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WPB woman was saying goodbye to man when she was murdered

Last-minute choice to photograph rocket becomes shot of lifetime

West Palm Beach resident Marisa Marulli was planning to spend Saturday night at a big party introducing a trendy new hot spot. But instead, she decided to witness a different sort of launch and has the dazzling evidence to prove it.

“It was important for me to chase something unique like that, something different to do on a Saturday night,” says Marulli, 28, of the striking photograph she took of a rocket launched from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 8:18 p.m. The freelance photojournalist and documentary photographer got her shot, which captures the trajectory of the rocket as a glowing white arc against a pinkish-blue sky, standing off Vero Beach’s 20th Street.

» RELATED: First images from GOES-16 weather satellite awe scientists

And when she says “chase,” she’s not kidding. Marulli, who was supposed to attend the opening of Grange Hall in West Palm’s warehouse district off Parker Avenue, says that she was informed of the launch, which was not well publicized, by a friend in the know on Saturday, and decided at the last minute that she wanted to shoot it — “I’m fascinated by science,” she explains.

But to capture the whole launch, she needed to borrow a cord called a cable release, which enables photographers to shoot an event that goes over 30 seconds without shaking or blurring the photograph. So she arranged to get one from an old friend who lives in the north part of the county and “raced up there to get him” before realizing that neither of them had brought a memory card to record the shot.

» RELATED: GOES-R satellite to revolutionize weather forecasting

“We were really pushed for time, so we pulled over at a Best Buy when the launch was about to happen in 10 minutes,” Marulli says. Fortunately, time was on her side, because “the launch was delayed, and thank God it was, because that was the perfect amount of time” for her and her friend to get off the highway in Vero and get over to the beach for that perfect shot.

The shot, which captured the 95-second launch of the United Launch Alliance Delta IV, is a prime opportunity for Marulli, who worked in real estate and advertising, “a grueling world,” before quitting to realize “my dream” as a travel and nature photographer. She’s shot all over the world, including Siberia and Norway.

“I wake up every day and can’t believe this is real,” she says of her new profession.

» RELATED: People post stunning images of Saturday rocket launch on social media

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