Photo Synthesis

Big Bada Boom

Ka-pow. Bing, Bam, Boom.

For launch shots, I shoot with timing priority at 1/3000 seconds or faster to catch the action. This helps freeze the shrapnel in sharp focus. Typically, I am tracking the rocket by hand with a 400mm zoom.

Rockets bursting in air… In this example, a home-brew motor mixed with 8 pounds of black powder hit a bit of a burp midair:

Spontaneous Combustion

As the solid propellant motors rapidly rise to full pressure and sufficient heat to melt aluminum, a motor casing rupture can burst a rocket apart from within… leading to a shower of rocket confetti overhead. Or at the pad…

Train Wreck

when catching the action in frame is a bit of an acquired reflex, as there is very little warning – just a puff of the igniter from the tail end, then BOOM

XPRS CATO!

The big ones feel like a concussion grenade – like this P-size motor overpressure on the pad:

Shock Wave!

It twisted the launch rail into a chunk of metal and threw it through the air. But most amazingly of all, the white circle in the dust is the shock wave emanating out at the speed of sound.

And when Hollywood gets involved, you get the Big Bada Boom, as with this staged explosion of a V2-like rocket on the pad, orchestrated by The Discovery Channel

V2 Big Bada Boom

We don’t normally get to see that as we do not use liquid fuels.

Comments

  1. #1 Ken Kryszak
    June 12, 2009

    The previous pics show that patience gets rewarded. Discovery Channel has no business staging a fireball like that. It mis-represents us and our rockets, reenactment bedammed. For that matter, I believe it mis-represents a V2 fire. The V2 burned Alcohol.

    BTW–Is that van as close as it looks to the fire?

    Ken

  2. #2 Bill Cheswick
    June 12, 2009

    Steve, that first photo is gorgious!

  3. #3 Jurvetson
    June 13, 2009

    thanks Bill. You were first to describe high power rocketry to me…

    Ken: I have not seen this “Time Warp” video segment yet. I wonder how they will position this stunt. They “simulated” a testing failure of an A4 at Peenemunde.

  4. #4 multi hile
    May 11, 2010

    thanks Bill. You were first to describe high power rocketry to me…

    Ken: I have not seen this “Time Warp” video segment yet. I wonder how they will position this stunt. They “simulated” a testing failure of an A4 at Peenemunde.

    thanks…admin

  5. #5 multihack 8.0
    June 8, 2010

    The previous pics show that patience gets rewarded. Discovery Channel has no business staging a fireball like that. It mis-represents us and our rockets, reenactment bedammed. For that matter, I believe it mis-represents a V2 fire. The V2 burned Alcohol.

    BTW–Is that van as close as it looks to the fire?

    Ken

  6. #6 lida
    July 5, 2010

    The previous pics show that patience gets rewarded. Discovery Channel has no business staging a fireball like that. It mis-represents us and our rockets, reenactment bedammed. For that matter, I believe it mis-represents a V2 fire. The V2 burned Alcohol.

    BTW–Is that van as close as it looks to the fire?

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