RNPS - PICTURES OF THE YEAR 2014 - PHOTOGRAPHERS' STORY
Debris flies after the Soyuz TMA-14M spacecraft blasted off from the launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in this September 26, 2014 file photo.
How on earth could I take a close-up shot of a Soyuz rocket as it blasted off amid orange flames? Especially when to comply with safety requirements, I was in a photography position over a kilometre away from the rocket. The answer was to leave a remote camera at the launch pad. This led to the second question, due to technical issues photographers can't control the remote cameras they leave at the launch pad. So how would I trigger my camera?
The launch of a Soyuz into orbit is meticulously calculated to the last second. This precision provided the answer to my dilemma - a simple photo-timer the size of a mobile phone. What remained to be done was as simple as ABC - to calculate the hours, minutes and seconds before the takeoff and set the timer on countdown.
I prepared the rest of my kit; as well as my camera, this included a bag for gravel to keep the tripod steady, sandwich wrapping, and scotch tape. I had a soft, sealed ball perched on a tripod - with a lens curiously sticking out.
As Soyuz lifted off in clouds of dust, the wind changed a blast of eastern wind curled and the sand lifted by the roaring Soyuz blew back to the launch pad, straight towards our remote cameras. Only my sandwich? ball was still standing firmly upright. A bullet-like hole proudly gaping in the filter, and the plastic wrapping melted on top. I was thinking with horror about my broken lens, because my next assignment was just a day away. Luckily, sandwiches appear to be well protected these days! A broken filter was my only loss, and I had my shot. - Shamil Zhumatov
REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov (KAZAKHSTAN - Tags: SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
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