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How I Accidentally Captured the SpaceX Falcon 9 Landing (petapixel.com)
296 points by electriclove on May 19, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 26 comments

If the author happens by to read this, I wanted to maybe offer a bit of help with some of the 'in the field' frustration noted:

>This time of year is sea turtle season in the southeast and the threatened turtles that come up on the beach to lay their eggs (and any little ones that hatch) are highly sensitive to light and often get turned around and disoriented by lights on the beach. For that reason, South Carolina (and presumably other states in the area) has instituted a no lights on the beach policy. Luckily there’s enough light pollution that you can at least navigate without a problem, but not being able to use a flashlight to help with focusing, adjusting camera settings, etc., is a bit of an annoyance.

When I was in Costa Rica seeing endangered sea turtles doing their thing, the local guides used red bulbs because they were not disorienting to the sea turtles. Noise from the tourist group was killing me I gotta say but hey I was along for the ride in this case. Can say I learned the red light thing.

So I looked up real quick and found some info and links from a South Carolina conservation group. They state the ordinance reads that "disruptive lights" are forbidden. Then they had a link to a site of 'certified' bulbs for use around wildlife. Red is one of the main colors featured:


Thus, using a red light may be okay under the spirit and way the ordinance(s) are written, but calling ahead might be a good idea too.

That page seems to targeted to builders/developers. All of the pages say something along the lines of "Must be mounted recessed under steps, bar, etc. and directed down to assure that light source or reflected light is not visible from beach."

I think they are pretty strict about it. It seems like there should be no light at all.

Edit: Maybe this would work though?[1] Either way, I agree with your advice to call ahead.

[1] http://www.turtlesafeonline.com/

I'm pretty sure SCUTE is very serious about no light directly visible from the beach. That includes red.

I'm not a photography buff by any stretch, so I'm probably flagrantly abusing some language here, but I feel an HDR timelapse of this shot (http://petapixel.com/assets/uploads/2016/05/zgrether_spacex_...) would probably be more beautiful than the end result (http://petapixel.com/assets/uploads/2016/05/zgrether_spacex_...) if only because my brain is jarred by the conflict of a timelapsed landing with a still shot of the stars.

Both are beautiful in any case.

I think the latter is better because we naturally perceive stars as motionless, especially relative to a rocket shooting by.

Does anyone have a link to a larger version of the image?

Slightly bigger from his (right click disabled...) site: http://www.zgrethphoto.com/Mega-Prints/i-5HKSttR/0/XL/zgreth...

The detail in the final shot comes from pulling together the details captured over time.

I guess with lots of messing about the less detailed region around the lander could be superimposed over the more detailed star field, but it would be even more synthetic.

So I guess what I meant to convey by that is that the first shot I linked looks overexposed. The second shot I linked superimposed the booster over an unmoving star field.

I gave it a fuller read and saw why this turned out to be the case (Lighten on 29 out of 30 layers in Photoshop to achieve the star trail effect). Since he has 30 frames to work with, he has enough data to create the same ultra-long-exposure effect without it looking overexposed. Probably just more Photoshop fiddling, really.

Wow it's astounding how much work can go into processing an image. I think he brings up an interesting point when he says he was interested in telling a story rather than depicting reality. Makes one think twice about all those beautiful nature and space shots they see.

Learning photography teaches me that we don't see reality, anyway. Or at the very least, cameras don't see what we see.

An easy example is your area of attention. Look at a distant deer in a meadow, you see a deer. Take a photo, and you get a meadow with a speck that might be a deer.

I want to see what the photographer saw, or saw in their mind's eye, not the grid-array of photons that struck their retina.

Edit: also, astrophotography starts to veer into camera-as-instrument, where you are capturing data invisible to the human eye. You process that data like any other science experiment, and prepare it for visual inspection...

"Reality", when it comes to photography, is ill defined tho. Something as fundamental as adjusting exposure will create very different images.

I except news photography, since they tend to expose and shoot for what the eye sees, with minimal amounts of staging or post processing.

The stars sure are beautiful.

Also terrifying.

And falling. Pink stars are falling.

I never finished watching Season 3...

("Pink stars are falling" is a reference to Under the Dome)

Pretty decent ending. Could have been much worse. The calcification thing is silly don't dwell on it.

I personally like this animated gif that SpaceX tweeted better than the static image the photographer created:


Yeah, it's in this article too, higher resolution as well if you want to take a look.

Ah. Duh. I read the original blog post last night and thought it was just the same thing reposted on another site. I was surprised the animation wasn't included in the original post.

Wow that sure is beautiful, and what luck! Does anyone know what the red flash was right in the middle, just above the water?

Probably the first stage landing.

Woah! His gear costs around 8k.

Sony Alpha a7R II Mirrorless Digital Camera - 3k Zeiss Otus 28mm f/1.4 ZE Lens - 5k

Anyone who says you need skills in photography is dead wrong, it's all about the gear.

Great, now I want to spend $10,000 on cameras to photograph nature.

That's... so cool. I always love to see the relative motion of celestial bodies, and with a rocket in the foreground?! My jaw actually dropped a little.

You suck at masking ;)

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