Bringing kinja into focus, one frame at a time

I went across the state to Playalinda Beach on Wednesday for the SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch. As you probably know, the launch was scrubbed. But I did get to spend the day at the beach, so it wasn’t a total loss.

And when I say “spend the day,” I mean the WHOLE day. At the Falcon Heavy launch last year, the beach filled up and was closed to incoming traffic by around 9:00 am. I didn’t make it in. To avoid a repeat of that, I met up with my photog friend Mike at his house near Orlando and we carpooled the rest of the way to get there early.


This was my day:

  1. 2:00 am - wake up, eat, shower
  2. 3:45 am - leave my house
  3. 5:45 am - get to Mike’s
  4. 6:00 am - leave Mike’s
  5. 7:00 am - arrive at at the park gate for the beach
  6. 7:15 pm - launch scrubbed
  7. 8:00 pm - leave beach
  8. 9:30 pm - get back to Mike’s
  9. 12:10 am - home
  10. 3:00 am - sleep

Brutal. I did take a nap on the beach in the morning for maybe 90 minutes and slept a little on the way from the beach to Mike’s house.

I did get to shoot some things I don’t normally shoot. We made some new friends and had a giant nerd party on the beach. I saw whales and giant devil rays breaching in the Atlantic Ocean. I saw a dolphin eat a bird. I shot lots of birds, which I don’t very often. I got to shoot the Falcon Heavy on the launch pad from 3.67 miles away. I got to play in the Atlantic Ocean, which I haven’t done in many years. 

Besides the rocket not launching and me re-aggravating a slight ankle sprain, it was a fantastic day. Here are some highlights.

I was talking to this guy we met (who’s family set up next to us) while taking pictures of the crashing waves. His son ran through the shot and it couldn’t have been more perfect.
It was very overcast at times so some of the shots look muted, cold, and almost snowy.
Up on the boardwalk (that goes from the parking lot, over the dunes, and down to the beach) the birds were passing by very close as they patrolled the beach. This Turkey Vulture was really close. This picture is not cropped at all and my lens was at 32mm at the time of the shot. He was REALLY close.
Devil Ray breach! Mike let me borrow his Nikkor 200-500mm monster lens for a bit. We were watching the whales and rays breach and I just happened to have the camera pointed in the right spot when a ray jumped out of the water. These are heavily cropped as it was wwwwaaaaaayyyyyy out there. But I got it!

Oh yeah, there was a rocket out there, too.

This was taken with my 18-300mm (at 300mm) from the closest spot on the beach you can get to the launch pad, which is 2.73 miles away. You can not watch the launch from here. They clear a mile of beach as a buffer zone before the launch.
This was taken from the boardwalk using the 200-500mm lens (at 500mm). This is 3.67 miles away from the launch pad.

Unfortunately, due to my ankle and a few other things, I was unable to make the trip back on Thursday for the launch. That’s the way it goes. But again, it was a really awesome day. And I didn’t even get sunburned!

Assuming there are no major delays in retrofitting the three rocket bodies that SpaceX landed, the next Falcon Heavy should go up in June. 

Share This Story

Get our newsletter