Shuttling Through the Years

It ended as it began. And, for me, further proof, as if I needed any, that I’ve been shooting pictures for a long time. The shuttle Endeavor just got towed through the populous streets of LA, to it’s final viewing place at the California Science Museum. (The staff of the LA Times put together a terrific time lapse. Check it out here.) Back at the beginning, the shuttles were also towed, out in far more sparse areas, on their transits from being constructed and tested in Palmdale, over to Edwards AFB. I shot the first three launches and landings of the space shuttle program, staying at the Days Inn in Cocoa Beach, and listening to Shirl the Girl at the Mousetrap with my bud Hank Morgan. We’d then hightail it to Orlando Airport, fly to LA, pick up cars, and head for the desert, hoping the shuttle would stay aloft even longer than the planned mission, so we could accumulate more day rates. And, being that freelance day rates for magazine at that time were a whopping $250 a day, you needed to garner a bunch of those puppies just to stay afloat. So, we would fervently hope for bad weather, so the fellas up in space would just have to go around again a few dozen times before landing.

As the young guys here in the studio noted, neither of them were born when I made these pictures. They mentioned that one of these days soon I’ll end up in a museum. Of exactly what, I’m not sure. More tk….