The shuttle Endeavor flies over Malibu Beach atop a modified 747 on it's final flight to Los Angeles where it will be retired. (Todd Bigelow)


A year ago today marked the time when photographers scrambled around California to record the final hours of flight for the famous space shuttle Endeavor. As it made its’ way into Southern California after buzzing famous landmarks further north, I decided to try for something a bit different. I didn’t have an assignment, nor did I care about make a photo that would generate lots of stock or print sales. Instead, I just wanted to make one cool ass photo.

I knew the majority of photographers would scramble to shoot Endeavor over the Hollywood sign, downtown or suspended in flight over the Griffith Observatory. Me? I went surfing. Well, I didn’t actually surf, but I rolled the dice in hopes that I could capture a great image of the shuttle flying low over wetsuit-clad surfers riding the notorious Malibu waves. I was surprised that I didn’t see another obvious professional photographer on the sand, but given that most run in packs and were likely shoulder-to-shoulder at the Griffith Observatory, I relished the wait on a beautiful day with few others around.

As it turned out, the shuttle came in a lot higher than expected. When it was reported that the shuttle would skirt the coastline around 1400 feet, either I didn’t realize that 1400 feet is pretty damn high, or the shuttle came in on a loftier approach. Either way, my “dreamed for” shot didn’t materialize, but I was nonetheless happy with the image and happier with my decision to screw the safe bet of shooting what everyone else was after. As it turned out, it is one of my best selling prints after all………….

The anniversary print sale begins today for one week. You can save 30% on a print of the shuttle cruising over Malibu surfers. Use code FLYOVER and enjoy.





Todd Bigelow Photography

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.