"There were people beside me that had never seen a launch before and they said, 'Oh wow, isn't that cool!' Well, I knew right then this was a disaster," Photojournalist Red Huber remarks in this video interview, in which he talks about his history covering the shuttle program, forming personal relationships with the astronauts, and the events and mood of that fateful day.
No one outside of NASA knows shuttle launches better than Red Huber. He covered them for thirty years, from the very first to the very last, and because of that, he came to know many of NASA's astronauts personally from photographing them in training and photo ops.
They get to know you, because, you know, when you cover a beat like this, you've got to make those connections, and it's amazing how much I value those relationships. You know, I've got to document this moment, but in the other side of me, I'm thinking, 'Oh my gosh.' You know, I think of Judy Resnik, I think of Christa McAuliffe, I think of all... I think about the commander. I think about all of the people I got to meet, and it kind of personalizes it more so. You still, as a photojournalist, you have to stay down the middle and separate. You can't let your emotions affect the photograph. Then, it becomes not a true moment. But I still captured from my angle what I saw.
Check out this article from the Poynter Institute to read another interview and learn more about Huber and his history of photographing shuttle launches. You can also see several of his iconic photos in a pictorial retrospective the Orlando Sentinel put together as a tribute to those who died.