The only thing braver than treading waist-deep into a dark swamp frequented by alligators? Headed into said waters with a few thousand dollars worth of camera gear in tow. Luckily, teenage photographer John Kraus of Satellite Beach, Florida, is undeterred by the obstacles his environment presents. By hopping straight into the waters outside Cape Canaveral, he managed to capture today’s spellbinding shot:
Using a 160-second long exposure, Kraus captured the launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 arching over the still waters of nearby Florida swamplands. The jet stream arcs into a perfect curve, creating a brilliant semi-circle that breaks through the quiet dawn.
How exactly was the teenage photographer able to snag this surreal moment? Upon arriving on location, he found that getting the perfect picture wouldn’t be as easy as pressing down the shutter and letting nature take its course. In order to position the rocket’s flames between the trees, he found he’d have to step away from the safety of the shoreline. To make matters worse, the nearest dock was actually more of a floating platform. The gentle rocking of the waves below would make a multi-minute exposure from atop the wooden planks practically impossible.
Determined to get his shot, Kraus ultimately waded into the swamp with a tripod, his Nikon D850, and a 14-24mm lens in hand. While it may not have been the wisest move to go stomping around on a gator’s home turf, it’s hard not to admire this young photographer’s determination and dedication to his craft.
To get a behind-the-scenes look into the making of this picture, check out this coverage on the teen’s burgeoning photo career!
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