In the early morning hours of May 22, 2012, Space X‘s long awaited and several times scrubbed, Dragon C2 craft atop a Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

For this launch, I decided to stay in town, Palm City, rather than make the 2 hour trip to the Cape again. The view was pretty amazing. The actual location from which I shot the launch was South Hutchinson Island. Never having done this before I set up for long exposure, pointed the camera northeast and tuned into Spaceflight Now on my Android.

Space X's Dragon C2 vehicle atop of the Falcon 9 spacecraft



Was  great to be photographing something for the first time again. Too many air shows and landscape photo trips had lost the “new” feeling to the art. This launch brought that feeling back.

As mentioned above, I chose to due a long exposure right from the start as I was unsure of how bright the rocket would appear. Easily I would’ve been able to do hand held shooting during the first portion, but am glad with the results using LE the whole way.

Space X's Dragon C2 vehicle atop of the Falcon 9 spacecraft rockets east


The small “noise” pixels are actually stars, really! Never tried shooting the night sky either so this was a nice a surprise I found while editing the shots. not sure you’ll see them on this small size, look for an update post in a few weeks when I get back Cleveland and my desktop.

Via Spaceflight Now was able to track the countdown and entire journey into space. What a great job they do covering launches! Hearing the 2nd stge of the Falcon 9 took over and was now pushing the Dragon into orbit, I took one last shot and then tore down my gear.

Space X's Dragon C2 vehicle atop of the Falcon 9 spacecraft after shedding it's first stage


Once everything was packed back up, I went back out to the deck to have a smoke before going back to bed. Just at roughly the 15 minute mark from launch, I heard the noise from the launch! Sounded like a train passing in the distance . . . a small train. So I then started star gazing in hopes of seeing a satellite or meteor when directly to the East I saw a brilliant white light which had it’s own halo of sorts. This was roughly 18 minutes into the flight. Guessing that was one of the stages heading for the Atlantic Ocean.

Great job and congrats SpaceX!