Interesting Photo of the Day: Long Exposure of the Atlas MUOS-4 Launch

It’s an awe-inspiring moment to watch a rocket lift off and make it to the upper reaches of the atmosphere. The blinding light, the roaring engines, the thunderous noise and the towering rocket launching into thin air makes an impression that lasts a lifetime. Not many get the privilege to watch a spectacle like this, let alone photograph it. But that’s exactly what photographer Ed Dosado did:

rocket launch long exposure

“Awesome photo of the Atlas V launch this morning” by Ed Dosado (Via Imgur. Click image to see full size.)

And in case you’re wondering how the September 2, 2015, launch of Atlas V may have looked up close, take a look at this official video released by United Launch Alliance:

Just how do you capture a rocket launch in one long exposure? Answering some of his fans on Reddit, Dosado gave away the settings he used to capture his fascinating photo: f/16 at 108 seconds. He used a Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5 – 5.6 STM kit lens set to 18mm and mounted on a Rebel T4i and a TriggerTrap for a cable release.

Wondering how to set the exposure for a scene like this, especially when you get only one shot? Dosado explains, that he just guesses the ISO and the aperture settings. He usually sets the exposure time frame to two minutes. Even with an 18mm lens, two minutes is too long and by the time the mirror flips back in, the rocket is out of the frame.

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