Launch of STS-123, Endeavour, lifts off from launch pad 39A at Cape Canaveral, FL at 2:28 a.m.., photo taken from Titusville, FL. 3-shot composite, each shot lasting about 20-25 seconds.
Witnessing this launch was a dream come true for me. I hear that from a lot of my storm chasing customers after they see their first tornado. Storms are something that I try really hard to not take for granted, but after being witness to so many of them there is a little part of me that expects I’ll always see more. What am I trying to say? I come from a family who has a long track record of involvement with NASA, from engineers during Apollo to techs at JPL. But, for me I have never witnessed a launched – until March 11, 2008, despite being a huge “space buff”. I didn’t want to spoil the memories by watching this through the viewfinder and being a night launch I knew that indeed it was a rather rare opportunity. So, I opted to go wide and take several long exposures while I pressed a button on my remote and otherwise just ignored my camera altogether ~ I wanted to see this launch with my own eyes and record it to the best medium I have to record on ~ my human memory. The actual launch photo was of course washed out by the “artificial sunrise” just 10 miles to my east, but after reviewing all the shots I was lucky enough to get, I was able to piece together this 3-shot composite. It is my new favorite, and I think it will stay there for sometime. My chest still thumps when I close my eyes and replay the launch all over again – for just a few seconds, time seemed to stand still while I watched the force of the massive rockets propel an international team into the heavens of the night sky. They quickly disappeared behind the clouds and for the first time in I really don’t know how long, I can relate to how my customers feel when they see their first tornado.