A little while back, we found ourselves in contact with a customer of ours whose work was too impressive for us not to delve deeper. Walter Scriptunas II, amongst other things, photographs spacecraft launches – and he uses Triggertrap kit to do it! Now if that isn’t a cool line of work can someone please tell us what is? Naturally we wanted to learn more about how a person ends up taking photos where there's only a minimal risk of having his face scorched off, and how Triggertrap is helping him on his way.
Can you tell us a little about you and your work?
I have been interested in photography since a young age; I am 22 now. I have always had a fascination with steam locomotives, so that was my primary photography interest in the early days and continues to be one of my favourite photo subjects today. However, in recent years, launch photography as well as auto racing has taken up a lot of my focus as well.
My interest in spaceflight also started at a young age. I enjoyed watching launches along the Florida Space Coast when I was a kid with my parents during our family vacations to Florida. I always wanted to get closer to the action, and here I am now! There were a lot of dead ends along the way, but I was able to get past those and am happy to be where I am at today. I am enjoying every minute of it. I have most recently been shooting rocket launches for SpaceflightNow.com.
What's the best part of the job?
The best part of the job is the places and things I get to see and the great friendships and business relationships I have made along the way. Although I have photographed several launches, I still continue to learn a wealth of information at each one that I can put towards future launches. With the remote cameras, I do not know if I have got the shots until I get access to my cameras a couple hours after a launch. The wait can be quite daunting, but seeing successful results make it all worthwhile. Well…unless the camera didn’t fire for some reason, which can be extremely disappointing!
What Triggertrap equipment are you using in your work and how?
I currently use three Triggertrap V1's. For a typical launch, we set up cameras one or two days ahead of time at the launch pad. Once the camera is set up, I will not see it again until after the launch.
Has Triggertrap made any photography technique easier?
Setting up the Triggertrap for a launch is a breeze, which makes it so desirable. I have yet to have a failure with the Triggertrap. I have one attempt at getting the shot and the TT V1 hasn’t let me down yet. It is a very important tool for getting multiple high quality images of the same launch.
Does Triggertrap enable you to do anything that you could not do before?
The Triggertrap has not necessarily allowed me do things I was unable to do before when photographing launches, but it has made it easier to get the desired results, and has allowed me to feel much more confident that I will get the photo I set out for. I believe that is the most important thing of all. Reliability is not something I have had to worry about with the V1!
What camera kit are you using?
My primary camera is a Canon 5D Mark III. For the launch remotes I use a Canon 7D, two 40D’s, 30D and an assortment of various wide-angle lenses. I tend to use cheaper lenses, since they encounter the most extreme conditions during a launch.
This is one of the most exciting things about what we do here at Triggertrap: not knowing who might stumble across our products or what might be possible. There’s no way our team can test whether our products can withstand the heat of a rocket launch (there aren't too many of those in the South of England, sadly) or whether our high-speed mode will be fast enough to capture a hummingbird in flight… but then that’s where you lovely people come in!
Try our sound triggers for yourself!
The Triggertrap v1 is completely sold out now, unfortunately, but if you have a smart-phone running iOS or Android, you're in luck: We have sound triggering built into our apps - get yours from Apple iTunes Store or Google Play, and find out which cable you need to hook up your smartphone to your SLR camera.