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Looking up: Sixteen-year-old John Kraus is a rocket launch photographer

John Kraus rocket launch photography

Looking up: Sixteen-year-old John Kraus is a rocket launch photographer 1

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket launches cargo and science to the ISS, and the first stage of the rocket comes back and lands at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in July of 2016. Photo by John Kraus

Growing up in Satellite Beach, Florida, John Kraus has been watching launches for as long as he can remember. He’s now a photojournalist who covers rocket launches for AmericaSpace.com. Oh, and he’s just sixteen years old. Feel old yet? Keep reading to see more of his images and find out more about him.

You can follow John on Instagram and see more of his photos on his website.

John Kraus rocket launch photography

Looking up: Sixteen-year-old John Kraus is a rocket launch photographer 2

United Launch Alliance’s Delta IV Heavy rocket launches a classified mission, NROL-37, for the National Reconnaissance Office in June 2016. Photo by John Kraus

How did you get started in photography, and what do you shoot with now?

I decided to start photography randomly in January of 2015. I figured it could be a fun hobby to pick up and learn about. I use a Nikon D7100, but my closeup images of launches are captured with a D3300.

John Kraus rocket launch photography

Looking up: Sixteen-year-old John Kraus is a rocket launch photographer 3

ULA’s Atlas V rocket launches Morelos-3 in their 100th launch in October 2015. Photo by John Kraus

How did you start working as a photojournalist at such a young age?

Since I always watched launches, once I bought my camera, I started photographing them. After almost a year of experience, I was lucky enough to be credentialed under AmericaSpace.com as a media member.

John Kraus rocket launch photography

Looking up: Sixteen-year-old John Kraus is a rocket launch photographer 4

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launches Thaicom 8 satellite in May 2016. Photo by John Kraus

How have you continued to learn as a photographer?

I’ve learned a lot from my photo a day challenge that I’m doing this year. I’m taking a photo every day of the year. That’s it. Take a photo, upload it to Instagram by midnight. So far, I haven’t missed a day. It’s given me a way to be creative daily. Some photos aren’t so good, some are great. It’s a learning experience!

John Kraus rocket launch photography

Looking up: Sixteen-year-old John Kraus is a rocket launch photographer 5

Even in a light polluted city on Florida’s Space Coast, with proper editing I was able to bring out detail in the Milky Way. Also shown is a Perseid meteor and the Andromeda galaxy. August 2016. Photo by John Kraus

Do you hope to pursue a career in photography?

I plan to keep shooting, whether it’s professionally or as a hobbyist. I’m not sure yet!

John Kraus rocket launch photography

Looking up: Sixteen-year-old John Kraus is a rocket launch photographer 6

United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V rocket launches a classified mission, NROL-61, for the National Reconnaissance Office in July 2016. Photo by John Kraus

What have been some of the most memorable launches you’ve photographed?

Both SpaceX landings have been amazing to see. I was able to capture long exposure photographs of each launch. The recent United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy launch in June was spectacular, and very loud.


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