One of the things I’ve always wanted to see was a rocket launch. There’s only 3 shuttle launches left and at some point I’m planning on heading down to Florida to see one of them. Fortunately for me I found out that there was going to be a launch of the ULA’s Delta 4 Heavy rocket from Vandenberg Airforce Base on January 20th. I was about 9 miles away when I took this photo, zoomed in at about 220mm (so I could get some of the scenery in this photo), the thing was still pretty small. Despite being delayed by 2 minutes I was surprised by the launch — I was actually in conversation with someone and didn’t even notice it at first until someone screamed ”THERE IT IS!” It was pretty hazy and I had to do some work on the image to clean it up a bit. I could have used a teleconverter to get closer into the rocket but I wanted some scenery to place the rocket in my photos. I also think I need to replace the crappy circular polarizer I had on it — and maybe make sure there’s nothing wrong with my lens, it seems to be REALLY soft lately
The Delta IV Heavy, at 235 feet or approximately 23 stories tall, is the largest rocket ever to launch from the West Coast of the United States. The ULA Delta IV Heavy vehicle featured a center common booster core with two strap-on common booster cores, which produces almost 2 million pounds of thrust (compared to about 7 million pounds on the Shuttle)!
Nikon D300s w/Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED-IF AF-S VR:
220mm, f/6.3, 1/1600 sec, ISO 400, Handheld