Two seconds after the third frame, I triggered an 81 second exposure starting at 8:36:55pm and ending at 8:38:16pm, after the rocket had disappeared behind the berm on the other side of the channel, and before the two sonic booms. An intervalometer. If I were to stand there when the rocket goes off, I certainly would not be typing this right now. The tripods and cameras were all well-tested and the stadium lights were dimmed. In this image the launch resembles a planetary nebula. Nebula images require slightly different circumstances, however. Other specs: The images are all shot at ISO 500 and f18, shot through a 17-40mm (set to 17mm) using a full-frame camera body. Well this portion is for you! I personally use a Sigma 120mm – 300mm F2.8 Sports with a Canon 2X teleconverter on it. Obviously if you’re hands on with the camera, your little movements will show up in the image, resulting in unwanted blur. It had always been a dream of mine to see a rocket launch, so to be able to actually get behind the scenes of the launches has been incredible. With space, this is especially true, since access normally means the ability to place a camera near a launchpad in areas that are heavily restricted. Depending on where your camera is placed, the blast from the rocket can easily knock over your setup. The image I posted last night about 45 minutes after launch is a composite of the first and last images I took during this sequence. I have refined these suggestions from my experiences over the past several years photographing launches along the Space Coast. Now you might ask, “What’s with the garbage bag?” Well, that’s a rocket proof garbage bag! The first few seconds of a rocket launch are extremely bright and could cause your photo to overexpose. Other factors include strong winds from weather passing through. Me in my Everyday Astronaut outfit standing at the base of ULA’s Atlas V rocket carrying Orbital’s Cygnus cargo craft for NASA’s OA-6 mission to the international space station. However in recent years they have become slightly easier to find. So what kinds of things are we looking for when taking pictures of a rocket from far away? My good friend, Walter Scriptunas II (check out his launch photo guide as well) has put together a basic guideline for exposure settings for various rockets. Launch Viewing Locations: The most accurate guide to viewing a rocket launch at Cape Canaveral, Florida. Follow Amy Thompson on Twitter @astrogingersnap. Cameras right next to me were knocked over, tripods broken or even worse, some cameras were simply missing. It’s important you know what size of sensor you have in order to do a proper comparison. I prefer to shoot with a lower ISO, so I typically will swap out a lower F-stop in favor of an ISO 100 and/or a faster shutter speed compared to other photographers. This is it. Manually set focus to a bright light in the distance. And the term "rocket nebula" was born. After charging and packing my gear (three cameras, some tripods, and a few remote camera cables) my wife and I were off to the stadium. Take those first few seconds to make sure that the rocket is the lower corner of your frame. It was a perfect ending to an amazing experience, and goes to prove – it never hurts to ask. A daytime launch will have the most variables you will encounter when photographing a launch. 45th Space Wing at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla. Nighttime: While a night launch may seem like it would be quite hard to capture, it really is not as difficult as you would think. Woah. Most of the information detailed above applies here as well. Weather Protection: It is important to keep your camera protected from both the weather and the harsh launch environment. As we headed back towards the vertigo-inducing ladder, we saw some fireworks from Disney in the distance. MIOPS makes this easy and more enjoyable to do. Telephoto and wide angle lens. At the same time, I sent a simple Facebook message to the OCSC page and they gave me an email address to contact. A wide-angle lens, preferably. The camera screens counted down the seconds and we waited, and waited. Each nighttime land landing, Kuna tries to photograph the nebula. That gets me to 600mm @F5.6 which is a nice long lens and a nice low F-stop. The camera settings will work from any location you may be photographing from around Cape Canaveral Air Force Station or wherever you may find yourself shooting a rocket launch. Keep yourself and others from bumping into it for the duration of the rocket launch and landing. For streak shots, we’ll need to use a small aperture and a long shutter speed. "I knew I got the shot." Cheat sheet tip: PhotoPills is a planning app that will show you the position of the sun and moon for a set time and date. For viewing a launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. That’s decent, but if there’s more than one scrub you’re screwed. And then finally the bottom of the sky began to glow orange and a nice dot of the rocket was clearly visible in the sky. The camera settings will ... One of the most sought after photos of a night launch is the streak shot. MIOPS sitting on a top of a Canon 5D MK III with a Sigma 50mm F1.4 Art. Return to land landings are best for nebula shots because their flight trajectories make the interactions between the first and second stage separation and the boostback burn more visible against the dark sky.