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Thread: Need advice for photographing Space Shuttle launch

  1. #1
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    Brian

    Need advice for photographing Space Shuttle launch

    I am going to the launch on April 19th, it is supposed to lift off at sunset. I will most likely watch it from Space view park in Titusville. I have a Nikon D5000 but I only have the 70-300mm lens. I have read you should have a 500 or 600mm lens to get the best photos from that location. I looked at rental lenses and it cost over $300 to rent a Nikon 600mm lens, and I don't want to spend that kind of money. I can rent a sigma 50-500 pretty cheap (I know you get what you pay for), so I was wondering if the sigma would give me decent image quality or would it be better to go with the Nikon 80-400mm.
    Thanks

  2. #2
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Need advice for photographing Space Shuttle launch

    Hello and welcome to CiC.

    If you plan on staying around (which I hope you are), then please do put your name into your profile under real name. The we'll know who we're talking to.

    I suppose one question is what you plan to do with the resulting images. If you're looking to take commercial quality images for publication, then you need/want to best glass that money can buy. However, if the images are for your own use and are likely to be published on a website (here) or in print at more modest 'household-type' sizes, then the Sigma should be more than good enough. Sigma is not still in business because it makes lousy lenses. They're not top-line Nikon/Canon quality, but they are more than good enough for, probably, more than 90% of us.
    Last edited by Donald; 10th March 2011 at 02:10 PM.

  3. #3
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    Re: Need advice for photographing Space Shuttle launch

    Thank you Donald I appreciate you help.

  4. #4

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    Re: Need advice for photographing Space Shuttle launch

    Be prepared to spend more than one day at the Cape...they only go off on time about 50% of the time. Also, if you do not have reservations now for the Space Park, you might want to get them...I've been to four day and one night launchings....it's freakin' awesome but even with a 400 0r 600 mm lens, keep in mind you are 6 miles away at the space park and it rotates immediately away and uprange from you and in no time is further away than even a 600mm is going to capture with any degree of detail.

    Also, keep in mind that most of the free world tries to go to Titusville on Launch day...it's a madhouse to say the least, insanity...yeah. Plan on getting to your chosen spot at least 3 hours ahead of time and be prepared to hang about for another two hours for the traffic to lessen enough to move more than 15 feet.

    If you are planning to shoot for a publication, you might want to seriously think about more glass - lots more. I've been about as close as a civilian can get with 400mm and while it was "okay" (film), it wasn't all that spectacular.

    Good luck and have fun...I may be there myself. I hateoto miss them and it still stuns me to watch them go up...I wish my Mini had that much motor...hahahaha

  5. #5
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    Re: Need advice for photographing Space Shuttle launch

    I will be in Pam coast for about ten days so if it does not go up the first day I will try one or two days after that. I am not actually going into the space center I will be at a public park right on the river in Titusville called space view park so I do not believe I would need a reservation.

    I have seen pictures of the mobs of people that flock to the launch. I plan on getting there 5 or 6 hours ahead of time and set up right next to the river bank with some food for a picnic and make a day of it.

    I watched the the one go up last April from Flagler beach , it went up just before sunrise. That was pretty spectacular.

    Thanks for the info.

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