card and I can be a kid in a candy store. Now, all of this sounds way too good to be true, but I’ll swoop in there to get the full scoop and let you know. (I even heard they have a 1200mm prime laying around!)

Daily Photo – The Endeavor Lifts Off

So, when I took this, I was using two different cameras. The first one was my D3X with the 28-300mm lens on a tripod, and that is how I got this one. It’s an HDR from a single RAW.

Not long after this, the buffer filled up and it started to shoot slowly, so I went to my second camera around my neck, the D3S with a 50mm prime. And I got the second shot below.

The Endeavor Lifts OffSo, when I took this, I was using two different cameras. The first one was my D3X with the 28-300mm lens on a tripod, and that is how I got this one. It’s an HDR from a single RAW.Not long after this, the buffer filled up and it started to shoot slowly, so I went to my second camera around my neck, the D3S with a 50mm prime. And I got this shot.- Trey RatcliffRead the rest of this entry here at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Space Shuttle

 

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Girl In Ocean

 

Big Lenses

Are you the type of person that uses big lenses a lot? I admire you! I don’t…and after lugging this 600mm around for a while, I really got a good sense of what some of the hardcore bird/animal photographers do…

Daily Photo – Girl in Ocean

I got this 600mm from BorrowLenses.com to take photos of the shuttle on my first trip. Since the shuttle didn’t take off, Scott and I decided to go to the beach and take photos of girls from a distance like real creeps. I openly admit it… we looked downright creepy up there with two huge lenses, peering in every which direction until we saw something interesting.

Then I saw this gal splashing around in the waves with her friends… seemed like a good subject so I took a few shots. With the 600mm I was so far away, that she would have had no idea I was taking them. This made it all feel even more sketchy, but, you know, having said all that, I’m quite happy with the shot.

Girl in OceanI got this 600mm from BorrowLenses.com to take photos of the shuttle on my first trip.  Since the shuttle didn't take off, Scott and I decided to go to the beach and take photos of girls from a distance like real creeps.  I openly admit it... we looked downright creepy up there with two huge lenses, peering in every which direction until we saw something interesting.  Then I saw this gal splashing around in the waves with her friends... seemed like a good subject so I took a few shots.  With the 600mm I was so far away, that she would have had no idea I was taking them.  This made it all feel even more sketchy, but, you know, having said all that, I'm quite happy with the shot.- Trey RatcliffRead the rest here at the Stuck in Customs blog.

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The Shuttle Prepares

Another Shuttle Launch

I’m so excited to be going back for the final launch of the Atlantis! It’s all so awesome… and, even be there, it will be during my 40th birthday. Even though my happenstance revolutions around the sun at 1 AU are a completely arbitrary measurement of age, it’s the one we all use, so there ya go.

Gordon’s Launch Experience

My friend Gordon Laing from CameraLabs.com made his own video when we were out there together, which he recently entered into the Queenstown Film Festival. It’s pretty cool – because he’s a friend, we stayed in the same hotel, and so on… the only difference is that I flew back for the actual launch while he watched from New Zealand. See his video here.

Daily Photo – The Shuttle Prepares

On the day before the launch, I was ushered out a few football fields away from the shuttle. It was surreal being so close, even though I wanted to be closer…closer…closer…. but the 28-300 (See the Nikon 28-300 Review) was plenty lens enough to get in tight so you can see all the details of the shuttle and the launch facility skunkworks…

See all my NASA shots here…

The Shuttle PreparesOn the day before the launch, I was ushered out a few football fields away from the shuttle.  It was surreal being so close, even though I wanted to be closer...closer...closer....  but the 28-300 (See the Nikon 28-300 Review) was plenty lens enough to get in tight so you can see all the details of the shuttle and the launch facility skunkworks...See all my NASA shots here...- Trey RatcliffRead more here at the Stuck in Customs blog.

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The Mighty Rocket Rests

The Google +1 Button


This is Google’s new thing…. if you trust this site and like it, go ahead and click the +1. It’s like the Facebook Like, except it will help with search results! (or something)

Daily Photo – The Mighty Rocket Rests

I had some time during the day while at NASA to visit the Kennedy Space Center. Inside was the insanely huge Saturn V rocket. It’s one of those things that would hurt like hell if you dropped it on your toe.

The shuttle only has one more launch before it is forever mothballed, like this… The final launch of the Atlantis is on July 8, the first day of my 40th revolution around the sun. That’s kinda cool I think…

HDR Photo

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NASA Tweetup Recap

New Video Interview – While at NASA…

I did this video interview with Jesse from Aputure. I did this one while waiting around for the shuttle to go off last week… and you can see some other behind-the-scenes stuff I suppose. BTW, I am the worst at doing interviews in a timely manner. Jesse sent me this in November of 2010, and I am just now getting used to it… I have many other interviews queued up in my inbox… and I’ll get to them eventually. Sorry it’s just a busy time.

Daily Photo(s) – A collection from Cape Canaveral

I still have many unreleased shuttle photos, but I thought you might enjoy some of the other bits and pieces that I have posted below. I’ll put captions under each one for you.

NASA

18 minutes till the launch. Newsmen from around the world go live while they go through their Ron Burgundy vocal preparations.

NASA

Close to 1,000 tripods set up inside the NASA "circle of extreme lenses and egos"

NASA

last-minute preparations are made are the launch pad for Endeavour

Some Tweetup celebrities…

The Tweetup had a few people there that maybe you’ve heard of… First is Seth Green, who I first started watching on Buffy and Greg the Bunny (of which, I have seen every episode, I’m happy to say – see the Tardy the Turtle compilation for an idea of the show). Second there is his wife Clare Grant, who you might just enjoy in Geek and Gamer Girls video. The third photo is Abraham Benrubi, who you might remember from ER and Parker Lewis… also, don’t you think Abe should play one of the roles in Game of Thrones on HBO? I think so! Plus, like me, he’s memorized most of the book! Also, Abe is a regular visitor here to the site, which was a nice surprise to find out after meeting him.

Seth Green

Seth Green runs up the stairs at the Tweetup after some lame photographer tried to get a photo of him while inside the port-o-potty.

Clare Grant

Clare Grant tweets away on her computer while sitting by Seth inside the Tweetup tent.

Abe Benrubi

Abe Benrubi makes a face at his wife Nicole Solomon while she musses his hair to show how unruly it's become ever since he started growing it out.

More NASA & Space Shuttle Photos

I have many more NASA shots that I have posted and many more in the future…. to see them all, just visit the NASA category here on the site!

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The Beautiful Space Shuttle Blooms Inside a Cloud

New and Free eBooks Available

We have some new eBooks over at FlatBooks.com. There’s also a free one you get just for signing up for the newsletter, which we only send out about every two months or so. Enjoy!

Daily Photo: The Beautiful Space Shuttle Blooms Inside a Cloud

This is a 600mm lens, the typical large type of lens that many photographers use when taking space shuttle photos. Note that I can only hold a lens like this for five seconds before I scream in agony and curl into a fetal ball of pain.

(Edit: Welcome NPR, Today Show, Gizmodo, MSNBC and others for enjoying the shuttle photos and visiting – enjoy your stay!)

Staying awake for two days before getting this shot made my nerves a little frayed. As the countdown got inside the final two hours, I could feel myself in a strange mix of extreme fatigue and excitement. It’s a very strange feeling! And since this is the first launch I had ever seen, all my spidey-senses were tingling. This was also the final launch of the space shuttle Endeavor, so there was an extra layer of meaning on top of everything else.

I arrived right at 3 AM to set up my tripod (which, surprisingly, I did not use for this shot, but I’ll get to that in a minute). I then went into the press room to get everything organized for the upcoming event. I was also still spending time editing together the video for the webinar, since I know a lot of people miss the live version and like to download it after the event. So by the time the actual event rolled around, I was really starting to feel tired.

50mm

And here is the 50mm lens I actually used to get the shot. /me lurves it. This photo is from maestropastelero (click photo for link), creative commons, on Flickr

Even though I had my Nikon D3X set up on a tripod with my 28-300 lens, I actually shot this picture with my 50mm prime lens on my Nikon D3S! Everything did go according to plan, and I had run through the routine a few times before the launch. The plan was to fire away on my main body during the first 15 seconds or so. At that point, the D3X starts to have bufferring problems, so I switched to my Chewbacca-bandolier D3S. I pulled it up into a vertical orientation and rapid-fired just as the shuttle tore into the clouds.

As soon as the Endeavour worm-holed into the cloud layer, the strange staccato-bass of torn air came skipping across the water into the press area. The sound was not at all what I expected, but it was awesome dot com.

Space Shuttle

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The Mighty Rocket Awaits

A Super Long Day!

I woke up and jumped in the car immediately to head to NASA. I spent most of that on the little adventure I describe below, then came back to the hotel to run the webinar. After that, I worked on the photo below before editing together the video (which is still going on). And then I’ll begin a long upload before leaving just after 2 AM to get to NASA at 3AM. I gotta get my tripod set up in the perfect place for the launch that will happen a few hours later. No sleep… just rockets and photo-editing… a marathon of fun! But I’m doing it for Stu, Gordon, Abe, Scott, Cliff, and all my other friends like you guys that couldn’t be here with me.

Daily Photo – The Mighty Rocket Awaits

Today I had a great day at NASA. I’ve come back to the space coast in Florida to see the space shuttle Endeavor blast off, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Around noon, I was invited out with a group of other Twitter peeps to see the RRS Rollback event. This is the slow-motion but exciting time when they peel away to the Rotating Service Structure to reveal the shuttle. It was so awesome that I almost forgot to send a tweet.

The Mighty Rocket Awaits Today I had a great day at NASA.  I've come back to the space coast in Florida to see the space shuttle Endeavor blast off, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.Around noon, I was invited out with a group of other Twitter peeps to see the RRS Rollback event.  This is the slow-motion but exciting time when they peel away to the Rotating Service Structure to reveal the shuttle.  It was so awesome that I almost forgot to send a tweet. - Trey Ratcliff Read more here at stuckincustoms.com.

And, below, you can see a zoom in I took at 300mm. It shows one of the workers on the scaffolding making some final preparations for the launch.

This lens has quickly become one of my favorites. Some people complain that it is not very fast, but I don’t notice these things since I’m usually on a tripod. You can see more at the Nikon 28-300 Review.

The Mighty Rocket Awaits Today I had a great day at NASA. I’ve come back to the space coast in Florida to see the space shuttle Endeavor blast off, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed.Around noon, I was invited out with a group of other Twitter peeps to see the RRS Rollback event. This is the slow-motion but exciting time when they peel away to the Rotating Service Structure to reveal the shuttle. It was so awesome that I almost forgot to send a tweet.Here you can see a zoom in I took at 300mm. It shows one of the workers on the scaffolding making some final preparations for the launch.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

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