Dawn Launch of Challenger

© J. Michael Wilhelm

Dawn Launch of Challenger

Uploaded: December 30, 2001


This is was made by remote camera equipment located at the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Kennedy, Florida


Patricia Fritsche level-deluxe December 31, 2001

awesome..thanks for such a great history making shot #2691

Glenn Theal December 31, 2001


I wouldn't even begin to know how to set up my equipment to make such a difficult shot.

I am impressed with the quality of the shot given the conditions.

I really would like to know how you made this shot. Like I said, I wouldn't even know where to start.

Glenn #4295

J. Michael Wilhelm December 31, 2001

Thanks Glenn. First off, you would need credited credentials to even get into NASA, that's even assuming that the press program is still in effect. There are many closed DOD launches right now. Second, you need a motor drive triggering device with a small travel alarm clock incorporated into the device.The trigger can be sound,you would need an sound amplifier(microphone) to trigger the electronics to tell the camera motor drive to begin. Mine was set for a continueous sound so that a bird wouldn't set off the system. The alarm clock is used to protect the electronics from going off before the actual launch. I set mine at 1 min. before the scheduled launch. (They never went off early). All of this is set up in the field around the launch pad the afternoon before the scheduled launch,and of course must be waterproof in case of rain. I will be showing more of these launches,rollouts and landings at DPG,as well as some photos of the setup equipment. Was this too much? JMW #4299

Laura Johnson January 03, 2002

I would like to ask a question...! How do you know what aperture/shutter settings to use. The light and dark colors are extreme. It's not as if you can ask them to just relaunch.


Funny thing is I saw a shot like this yesterday on a National Geographic CD and wondered just these things.

Lau #4389

J. Michael Wilhelm January 03, 2002

Laura, the exposure was an educated guess. The film was Kodak Ektachrome ASA 64. I used the sunny 16 rule, = f16 @1/60th sec to base the exposure. I needed 1/500th sec. to stop motion, which would be f 5.6. This would be for a full sunlit exposure. The light from the shuttle engines and the solid rocket boosters reflect a trmendous amount of bright light off the white steam vapor clouds. About an extra 1 1/2 stops, so the actual exposure was between f8 and f11 @ 1/500th second. #4420

Laura Johnson January 04, 2002

Thank you Michael,

Great guess.

Well done again.

Lau #4425

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