Finding Atlantis with the Fujifilm X-T2

I’m not one that is enamored with cameras that can see in the dark. I could care less about cameras with claimed ISO ratings that go up to 200000 megawatts or what ever.. My personal philosophy is always find more light. However, in some cases, I will let myself become a high ISO fan boy. If you ever get near the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Center in central Florida, there are a couple of photographic opportunities that you will really appreciate having a bit of extra ISO in your camera.

Atlantis, External Tank and Boosters Fujifilm X-T2 XF 16-55mm f/2.8 1/800 second F8 ISO 200 16mm

The first thing you need to see there is the Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit. You can’t miss it, as it is dominated by the external fuel tank, which you pass on the way into the parking lot. Outside you don’t need to worry about ISO especially on a bright sunny day.

I have to say the people at the KSC Visitor Center have perfected the art of the reveal with the Atlantis exhibit and also with the older Saturn 5 exhibit that is a bus ride away from the center.  I’ve seen Atlantis at least 4 times now and I still get emotional as Atlantis is revealed. In fact I’ve hidden the revealed Atlantis on a separate page so you can experience seeing it for the first time there. If you can’t wait, click here to see Atlantis.

Once inside you have great access to Atlantis and to a full size mockup of the Hubble Telescope.  The great thing about Atlantis is that they have preserved it just as it was when it landed for the last time in 2011, complete with scorch marks.

Atlantis Cockpit With Scorch Marks Fujifilm X-T2 XF 16-55mm f/2.8 ISO 640 1/125 second f/2.8 24.7mm

You can bring a tripod into these exhibits but they do ask you not to use flash. Having the capability to shoot at ISO 1600 – 3200 and get clean files makes it more enjoyable than lugging a tripod around. The Fujifilm X-T2 is a perfect camera for hand held shooting in this context. If you are an HDR person by all means bring the tripod and work with longer exposures and lower ISO’s (especially hand with shooting the tiles under the spacecraft.)

Engines Space Shuttle Atlantis – Fujifilm X-T2 XF 16-55mm F2.8 ISO 3200 1/30 second f/2.8 16mm

The lighting inside is all over the place and it probably best to just accept the color casts and go with the flow. This is also a good environment to convert to black and white.

Atlantis Tail Surfaces – Fujifilm X-T2 Xf 16-55mm f/2.8 ISO 2000 1/125 second f/2.8 24mm

The ACROS film simulation was applied here where the tungsten and bright blue lighting were hard to control. You have all the time you want to discover the spacecraft and you can walk underneath the shuttle to get a good close look at the tiles. There are a number of other things to see within the exhibit. It is a great learning experience for the kids too.

When you’ve finished viewing Atlantis, get over to the buses and head out to the Saturn 5 exhibit. The bus ride takes up to 40 minutes . Our ride included a view of the Vehicle Assembly Building (huge, huge, huge) and a drive past Launch Pad 39B where the Shuttles were launched. This might not be the same route you have as the occasionally they do launch rockets from these active launch pads. While the ride is bumpy you can get a shots of the launch pads. You just have to compensate for the green tints in the bus windows.

Saturn 5 Motors – Fujifilm X-T2 XF 16-55mm f/2.9 ISO 1600 1/125 second f2.8 16mm

While the shuttle seems big up close the Saturn 5 rocket that launched astronauts to the moon (and back) just goes on and on. I think most people could stand inside of one of the first stage rocket motors of the Saturn 5.

Saturn 5 Third Stage Rocket – Fujifilm X-T2 XF 16-55mm f/2.8 ISO 3200 1/90 seconds f2/8

The building that houses the Saturn 5 exhibit does have a row of windows on the south side of the building which adds daylight or sunset light to the mix of multiple light sources.  Once again go with the flow.  The above images was a bit hard in that if you corrected for the white ball on the upper left of the image, the yellow outer band turns green. Just let things play out, it’s all about the images you can make.

Saturn 5 Motor – Xf 16-55mm f/2.8 ISO 2500 1/125 second f/2.8 47.2mm

Here again playing with the Fujifilm ACROS film simulations in post production.

The Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex is a wonder full place to visit and one that you can get some stunning images with the Fujifilm X-T2.

For the most part I shot the images with Auto ISO and shutter speeds, I default mine to a minimum of 1/125 of a second and a maximum ISO of 3200.  Worked here with all but one image where I had to let the shutter speed go to 1/30 of a second and held the camera very very steady.

Images shot with Fujifilm X-T2
Fujinon XF 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR