A team of photographers from the Los Angeles Times worked together to make a stunning time-lapse video of the Space Shuttle Endeavour’s final voyage through the streets of Los Angeles.
The video, almost three minutes in length, captures the logistical feat of maneuvering the shuttle, which has a 78-foot wingspan, around trees and light poles and shows the crowds gathered to watch it wind its way through the streets on the way to the California Science Center.
Bryan Chan, a photo editor and photographer at the Los Angeles Times, explained the back story of the time-lapse video, which was shot by fifteen photographers strategically positioned around the shuttle’s route over a two-day period:
Our photo coverage, led by photo editor Robert St. John, took weeks of planning with staffers scouting the route for prime shooting spots. We secured permission from property owners to photograph from balconies, front yards, etc. We rented a hotel room to ensure a view of the shuttle next to iconic Randy’s Donuts before crossing the 405 Freeway. The people at the Best Western Airpark hotel, Museum of Natural History and Animo Inglewood Charter High school were very helpful in allowing us to use their rooftops.
Luckily for me the orbiter wouldn’t be moving too fast as my plan was to be set up just ahead of it in spots I had scouted earlier. Photographers were also assigned specific stretches of the route or to walk alongside it. Top speed would be 2 mph. In all we had about 15 photographers covering this.
As the details and schedule of the move became clear I realized that this was going to be a long haul with very little sleep, if any. The shuttle was going to leave LAX at 11:30 p.m. on Oct. 11 and be in constant motion for the next several days except for stops to reconfigure the transporter. What did I get myself into? …
At each spot I had two to three cameras working at a time with different lenses and angles. All were set on tripods or clamped to stationary objects. Depending on how fast the action was, the cameras were set to shoot at intervals of once every second up to once every 2 minutes. …
This was one of my most memorable assignments. It was grueling but very interesting to see the space shuttle up close. It never got old seeing the incongruity of a spaceship rolling down a city street. In fact, they parked it right outside our hotel window for the night. My colleague Don Bartletti and I kept saying to each other, “There’s a space shuttle right outside our room!”