It was 10:15 and I didn’t have much time. I couldn’t quickly get to the Intrepid Air and Space Museum on the Hudson River and 46th Street. However I might be able to see something from Riverside Park and 72nd Street. That was just a few blocks away. I screwed the 300mm lens to the Nikon and was out the door.
There was a crowd at the top of the steps leading down to Riverside Park. “Yes, the shuttle should be here soon…at 10:35,” someone told me. And it did arrive on time, only seconds after my arrival.
There it was, small but getting bigger as it flew low and slow up the Hudson, near the shore. At about 66th Street the brilliant morning sun at last fully illuminated the Shuttle and its carrier 747. Then there it was before me, bright, huge, magnificent, a dream become real. It was beautiful as it flew over and nearly filled the sky…the crowd audibly gasped with emotion. Here it was, an American spaceship, flying over 72nd Street on New York's Upper West Side, essentially my backyard. It was astounding.
And my photographs were astonishing. Just by luck all the elements of sun, clouds, and my position on the hill overlooking the Hudson River were perfect. I’ve photographed at scores of air shows, but that day’s happy combination of elements was indeed rare.