Marcus Cote. Freelance photographer on Florida's Space Coast.
Official photographer of 2018 Trench Media Grit Popup series.
Former photographer at Lifeguard TV and eLifeGuard.com.
Owner and operator of Marcus Cote Photo.
Pieces I have written:
Frequently asked questions:
Q: "How do you get access to visit Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Kennedy Space Center, and the launch pads?"
A: I receive press credentials to cover rocket launches by working for a reputable media organization that is recognized by the various credential issuers. Depending on the launch, SpaceX, ULA, NASA, the U.S. Air Force, or various payload/rocket companies may be involved in the media-credentialing process.
Q: "How are you able to take close-up photos of rockets?"
A: Using press credentials to access to various spaceflight facilities as answered in the question above, I use several cameras/locations to capture different angles of rocket launches. For some photos, I am physically present to operate/hold the camera. These may include telephoto images of distant launches or wide angle long-exposures of launches at night. These are possible from both public and non-public launch viewing locations. For some of my other photos, you may notice extreme up-close views of rocket engines or vantages that appear to be within a short walk from the rocket at the launch pad. In these instances, I am not physically present during the time of launch. Instead, these cameras are set up and left to sit near the launch pad several hours to days before launch. Depending on the launch pad, distances range from 1,500 feet to 150 feet or less. When the rocket engines ignite and produce a deafening roar, a sound-activated trigger attached to the camera causes photos to be taken remotely. In most of my photo captions, you will hear me refer to the photos being taken from a "remote" or "sound-activated" camera. At these distances, it is likely that humans could be severely injured or even killed due to extreme heat, blast, and acoustic shock. Because of this, areas within a given radius of the launch pad are evacuated and secure during the time of launch. Occasionally, photographers return to damaged or destroyed cameras due to these incredible forces.
Q: "What type of camera do you use? What type of camera to you recommend for a first camera?"
A: For nearly all of my images, Nikon DSLR cameras and lenses from Nikon and various companies are used. When recommending a first camera for a new photographer, I usually explain that there is no perfect option that will create brilliant photos for all users under all circumstances. Crucial factors involved when purchasing a camera include the potential subjects (will you be photographing landscape, sports, portraits, etc.?), portability, and budget. With all of these factors in mind, I typically suggest a camera with interchangeable lenses, an APSC-sized sensor or larger, and the ability to use the camera in the 'manual' settings mode. A camera with these attributes provides an excellent platform to learn the technical aspects of photography and expand capabilities through new lenses/bodies as needed. As a closing statement, I must express that even the most expensive cameras and lenses are useless without a creative and technically-educated person to operate them. As with many skills and hobbies, the amount of time and experience spent learning photography and taking photos far surpasses the make and model of cameras or lenses used.