SpaceX launched its Falcon 9, freaking out a lot of people in Southern California who thought they were seeing a UFO streak across the sky. Jesse Watson of Yuma, Arizona captured this incredible time-lapse of the awesome moment. He shot 2452 still images that he edited down to 1315 for this stunning video.
"I've been following the SpaceX launches online for some time now and have been in awe of the footage I’ve seen. I found out about this specific launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base a few days prior to the event. I wanted to capture this amazing spectacle in a fashion that I haven’t seen previously, as most of what I have seen is cell phones video or news reels.
This particular launch was close to my hometown in Yuma, Arizona, roughly 400 miles away but perfectly viewable for people in Arizona. I’ve one previous rocket launch years ago from White Sands Missile range in the morning time at sunrise and knew with the correct lighting from sunset that this launch had the opportunity to pop in a dramatic fashion.
I scouted four locations that had foregrounds to add depth to the imagery and was uniquely inspiring to my hometown. Location choices were between a favorite local hiking mountain, the Imperial Sand Dunes, or a small hill that resides in the historic downtown area overlooking the city. I ended up choosing the location that overlooked the city, partially because it was the easiest to access with all of my time-lapse gear. I used The Photographer’s Ephemeris and Google Maps to help scouting and initial line up.
I have never shot a rocket launch before, so I did not know exactly what to expect as far as exposure or precise location of the rocket in the horizon. I wanted to be prepared to capture comprehensive coverage of the spectacle. Therefore I packed four cameras and five lenses, to cover wide to telephoto details of the scene. Three of the cameras were rolling time-lapse and 1 was setup for telephoto video."