What do you do if you would like to take a real up-close picture of a space shuttle sitting in the launch pad? Or even an up-close view of it launching? OK, the first thing you should do is obtain launch transportation tickets to the NASA causeway. That will bring you to the closest viewing spot available to the public.
But, hey, that spot is still six miles away from the launch pad. So you need a very strong zoom lens to get a real up-close picture. And, of course, most of us will not be able to afford one. In fact, most will not even be able to afford renting one. End of the game? For me, yes. I lend a 300mm lens, giving roughly 500mm equivalent on my digital camera. I was quite satisfied by the result.
A fellow launch viewer and astronomer did not give up that quickly. He actually took a Celestron C8 telescope and mounted it in front of his camera. The result was the great picture you see right at the start of this post. However, I find it even more astonishing how he managed to take those pictures. Have a look:
He even managed to hand-hold it while taking pictures! Congratulations to this great job!
As you can see, there is always a solution if you are motivated to do it. I think this is the spirit that made spaceflight a reality and I was extremely pleased to see it applied to solve launch viewing issues ;)
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