Shooting the Shuttle
John Nicoloff photographed Space Shuttle launches for 30 years, capturing great moments in exploration
I was always fascinated with outer space, space travel and rockets. In 1982, when my brother-in-law, Bill Cantrell, who’s a professional photographer, told me there was a possibility I could shoot a space shuttle launch as his assistant I jumped at the chance. My NASA media credential was through the Coral Springs Forum newspaper in Florida. Later I obtained credentials from the Macomb Daily newspaper in Mt Clemens, Michigan, where I was teaching at a local high school.
My photography experience before the space shuttle consisted of shooting sports for my high school teams. Working as Bill’s assistant at the Kennedy Space Centre, setting up the remote cameras and preparing for the launch photography from the press viewing area, taught me all about the correct camera settings and the right film to use, proper framing, and awareness of frames per second when using my Nikon MD-12 motor drive on my Nikon FE.
I also learned the importance of having fully charged batteries, especially for the remote cameras, which were set up and turned on the night before the launch. Bill made sure I had everything ready to go before the launch, because once those solid rocket boosters
01 STS-135, Atlant Jul y, 2011 Nikon D2x, Nikon AF-S 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G ED, 1/4 sec, f/5.6, ISO200