Sometimes we make plans, spending hours figuring out how we are going to set up a shot and other times we get lucky and are in the right place at the right time.
That’s what happened to San Francisco photographer, Justin Majeczky and his friend Abe Blair. The pair was out shooting a time-lapse of the Golden Gate Bridge this weekend on Slacker Hill, waiting for some nice shots of the famous landmark with the fog rolling in. Though fog seemed unlikely on the clear night, the pair decided to hang out anyway. They left their cameras in the bag and just brainstormed ideas. As night fell, Justin set up his camera to do some time-lapse of the bridge, when about 100 shots into it, the pair noticed something that looked like a meteor shooting across the sky. Justin shouted to Abe to “shoot it!” and stopped his time-lapse to shoot video. By that time, the meteor-like object had blown up and expanded over the city. Justin wrote me in an email,
I remember saying over and over, “What was that??” I had to remove the audio from the clip because of the profanity we were yelling with excitement! I knew it was not a meteor because it I watched it leave the atmosphere. It was a very exciting and thrilling moment. I couldn’t believe our luck. I was set up aimed almost perfect with the perfect low light camera (Sony a7s) and a fast Zeiss lens. I’ve never seen anything like that and I don’t know if I ever will again. Truly a capture of a lifetime.
It turns out Justin and Abe captured a Trident D5 ballistic missile launched by the U.S. Navy who was conducting tests of the missiles off the USS Kentucky. According to the official statement, “The missile was not armed. Strategic Systems Programs does not routinely announce missile testing. Information regarding the test launch of Trident II (D5) missiles is classified before the launch.”
You can see more of Justin’s work on his website here.
In other related news, numerous Southern Californians freaked out and reported UFO sightings this weekend. No aliens in sight, folks, just a ballistic missile launch.