Still, the lighthouse makes a dramatic foreground for a launch photo. I can’t help but contrast ships from centuries past with today’s spacecraft, like the SpaceX Falcon 9 that launched on Saturday, September 10. (You can read more about the lighthouse’s history and how to visit it here.)
I’d never had a chance to shoot a launch from here before, though I’d always wanted to. We sometimes get access to a car pass, and we had the rare opportunity to get a ticket for this site. The weather was iffy for a while after tremendous rainstorms in the afternoon. Clouds and showers lingered and showed a reluctance to clear out. Pad 39A is north of the lighthouse, and I could only hope I’d lined up my shot so the rocket wouldn’t lift off behind the tower — and that we’d see more than the first few seconds. A bit of glow in the clouds and some reckoning with a map app helped. I wanted the lighthouse to be framed by the arc of the streak.
As the rocket lifted off, it became clear that the northeastward trajectory meant the rocket wouldn’t lift high enough (visually, anyway) to rise above the lighthouse. For a second I hoped it might pass right behind the light at the top, but still, it made for a very pretty scene. I cropped the vertical shot into a square one.
I shot the launch with a second camera using my 10mm fisheye lens (below). I like this, too, because the lightkeeper’s cottage (a replica) is visible at left. And the GoPro timelapse video is a fun little glimpse of the lift-off after the moonrise, which was almost directly behind us. The clouds and rain thinned out just enough to make this photo opportunity work.
The rocket carried more Starlink internet satellites and the new (and alarmingly large) BlueWalker 3 communications array, which will soon show up in our photos, no doubt.