When A Rocket Launch Starts A Fire And Your EOS 5Ds Is Toast


Equipment tragedies – they happen to us all.

And, as you can imagine, photographing things for NASA can get a little dicey, especially when you’re working around rockets and the like as one photographer for the National Aeronautical and Space Administration found out while capturing a launch for his employer.

Spectacular shots were taken all around and everything seemed perfect for photographer Bill Ingalls, except for one minor problem –  his Canon EOS 5DS was toasted in the process.

Now, you might be wondering to yourself, how does this make the news aside from it being at a Space X rocket launch?

Image via Thijs van der Weide from Pexels.com.

Well, as many of you might have already (incorrectly) assumed, the original story was that the camera was placed too close to the launch pad when it was actually the furthest unit from the launch pad that suffered the damage.

The camera, a melted heap embedded with rock and debris, captured the attention of CBS News correspondent Peter King who joked that this was likely not covered under warranty.

NASA wasn’t hearing it, however, and immediately came to Ingalls defence, saying: “NASA photographer Bill Ingalls has been shooting for the agency for 30 years. He knows where to set up his cameras…”

The explanation offered by NASA was that the Space X rocket launch somehow sparked a fire that then destroyed the camera.

Ingalls explained: “I had six remotes, two outside the launch pad safety perimeter and four inside…Unfortunately, the launch started a grass fire that toasted one of the cameras outside the perimeter.”

NASA also added: “Once the fire reached the camera, it was quickly engulfed. The body started to melt. When Ingalls returned to the site, firefighters were waiting to greet him. Recognizing the camera was destroyed, Ingalls forced open the body to see if its memory card could be salvaged. It could, which is how we can see the fire approaching the camera.”

If you’d like to view the photos from the launch and the setup Bill Ingalls used, you can view them over on PetaPixel and you can follow Bill Ingalls on Flickr and via NASA's Flickr feed

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Kehl is our staff photography news writer and has over a decade of experience in online media and publishing and you can get to know him better here

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