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 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

  • incredible moment… thanks for sharing it with us. Love this photo, it’s perfect for the emptiness.
    And it’s fun to get the jump on Thelonious and your mom! 🙂

  • Susan

    You captured the awesome moment perfectly Trey – hard to believe it’s at an end now – has been so much a part of my life and was always so fun to watch and learn about. Love the photos of you too!

  • Poetic, that sound is something I can only imagine… It’s more than a sound really, more of a whole body experience. That photo of you is a good one mate, sums you up perfectly!
    PS: You know we all love you, hehe…

  • PeterG

    Great interpretation of the final launch Trey. I remember thirty years ago when I was running home after school to watch the first launch live on the telly. Time flies…

  • I cant describe why I love this picture so much, but if I ever had the money to buy one of your prints this would be the first one I would buy.

  • Great shots!

    I watched the whole build-up to take off live from my office computer – that was the first time i had seen all the activity in thw white room and in the shuttle just prior to take-off – it was all very interesting to see. Caught the launch later on when i got home from work – that might have been the last but it was just as amazing as Columbia taking off for the 1st time in ’81.

  • Patrick Ahles

    Very dramatic shot, Trey! It truly captures the fact that this was the last launch ever of a Space Shuttle. Stunning.

  • I agree with Matthew, I imagine having this above my bed…sweet! 🙂 Great shot of you! Everyone can see it bigger here ( )
    BUT … this pic( )SUCKS! Holding a CANON and smiling? Canon? Really? Please explain. I’m sure it’s a joke, but I don’t get it. :-/

  • john parkes

    I live very near the launch site…35 miles or so…you did a very nice job describing the ‘feel’ of a shuttle launch. Even from this distance there is very little drop off of sound or the physical impact that comes a moment or two later, and i have been in the press area for a night launch which remains the most amazing experience of my life.
    There is also another phenomenon related to the shuttle that gets almost no media attention, but is an amazing part of Florida’s shuttle experience, the landing and its double sonic boom…it never fails to startle you, it causes the dishes in your kitchen cabinets to rattle, your sliding glass door to visibly flex like a drum head in its reflected light…and will cause you to jump out of bed at three am in a panic!
    Terrific shot of the flight Trey, if a bit dark and moody…and perhaps thats appropriate for a last flight…

  • Great photos Trey – what an amazing experience for you… one to never forget, yeah! Reading how you described the launch/take-off… it sounds very similar to the earthquakes we’ve been having here in Canterbury, NZ! 😉

  • Wow… such a striking shot. I love the super inky-black smoke that just pops against the bright sky. And the rocket itself looks so tiny against that vast expanse of foreboding sky. Stunning black and white stuff!

  • Stunning shot Trey ! The contrasty black and white works perfectly and gives it such an impact yet also a timeless quality. I could see this hanging on many walls !

  • Harbles

    On a pillar of fire and smoke Atlantis rises out of Earth’s gravity well to fly the heavens one last time.
    A little dark and moody but appropriate I think. I think your Mom should be extra proud of you this week. Thanks again for doing what you do.

  • Ben

    I love the dark/light transition from burning smoke to fire against the clouds. The toning and processing really give you a since of the mood. Great shot and something totally unexpected from you.

  • Blindingly good image, you really captured the event in a totally poetic way. Totally nailed it. Also loved the reflection shot, NASA should be looking to employ you.

  • Great series, Trey. And what an awesome experience for you, as you captured an historic moment in time.

  • Great image! The choice of black and white really makes the rocket stand out!

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  • Trey this shot is awesome! You have so many great ones your time at NASA but I think this might be my favorite..I dont know, I just love the dark tones, and the fact that it has an abstract look to it. It also matches the tone of your story, thanks for the pic and all your work!

  • Danny

    This shot beautifully illustrates the scale of space exploration. We’re but a spec on the canvas of life. Truly mind blowing!

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