Manatee Key is a county park that felt like an inexpensive private park. Close dirt/sand sites, simple facilities, no amenities to speak of. Perhaps a review will be forthcoming but for now I just want to capture some of what we experienced in the area. The county park itself was nice enough with an area overlooking the Indian River including a view of the Kennedy Space Center. You can just make out the big orange external fuel tank setup outside the Atlantis exhibition. Which leads us to the first experience of the area the Kennedy Space Center. If you ever plan a visit there be sure to book any of the special tours ahead of time, they were all booked when we made our visit. Depending upon your level of interest and how you like to experience this place I would consider taking two days. We did a single day getting there maybe 15 minutes after it opened and left at closing. The place was not crowded at all and we had to keep up what for me is a brisk pace to hit just the high spots. Bear in mind, I went to engineering school with the not so vague notion of working for NASA as a goal, and only through a retroactive hiring freeze by Ronald Reagan did I not start my career at NASA. I didn’t even consider any other option until I was fired by the President. So your level of interest might not be the same as mine. Unlike my hiring experience the visit was a success. We started getting chased out of the parking lot and up to the ticket booth with a warm Florida morning shower but we were rewarded with an enchanting rainbow behind the rocket garden.
We skipped the rocket garden and headed over to the Atlantis exhibition. This exhibition has the external fuel tank and the solid rocket boosters attached ready for the space shuttle. We entered the exhibit that has Disney like queuing setups but attendance was light (or they were overly optimistic) and we waited only a short while to enter the “staging area” where you watch an IMAX like presentation on the shuttle program, which concludes with a dramatic opening of a huge door revealing a nose on view of the actual Atlantis. I didn’t bring my wide angle lense (dumb) and I’m not sure it would really be possible to capture the impact anyway.
We paused to look at the nose of the Atlantis. The room was dark so I got to excercise my F1.2 lense. Although I did use the flash on this to make sure Pam wasn’t just a dark shadow.
I am fairly pleased with this nature light shot it captures the presence of the shuttle in the exhibit for me.
Pam got to play photographer, this one is shot with the lense wide open (F1.2) and the ISO cranked up to 3200 pretty good for a very dark environment. Nice depth of field and Pam is actually in focus. I am learning to use the focus indicator.
Pam got this shot with her cell phone a good shot the captures the feel of being next to a real shuttle that everyone expected to fly again until Congress decided to cut the budget.
My plan was to post everything from Manatee Key in this post but this seems to have gone long enough. Pam is making our dinner (a big salad) and my motivation to add more has faded as my first glass of wine soaks in so I’ll close. The plan is to post about the bust tour and the visit to Merrit Island. From this experience I’m guessing it will be two more posts.