As the summer dwindles down, and the temperatures begin to drop, this seems like a somewhat inopportune time to photograph a heat wave. Missed it by just a few weeks, if you ask me. Perhaps I’ll take this as a time to wrap up on summer, and reminisce about the good times spent with family and friends over the past few months. Afterall, I’m now sleeping with the windows open at night– well, for the last few nights at least– so fall is surely knocking on the door. Tragic.
When I think of heat wave, the first thing which comes to mind are those “head-waves” that you see coming off of cars and streets when it’s boiling outside. This might result in an interesting picture, but I think I’ve missed that opportunity for the year; I’m about to be very busy with school (yay!), and two new jobs (double yay!), so I’ll be missing the prime-hot-time of the day, should we get any more hot weather. Next, I think of a meteorologist reporting on the weather while concurrently showing an image of an egg frying on a sidewalk. I so want to do this! Again, any chance of that happening has passed, particularly since Bill Nye the Science Guy says that takes a whopping 130 degrees. Yikes.
Another thing I think of — Florida. Talk about hot. Not only is it the place that I have more often escaped to when it’s winter here in Maryland, but it’s just plain hot, all the time. Don’t get me wrong; I’ve had some great times there, but the heat can be pretty torturous. One time in particular comes to mind…
My dad was lucky enough to get tickets to a shuttle launch a few years ago, the last servicing mission for the Hubble, so we (brother and mom included) took a couple of days off and headed down to sunny Florida. Now, one of the things about these launches is that you have to wait for the perfect conditions, and even while those conditions are present, there is a several hour wait prior to take off. This is no 1 1/2-2 hour early arrival for a flight. No, no. This was more like 5 hours, in the heat and sun, and nothing but a fleeting breeze which passed all too infrequently. While my parents were raving about how hot it was going to be, and gathering supplies as if we were taking a trek across a desert, you know I was more than skeptical. Then we got there — I was on the verge of death. Yes, as you can see, we were near the water, with umbrellas, sunglasses, and light-weight attire. No, none of this helps when it’s so hot you think everything is melting. But alas, as the Atlantis shuttle finally took off, it’s like the heat wasn’t even there — it was a pretty amazing sight to see, and to say the display of power was impressive would be an understatement. Hours of waiting in the blistering heat, a few minutes of take off excitement, and then practically running back on the air-conditioned bus.
So, as I think of a hot idea on these increasingly mild days enjoy a few pictures of the shuttle adventure. Sadly– only because I’m pretty sure I’ve lost the tape– I was filming the take off, so you’ll see my before and after shots below. I’ve included one of my dad’s pics so you could see the actual take off — pretty out of this world! 😉