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NASA captures the earth at night with Nikon D3S

By dpreview staff on Nov 14, 2011 at 20:14 GMT

German videographer Michael König has compiled a breathtaking HD video from footage shot from the International Space Station. The original video clips, that König has processed and set to music, were created from a series of time-lapse stills of the Earth at night and include footage of Aurora Borealis and Australis. Viewing the original still images on NASA's 'The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth' website reveals they were shot with a Nikon D3S with 17-35mm F2.8 and 14-24mm F2.8 lenses (via Daily Mail).

Original video from: Image Science and Analysis Laboratory, NASA-Johnson Space Center. "The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth."

Comments

Total comments: 159
12
Zuramis
By Zuramis (Nov 27, 2011)

Superb motion shot blows me away!

0 upvotes
GWTony
By GWTony (Nov 24, 2011)

Thanks for sharing this!

0 upvotes
Picturenaut
By Picturenaut (Nov 23, 2011)

So beautiful, in particular the northern lights. Shows again how thin and vulnerable the atmosphere of our planet is - and we abuse it as waste dumb for our greenhouse gases. Latest climate bulletin of the World Meteorolical Society WMO states again a new high in the amount of greenhouse gases and an accelerated rate of increase... This comes to my mind, not the fuzz about the camera used for it.

0 upvotes
J R R S
By J R R S (Nov 22, 2011)

Looks like these NASA boys need a little help with setting up timelapse - i'll come up there and sort it out, (i'll wave my fee, although I do expect all travel costs to be covered) should they want it done right next time ;).... put it on AP & I'de throw open that lens rather than let it hit a nasty 12800ISO! - I saw F3.5 and ISO 12k... go f2.8 & 6k!....

The D3s Looks like carp at 12800ISO...

0 upvotes
WimKe
By WimKe (Nov 18, 2011)

Aamazing and excellent pictures. Sometime dreaming away.

0 upvotes
Muhammad Jassim
By Muhammad Jassim (Nov 18, 2011)

EPIC!

0 upvotes
felice rubio
By felice rubio (Nov 18, 2011)

Fantastic!!!
Whom is playing? Good music.

Thanks!
Dino

0 upvotes
masudparves
By masudparves (Nov 17, 2011)

Is this real? I have doubt. But whatever it is this is
Amazing
doubtlessly.....

http://www.funnyfunnyjokes.org/2011/10/14/the-girl-who-cared/?utm_source=parves@gmail.com&utm_campaign=win

0 upvotes
NikonD3sUser
By NikonD3sUser (Nov 18, 2011)

of course it's real! lol

0 upvotes
JosephD05
By JosephD05 (Nov 17, 2011)

Gotta love all of these Canon fanboys..lol. The up coming 1Dx MIGHT...just MIGHT be the ONLY thing Canon has EVER had to compete with the D3S so please stop the nonsense. Perhaps Nasa wanted images there were in FOCUS and not noisy? :)

4 upvotes
tplw
By tplw (Nov 17, 2011)

I think the music is awesome, and that Michael Konig has very good taste.
Experimental creative and the best thing is, it works wonderfully alongside the images. Great stuff!

1 upvote
BLWeddings
By BLWeddings (Nov 17, 2011)

Amazing!!

0 upvotes
Brandon Feinberg
By Brandon Feinberg (Nov 17, 2011)

Anyone know who this song is by.

0 upvotes
Caleido
By Caleido (Nov 17, 2011)

You can find it on the original Vimeo page in the description.

Jan Jelinek - Do Dekor

0 upvotes
mikeoregon
By mikeoregon (Nov 17, 2011)

Try watching the video while listening to John Lennon singing 'Imagine'.

0 upvotes
jewelfuji
By jewelfuji (Nov 17, 2011)

Beautiful

0 upvotes
Brett Bradford
By Brett Bradford (Nov 16, 2011)

Wonderful footage.

I thought the music was just fine.

0 upvotes
wutsurstyle
By wutsurstyle (Nov 16, 2011)

Too much tungsten lighting in this world.. I hope his white balance was correct. =P

0 upvotes
jaidee
By jaidee (Nov 16, 2011)

Wooh....! beautiful

0 upvotes
RoelHendrickx
By RoelHendrickx (Nov 16, 2011)

Impressive views.
I do not think the camera matters a great deal here.
The speed could have been a little less for my tastes, but then the illusion of film would probably have been lost because we are used to so many frames per second.
I thought the music was quite alright.

0 upvotes
Ilkka V
By Ilkka V (Nov 16, 2011)

I have an alternative solution for the music that so many of you hate. Open up the Vimeo video, mute it and open this to another tab and run it background.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZnHmskwqCCQ

1 upvote
JackRhine
By JackRhine (Nov 16, 2011)

I don't care which camera, especially considering the rich bounty of cameras that are able to perform this task. Nevertheless, it is amazing! Just think where we were only 20 years ago, or 10 for that matter. Great stuff.

1 upvote
LVPhoto1
By LVPhoto1 (Nov 16, 2011)

I was going to make a comment ..but I concur what Geopaf said;)

0 upvotes
MatsudaMan
By MatsudaMan (Nov 16, 2011)

Amazing video...don't care what camera they used. Too bad the music blows - literally sounds like noise....utter crap....made me want to stop the video short.

1 upvote
Geopaf
By Geopaf (Nov 16, 2011)

Amazing photography. Who cares what make of camera they used, they could have used a disposable from Boots and still captured impressive images that none of us will ever experience. So please give the technojargon a rest and forget about canon vs nikon for a moment. And get a life because people that love photography are not that bothered that much about camera gear, you know what they say, the best camera is the one you have with you.

5 upvotes
pentaxmesuper
By pentaxmesuper (Nov 15, 2011)

@Michael König: greats videos, a little bit to fast, go in contact to bavarian TV BR3, produce a new volume of "space night" including the fantastic music of space night II-VIII and sell this on bluray 1080p. :-)

0 upvotes
Mike Wee
By Mike Wee (Nov 15, 2011)

I thought it was too fast also. However I do not think it is Michael's choice. I am wondering if the shooting original interval was maybe too long... Then playing it a bit slower would result in jittery video.

0 upvotes
Caleido
By Caleido (Nov 17, 2011)

I feel the speed made the images more powerful.
In space, you would expect everything to be slow, like all the other footage we have come to see by now.
But this time, it's not. It looked, sounded and felt like another planet all together.

0 upvotes
JackM
By JackM (Nov 15, 2011)

Such a historic video, and that's the music they chose??

0 upvotes
DanCee
By DanCee (Nov 15, 2011)

I like! :) very nice and amazing view

0 upvotes
hflavo
By hflavo (Nov 15, 2011)

Neat-O! The aurora's and the lightening flashes are the coolest!

1 upvote
abolit
By abolit (Nov 15, 2011)

what is so special about the D3S that can't be done with some other cameras?

2 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (Nov 15, 2011)

I would prefer 14-24/2.8 mounted on Canon body but there is nothing wrong with D3S if you already have it.

0 upvotes
NikonD3sUser
By NikonD3sUser (Nov 16, 2011)

superior low light sensitivity with astonishingly low noise, which of course enables faster shutter speeds so as to minimize blurring (when your speed is 17,000 mph it kinda helps).

2 upvotes
jambalawa
By jambalawa (Jan 6, 2012)

That sounds fast but remember the subject isn't 10 meters away or something.. so the actual movement of the subject across the image frame isn't anything like that sounds...

0 upvotes
marinabay
By marinabay (Feb 28, 2012)

aside from better low light performance, the nikon lenses listed above has extra low dispersion elements that don't use fluorite, which crack in extreme temperatures.

0 upvotes
unknown member
By (unknown member) (Nov 15, 2011)

Stunning. Noticed the weather channel showing this as their number one weather video, and they suggested it should remain so forever.

0 upvotes
photosen
By photosen (Nov 15, 2011)

Mesmerizing...

0 upvotes
Rickard Hansson
By Rickard Hansson (Nov 15, 2011)

It looks like the 17-35 f2.8 s used as well when checking Exif of images.
3Ds as camera.

0 upvotes
Noogy
By Noogy (Nov 15, 2011)

He should have used a Canon DSLR :-)

2 upvotes
marinabay
By marinabay (Feb 28, 2012)

canon lenses wouldn't survive the extreme environment. check the nasa link above.. or just go here
http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov/sseop/metadata/camera.htm
no canon stuff here.. there's a reason.

0 upvotes
Antonio Rojilla
By Antonio Rojilla (Nov 15, 2011)

Ok, so I'll ask again and I hope no one else tells me again that it is the nile because not only is the nile too easy to identify in the video... that's absolutely not what I'm talking about. For those that didn't get it or could not see what I saw... what's the long orange strip at 3:47 and 4:38? My bet is the India-Pakistan border... could it be?

0 upvotes
Nitsark
By Nitsark (Nov 15, 2011)

There you go: http://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/2011/09/06/photo-a-space-view-of-the-india-pakistan-border/

Comment edited 38 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Nitsark
By Nitsark (Nov 15, 2011)

and another one: http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/science/article2442082.ece

0 upvotes
whtchocla7e
By whtchocla7e (Nov 15, 2011)

Very amazing footage.
Now back to sad reality.

2 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (Nov 15, 2011)

when I look at a great picture, I often think what made it so great, the subject object, camera, or the photographer. so which one here?

0 upvotes
Xon_Fedaa
By Xon_Fedaa (Nov 16, 2011)

You've omitted the one that applies here: Perspective. Via this video, we've been afforded a viewpoint which few, if any, of us will ever experience firsthand.

0 upvotes
papparazzi
By papparazzi (Nov 15, 2011)

THE VIDEO SHOULD HAVE THIS MUSIC:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4x2PWMtKQ40

0 upvotes
Joe Ogiba
By Joe Ogiba (Nov 15, 2011)

I also like soundtracks from Hans Zimmer like this one from Inception:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1_4f17QBlA

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
vtinitus
By vtinitus (Nov 15, 2011)

I'd rather opt for Carl Sagan's (edited) words and the subtle soundtrack of this: http://youtu.be/oY59wZdCDo0

Awesome video anyway. Thumps up fellow countryman!

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
nellydesign
By nellydesign (Nov 16, 2011)

Actually this...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hYMseN4XzxI

0 upvotes
JPMontez
By JPMontez (Nov 15, 2011)

Makes me feel so small... Superb job.

0 upvotes
SirSeth
By SirSeth (Nov 15, 2011)

Great Scott! That is some of the most amazing time lapse photography I've ever seen. I'm enthralled and only on my third watch!

1 upvote
Stollen1234
By Stollen1234 (Nov 15, 2011)

nice) imagine if these were taken with a canon camera..the colors and the clarity would be unsurpassed.

Comment edited 29 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
kwojdyna
By kwojdyna (Nov 15, 2011)

You are kidding... aren't you?

0 upvotes
Stollen1234
By Stollen1234 (Nov 15, 2011)

yes i am

2 upvotes
Rocker44
By Rocker44 (Nov 15, 2011)

Well that's sorted that out!

0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (Nov 15, 2011)

14-24/2.8 on D3S is sick that Canon cannot catch. I would say Canon or Nikon they are not very different these days, but NASA obviously prefers Nikon not based on the performance. they used to use incapable D2x and low quality Nikkor lenses before.

0 upvotes
unknown member
By (unknown member) (Nov 15, 2011)

Perhaps they used those "inferior" cameras because they don't fail like Canon is so apt to do in extraordinary circumstances. Just a guess on my part based on all the extreme climate results in the past.

0 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Nov 15, 2011)

There are actually some D2Xs 12-24mm F4 images in this video, so they can't have been completely incapable.

1 upvote
yabokkie
By yabokkie (Nov 15, 2011)

inside ISS is a well controlled environment that any compact will do the job if you don't mind image quality.

0 upvotes
Stollen1234
By Stollen1234 (Nov 16, 2011)

actually Nikon rate of failure is higher than canon based on consumer report numbers

0 upvotes
NikonD3sUser
By NikonD3sUser (Nov 16, 2011)

I love these Nikon vs Canon threads. To make this video, the crew fastened the D3s to a stationary object and let the shutter go continuously until daylight. Max is 45 minutes per orbit as each orbit is 90 minutes, and remember that the ISS is moving at 17,000 Miles Per Hour. a fast shutter speed is essential in order to avoid blurring. In low light, you have to bump the iso way up and thats where the D3s shines, high iso and low noise., Canon just can't compete.

1 upvote
Karl Gnter Wnsch
By Karl Gnter Wnsch (Nov 17, 2011)

The only reason NASA prefers Nikon is that certain lenses in the Canon range use the optically superior fluorite elements - which NASA doesn't trust to survive the vibrations during vehicle launch...

0 upvotes
Danlo
By Danlo (Nov 15, 2011)

Amazing... And this is the planet we are trying to destroy with every means possible.. I sincerely hope humanity dies with it. We dont deserve this beautiful planet.

1 upvote
aeolos
By aeolos (Nov 15, 2011)

what are you talking about.. you may speak for yourself but i am not destroying this planet *rolleyes

6 upvotes
Stollen1234
By Stollen1234 (Nov 15, 2011)

people sometimes do contribute to the destruction of this planet without even knowing..ex using palstic bags at the supermarket..Hating Jane fonda..backing wars..denying climate change...etc etc

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
yabokkie
By yabokkie (Nov 15, 2011)

the green planet is so beautiful because
there are 7 billion people shi++ing on it everyday.

Comment edited 39 seconds after posting
1 upvote
regardlese
By regardlese (Nov 15, 2011)

une merveille!

0 upvotes
Adrian Harris
By Adrian Harris (Nov 15, 2011)

Looked much better with the sound on mute.

0 upvotes
Jozef M
By Jozef M (Nov 15, 2011)

+1, I find it most disturbing, silly, nervous sounds, not even music. Put J Straus underneeth, like Space2001 ...

0 upvotes
taotoo
By taotoo (Nov 15, 2011)

Absolutely agree. The music dilutes the pictures.

0 upvotes
Sdaniella
By Sdaniella (Nov 15, 2011)

fun to watch lightning storms, auroras, and city lights at night or dusk-dawn across our planet
odd music though.

0 upvotes
tomkaten
By tomkaten (Nov 15, 2011)

I found the music totally unfit as well. No disrespect to its composer or those who enjoyed it, but images from space, IMO, should have space music. I even went as far as to replace it with something a bit more to my taste and now I have a watchable video. You can find it below, if you care to see how it looks.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ii-JaZ2Prrc

Comment edited 5 times, last edit 4 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
guillealv
By guillealv (Nov 15, 2011)

not that i enjoyed the music either... but i am sorry to say that there is not such thing as "space music" as sound waves need air (or any other medium, for that matter) to travel. thus, in the vacuum of space, sorry, no sounds :)

0 upvotes
tomkaten
By tomkaten (Nov 15, 2011)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_music

Thanks for the crash course in sound propagation, but it wasn't necessary :)

0 upvotes
Caleido
By Caleido (Nov 16, 2011)

I actually clicked on your link, expecting some original piece of music. Maybe classical. Or some ambient.

I sincerely hope you are being sarcastic.

Those powerful images really deserve more than some copy pasted cliché soundtrack from the mid 80s.

0 upvotes
tomkaten
By tomkaten (Nov 16, 2011)

1. How do you copy-paste music ?
2. One man's cliche is another one's passion.
3. I didn't post the link to get impressions and I honestly didn't hope everyone would like it either, hence the syntagm "now I have a watchable video". As in "for myself".
4. I'm not the only one for whom the original music did not click, it seems. Wait, bad choice of words, actually all it did was click for five minutes :)
5. I never edit or repost other people's videos, but this one had a profound impact on me and made me want to hear a more "customized" version.
6. I was not being sarcastic.
7. People are too quick to criticize these days.
8. Arguing with someone about their musical taste is like trying to convince the world that sea water is sweet. It's got no finality.

1 upvote
Caleido
By Caleido (Nov 16, 2011)

I'm not arguing, I just gave my opinion.
Like you gave your opinion about the original score.

If you post a link somewhere on the internet, people might just click on it. Don't you think? Especially, when you alter an original piece of creative work and claim it is better now.

Great enumeration skills, btw.

0 upvotes
tomkaten
By tomkaten (Nov 16, 2011)

"When you alter an original piece of creative work and claim it is better now".

When did I ever say it was "better than the original" ?

A quick browse of your recent posts shows that you're quite upset with those who didn't enjoy the original track.

Autotuners are original as well, that doesn't mean I have to like that crap.

You want to pass as this great defender of originality and creativity, and I have the greatest respect for both, but your final statement just goes to show that you're here to troll people that don't share your opinion.

Comment edited 14 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Caleido
By Caleido (Nov 16, 2011)

People who claim they can end a normal discussion by calling the other "a troll", are the true trolls of this world.

And 'a quick browse of my posts", just shows I clearly have an opinion about people having no respect for the original work (calling it "cheap crap" for example"). Nothing more.

And now you post a link where you edit the music to make it work better for you - how is that not claiming it's better now, btw? I comment on that and you get all defensive. Next time, don't post the link if you can't handle opinions.

0 upvotes
tomkaten
By tomkaten (Nov 16, 2011)

You're the one that approached this whole matter with that typical "holier than thou" attitude that I came to despise so much.

You can't really expect to mock people up with "fine" sarcasms such as "great enumeration skills" and be taken seriously after. And if YOU are free to post on an open forum and express your admiration towards an original score, then others have the very same right to express their discontent.

Arguing on bulletin boards is not really my specialty, so I think I'll let others handle this amazing task.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Caleido
By Caleido (Nov 16, 2011)

And I have again the very same right to express my discontent when others edit an original video with their own material so, I quote, "it becomes watchable". So what's the fuzz?

And the enumeration thingie, you clearly don't see that when you answer someone in that mathematical way, you open the doorway to sarcasm. Be a sport and take it.

0 upvotes
J R R S
By J R R S (Nov 23, 2011)

Thats some cheezzzy carp you put it too... I think silence is wayyyy better....

"space music" lol

0 upvotes
Debankur Mukherjee
By Debankur Mukherjee (Nov 15, 2011)

Excellent ....thats Nikon !!

1 upvote
J R R S
By J R R S (Nov 23, 2011)

No thats NASA.....

0 upvotes
kevinlundoh
By kevinlundoh (Nov 15, 2011)

I can see my house from here!

4 upvotes
love_them_all
By love_them_all (Nov 15, 2011)

The visual is amazing. I'd love to see another one from a little further away POV.

I agree the music is not the best. They should have change music about 1:30 into the video to something else to keep it interesting.

0 upvotes
DaveMarx
By DaveMarx (Nov 16, 2011)

I'd like a higher POV, too - it'd mean the world is working with a bigger space budget. ;)

Wikipedia: "The ISS is maintained in a nearly circular orbit with a minimum mean altitude of 278 km (173 mi) and a maximum of 460 km (286 mi)."

As to music? It was chosen to evoke the filmmaker's POV. I think it works, though there are plenty of other possible approaches. Other than selecting and sequencing the various video clips and the music, the filmmaker had little room for expression, so I think he went for a "statement." Folks forget that the '2001' soundtrack wasn't just straight-up Strauss. Mid-20th Century composer György Sándor Ligeti's music probably gets more screen time than J. and R. Strauss put together. Ligeti provides the tension, Strauss, the relief. That's usually the way it is in film scores - dissonance/assonance. If you will, this video's soundtrack represents the turbulent situation on Earth, the visuals provide the breathtaking counterpoint.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
gmariusica
By gmariusica (Nov 15, 2011)

there is a strange light spot reflection on the earth surface starting at 2:50 to 2:55, lower-left center side...what is it?????

0 upvotes
rverdoold
By rverdoold (Nov 15, 2011)

Since it is night and only appears on the water it has to be a reflection. I would put my money on the reflection of a very bright moon.

0 upvotes
gmariusica
By gmariusica (Nov 15, 2011)

hmmmmm, there are too many city lights around the spot to be water

0 upvotes
gmariusica
By gmariusica (Nov 15, 2011)

BTW, there is another strange reflection from 3:46 to 3:49 and that is no moon. Now becomes a really interesting video.

0 upvotes
Mike Wee
By Mike Wee (Nov 15, 2011)

Since both the ISS and the earth rotate the only way that stationary light can be a reflection of an outside object would be for that object to track the ISS to maintain the incidence angle constant. Quite unlikely.

I believe that is a reflection from inside the ISS. They are after all working (one can hope) and not sitting around in a dark room marveling at an intervalometer clicking away ;-)

1 upvote
C-GREEN
By C-GREEN (Nov 15, 2011)

WOW!!!

0 upvotes
Paul Farace
By Paul Farace (Nov 15, 2011)

Nice video, music sucks... but you can't let engineers pick music I guess :o)
I bet it would be fantastic with some Blue Danube too! But that's been done already (and what a great bit of cinema that was!).

Interesting factoid: the ISS was built with the Space Shuttle (ok a few tiny rescue and resupply modules were sent up on Soviet-era rockets) but it couldn't be done today ... the end of the American space era... sad.

0 upvotes
Miwok
By Miwok (Nov 15, 2011)

Sucks for you...
I found this IDM music perfect with the theme.

6 upvotes
Total comments: 159
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