Inspiring Photos Of The American Space Shuttle Program

With the recent and unfortunate passing of Neil Armstrong, we're reminded of his legacy. We think back to the days of the Space Shuttle program and what it meant. If you've ever been fortunate to see a launch, you know how amazing it can be. Even as a photographic opportunity, you typically see photos of launches from a distance. Photographer, Dan Winters, captures these brilliant up close photos and other details of the Space Shuttle program. 

These images will be included as a part of his book titled, Last Launch: Discovery, Endeavor, Atlantis, available October 20, 2012.

Have you ever wondered how such images are captured, considering most images of launches are usually from such a long distance away? It becomes much more difficult to get shots at such a close distance at launch like he has:

“The work begins the day before launch, when he positions up to nine cameras as little as 700 ft. (213 m) away from the pad. Each camera is manually focused and set for the particular shot it is meant to capture, and the wheels of the lens are then taped into position so that they can’t be shaken out of focus when the engines are lit. Electronic triggers—of Winters’ own devising—that do react to the vibrations are attached to the cameras so that the shutter will start snapping the instant ignition occurs.

To prevent the cameras from tipping over on their tripods, Winters drills anchoring posts deep into the soil and attaches the tripods to them with the same tie-down straps truckers use to secure their loads. He also braces each leg of the tripod with 50-lb. (23 kg) sandbags to minimize vibration. Waterproof tarps protect the whole assembly until launch day, when they are removed and the cameras are armed. Throughout the launch, they fire at up to five frames per second. Only after the vehicle has vanished into the sky and the pad crew has inspected the area for brushfires, toxic residue and other dangers, are the photographers allowed to recover their equipment." - Source



















[Via My Modern Met via TIME]


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Nicholas Gonzalez's picture


Ghislain Leduc's picture

amazing images!

Michael Murphy's picture

Dan Winters. The pimp of pimps. Period.

Ralph Hightower's picture

I would love to get the access that news photographers get. Seeing a Space Shuttle launch in person has been on my bucket list for 30 years.

Last year, I was able to check off the top item with the final launch of Atlantis from the NASA Causeway
Launch (Film: Kodak Ektar 100):

During the final mission I received an email that NASA was hosting a Tweetup for the landing; so I headed back to Florida to see Atlantis land. I was next to the control tower, just two hundred yards from the runway. (Kodak BW400CN exposed at ISO 1600)

Steven David Branon's picture

Dan Winters will always remain one of my favorite photographers. His Images are fantastic. I feel as if I could go into a gallery of his work and never leave. So much to learn... so much we can reap from a brilliant mind. His Images Inspire many around the world and to see his work featured here, well I can only say it is about time.