How to take a great picture/video of a launch
Shooting Tips (aka Three bullet primer!)
- If your camera allows for manual settings, set your exposure about 10 minutes before launch, based on the lighting on the rocket itself in "ambient" light (pad lights at night, sunlight during the day). If you leave the camera on an automatic exposure mode, any rocket's super-bright exhaust will freak out the exposure meter.
- You can use autofocus to focus on the rocket before launch, but once your focus is set, turn off autofocus.You don't want to miss the few seconds off the pad while your camera refocuses itself.
- Manual settings suggested by launchphotography.com: ISO 100, f/8, and 1/1000 speed, or ISO 200, f/8, and 1/2000 on a sunny day. (Use your camera's aperture priority mode about 10 minutes before launch to ensure the exposure time is correct.)
- Great with lots of illustrations: http://www.lauderdalechristmas.com/nasa-shuttle-launch.htm
- http://www.launchphotography.com/Shuttle_Launch_Viewing.html - search for "Photos from various viewing areas" and you can see a bunch of photos from different locations (for perspective)
- Updated 09-26-11 for unmanned launches: http://www.launchphotography.com/Delta_4_Atlas_5_Falcon_9_Launch_Viewing.html
- Short and to the point: http://spacekate.com/2011/how-to-photograph-a-shuttle-launch/
- A little dated, but very thorough: http://www.phototrek.org/Travel/STS-93/exposure.html
- Shuttle Launch Photography http://www.phototrek.org/Travel/STS-93/exposure.html
- Video http://vimeo.com/2269027