Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Blast off!

Key Largo is a great place to chill with the family after working a big story such as the space shuttle launch. Back to back 20-hour days can be a challenge. Now that I've recovered from all the mosquito bites at the Cape I can post some images and share a few back-stories.

During my college years in 1981, Canon's Professional Market Representative Chuck Luzier and I covered the first shuttle launch as stringers for the Associated Press. At this launch he provided great assistance to many of the photographers working the event. One guy walked into the Canon trailer asking for camera batteries. Another busted his lens and Chuck provided a loaner. He offered me a workspace, a bite to eat and great advice. 

It was good to see so many photographers that I've known since my collegiate years. Joe Skipper, Dave "Mullet" Martin, Pierre DuCharme, John Raoux, Chris O'Meara. My early mentor, Phil Sandlin was there but I missed him.

This image seen below was shot from one of my remote camera's using a homemade sound trigger assembled by retired Miami Herald staffer Battle Vaughan and built for the early launches. It worked great. I mounted a Canon EOS 1-D Mark III on a Gitzo tripod and ball head with a Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM. I turned off the auto focus and image stabilizer. 

I pre-focused on the top of the platform then taped it all down. The staging time to set up was at 6 AM Thursday morning. More than 24 hours before the launch but the batteries lasted fine.

On the day of the launch I shot from the press center and set up a couple of more remotes using Multimax-Pocketwizard wireless transmitters. 

Loved being there. Wish it did not all end.

Live Long and Prosper!


  1. Al, that tight shot of the shuttle is excellent! I don't recall ever seeing one shot that tight before. Very nice.

  2. Pocket Wizards and "the Mullet"...what more do you need for a successful launch?

  3. You know, Chuck Luzier is the one that named him "Mullet" back in college.

  4. Amazing shots Al! Where can I get blueprints for the sound trigger?

  5. Scott M Lieberman, MDJuly 14, 2011 at 1:11 PM

    What a great group of folks!

  6. Al...As customary these shots are classic and ones that can be enjoyed by all for a long time. You are an amazing talent.