A little piece of history flies by in slow motion

Given that my office is a mere 4-5 minutes from LAX I couldn’t resist going out to shoot NASA’s Endeavour Shuttle as it landed at Los Angeles Internationals airport today on its final flight atop a 747.  

Some incredibly cool people actually helped me get onto roof of their building with a forklift and a few crates to make it to the top… 

NASA’s Shuttle fleet was retired last year after 30 years of flight.  Endeavour is the second of three remaining shuttles to head to its retirement home – in this case the the California Science Center.  

Endeavour, the youngest shuttle, replaced Challenger which tragically blew up during liftoff in 1986.  

During 25 missions, Endeavour spent 299 days in space and orbited the earth  nearly 4,700 times, racking up 123 million miles.

It was a beautiful day – hampered by some pretty heavy duty heat waves as you’ll see, given that the shuttle landed at 1 p.m.  

This footage was shot with a RED Epic, at 5K resolution, at 96 frames per second with a Canon 800mm 5.6 lens.

If you like this video – or would like to see us shoot with 3 camera bodies next time – consider using Vimeo’s new "Tip Jar" function by clicking on the title of this video and looking for Tip Jar icon to the bottom right of the video.  I did this for fun with Jon Carr (who edited the piece in RECORD pace) but we’d love to have more fun gear out there that we’d need to rent for next time an event like this happens…  Thanks!

 

Lastly – today was bittersweet for two reasons:

1. It’s sad to witness the end of an era – in this case NASA and the United State’s Shuttle Program.

2. The second was more technical and logistical.  I got to my position 4 hours prior to the scheduled landing.  When I shot the two clips below, just two hours earlier – the heat hadn’t reached the same levels and as you see in the Endeavor clip above, and the results of the "dry run" were pretty spectacular…  You can actually see the houses reflected in the underbelly of the 747 in the test shot.

I was practicing for a few hours prior to the Shuttle’s landing to get this shot… only to be met with the sudden heat waves… and the terrible realization that Endeavour was indeed landing on the South LAX runway… but not the southernmost runway that I was lined up on… "Happens to the best of us" as they say!    That being said the clip below is beautiful in its own right… especially when you see the incredible little detail all the way at the end!