[ LOOK TO SEE ]
• Lost In Space (more rocket pictures here)
Growing up on Florida’s Space Coast, I had the opportunity to witness, and later photograph, many launches from Cape Canaveral, starting when my mother took my sister, my brother, and me into the front yard, and we watched Alan Shepard’s launch, making him the first American to reach Outer Space. (May 5, 1961)
Space Coast, Florida (February 6, 2018)
• OTHER SPACE STORIES
Before the launch of the first Falcon Heavy (the Space X rocket Elan Musk and NASA hope will evolve into the vehicle to take the first human beings to Mars), Starting at Taylor Park in my hometown, Rockledge,Florida, you’ll take a ride along the Indian River, north to Cocoa, arriving at a historic (1880) church, for 30 years, my favorite spot from which to watch any of the rocket launches from Cape Canaveral. Standing on the edge of the Intracoastal Waterway (Indian River), looking east toward Merritt Island, Mosquito Lagoon, the VAB (Vertical Assembly Building), and launch pad 39A, the last stepping stone from which so many rockets have left the Earth, including those that took 12 men to their walks on the Moon.
Before the launch, during a two-hour “hold,” you’ll see life as it usually is on the Indian River in Cocoa, Florida. Mostly quiet, with a local Osprey, gracefully diving for its fish dinner, and everyday traffic, including FedX delivery, and Waste Management garbage trucks.
The quiet time, waiting through the “hold,” did include some photographic drama that was familiar to me.
First there’s the family who called the police after I refused to “delete” the pictures I had shot of them as they walked toward a dock near the same spot I had set up to watch (photograph) the launch.
Then, the guy walking by on the River Road, but who turned, and threatened to “break my mother fucking camera if I took a picture of him.”
I continued to shoot, and he didn’t break my mother fucking camera, but he did say, before moving along, “I’m giving you five minutes, then I’m coming back with more fire power.”
He didn’t do that either, but in meantime, you’ll get more of an idea of life on Florida’s Space Coast, before the entrance of the familiar Black Hawk helicopter on its security run, making sure the area is clear for launch.
I will say, as a person who’s seen so many, this launch, although unmanned, was a dramatic one. The rocket is much bigger than a shuttle, almost as big as the Apollo program’s Saturn Vs … Big enough to actually see the rocket atop the flame in Florida’s clear blue Winter sky.
St. Petersburg, Florida (2017)
Having just released Shade, its sixth studio album, Living Colour headed out on a short, east coast tour that brought them to the State Theater in downtown St. Petersburg. Here, you’ll see (bassist) Doug Wimbish improvising, as he checks his levels, pedals, and frequencies, before the show that was scheduled for later that evening.
You’ll also see the woman, who, while I was shooting pictures of some of the murals on the walls in the alley behind the theater, walked into my field of view. Unhappy having her picture taken, you’ll see her run from the parking lot, into the alley, and proceed to yell at and attack me.
Palm Beach, Florida (April 23, 2020)
Having worked in the Miami Herald’s Palm Beach County bureau (1985-1989), it was no surprise to be confronted when I stopped to take a picture of the gate at Mar-A-Lago … First by Mar-A-Lago security, and soon after, the Palm Beach police. I’ll say I wasn’t surprised, but it still pissed me off when Donald Trump’s hillbilly security guard assaulted me, and the Palm Beach police (specifically Sgt. [I-have-the-biggest-dick] Dawson) issued me a parking ticket and a trespassing “warning,” for which I had to sign. And what of the redneck security guard, for hitting my camera? With a heart-felt, Palm Beach “attaboy,” the police sent him and his golf cart on his merry, little way.
Blue Angels w/ May 4, 2019
Since 1999, Fort Lauderdale has hosted the U.S. Armed Forces Air & Sea Show, featuring the world’s most advanced flying machines.
Alternating year-to-year, either the Navy Blue Angels or the Air Force Thunderbirds closed the show.
— photography b/ dave hogerty