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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
wetracy
By wetracy (Nov 15, 2011)

Visual techno-babble.

0 upvotes
Chaitanya S
By Chaitanya S (Nov 15, 2011)

beautiful, simply beautiful.

0 upvotes
fastlass
By fastlass (Nov 15, 2011)

The video is great, but honestly I'll be listening to my vinyl copy of this track through my feeble old years and i'll probably never watch the video again. It's heartening to see that at least some people get the music.

1 upvote
bray
By bray (Nov 15, 2011)

Can anyone explain the red squiggly line on the surface of the earth at the 3:47 mark? Could it be a highway or something man-made, don't think it should be that prominent though. A fault line is another option, but that defies belief. Anyone?

Amazing video

0 upvotes
Azfar
By Azfar (Nov 15, 2011)

Hi Bray. In all probability that's the Pakistan - India border which IS visible from space.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2033886/India-Pakistan-border-visible-space.html

1 upvote
Paul Farace
By Paul Farace (Nov 15, 2011)

It also shows up a minute later... but I don't think its the India-Pakistan border... to be that visible it would have to be illuminated like a super highway, besides the terrain surrounding it doesn't look like the Indian ocean and India would be a much larger projection into the sea.

0 upvotes
bray
By bray (Nov 15, 2011)

Thanks Azfar, I think that was it, resembles the photo in the link you sent quite well. What better way to annoy your neighbors than to leave a bright light on all night.

0 upvotes
photo_oasis
By photo_oasis (Nov 15, 2011)

It looks like Yellow River crossing from west to east of China. The entire river almost filled with yellow muddy water and it's part of the reason it got the name. I guess somehow it picked up by the camera.

0 upvotes
marosini
By marosini (Nov 15, 2011)

it is the India-Pakistan border, you can see the comment on the original NASA source page.
http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov/Videos/CrewEarthObservationsVideos/

0 upvotes
Vladik
By Vladik (Nov 15, 2011)

WOW, Breathtaking Indeed!

0 upvotes
tommy-boys
By tommy-boys (Nov 15, 2011)

magnificent

0 upvotes
macky patalinghug
By macky patalinghug (Nov 15, 2011)

Night belongs to Man. He screams in lights. In the morning he is just a machine, some corporates' tool. Under the cover of darkness does he shine and show some soul.

1 upvote
macky patalinghug
By macky patalinghug (Nov 15, 2011)

Beautiful! Thanks for sharing dpreview.

0 upvotes
Zorpie
By Zorpie (Nov 15, 2011)

Absolutely incredible footage. Makes me realise just how small and insignificant we REALLY are !!

0 upvotes
PhotoArtKC
By PhotoArtKC (Nov 15, 2011)

Best time-lapse ever!

0 upvotes
Durandalfr
By Durandalfr (Nov 15, 2011)

first time since long I haven't been fascinated like that by a video. Awesome

0 upvotes
CameraLabTester
By CameraLabTester (Nov 15, 2011)

Fascinating!
The thunderstorms at 1:23
High level borealis at 1:40
Italy at 2:03
The Middle East at 2:42
Wonderful footage.
Terrible choice of electronic loop music.

0 upvotes
Desert Bob
By Desert Bob (Nov 15, 2011)

Great video but why all the pop's and crackling sound track like a late 60's 33 n 1/3 LP dug out'a the closet..?? I sure hope like hell it's NOT really in the recording (and in my down load) not in this day n age of digitized, super clean "everything"...

0 upvotes
djec
By djec (Nov 15, 2011)

i really liked the music, thought it added a lot to the video. different strokes for different folks an all that i suppose.

3 upvotes
DioCanon
By DioCanon (Nov 14, 2011)

Ke bela ke la e la Padania de note!

How gorgeous is Padania by night!

0 upvotes
zagortenai
By zagortenai (Nov 15, 2011)

padania doesn't exist (anymore) !!!

1 upvote
Antonio Rojilla
By Antonio Rojilla (Nov 14, 2011)

What's that long orange strip? The India-Pakistan border??? Amazing.

0 upvotes
djec
By djec (Nov 15, 2011)

the one at 2:40 is the nile in north africa.

1 upvote
Antonio Rojilla
By Antonio Rojilla (Nov 15, 2011)

Thanks, but I can actually identify the nile basin for myself. You and whoever liked your reply obviously didn't see the "orange strip" I was talking about and that is visible at 3:47 and 4:38. I thought it could be the India-Pakistan because what comes after the strip looks like India's coast...

0 upvotes
Pierre Couture
By Pierre Couture (Nov 14, 2011)

Really impressed with the Northern Lights as well as watching the planet unfold at a crazy speed.

0 upvotes
HiRez
By HiRez (Nov 14, 2011)

Incredible, something I've never seen before. It's amazing just how visible the lightning strikes are from that distance, you can see they really light up the clouds for miles.

0 upvotes
photo nuts
By photo nuts (Nov 14, 2011)

What is this 12-24 f/2.8 lens??? I am only aware of the Nikkor 14-24 f/2.8 and Sigma 12-24 f/4.5-5.6 lenses.

0 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Nov 14, 2011)

My mistake - there are 14-24mm F2.8 and 12-24mm F4 shots (from a D2Xs) in there, so I must have muddled the two when I wrote the story. Sorry about that.

1 upvote
NikonD3sUser
By NikonD3sUser (Nov 16, 2011)

its gotta be 14-24 f/2.8

0 upvotes
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Nov 14, 2011)

One must credit Nikon with offering time elapse still mode with more models than just about anyone else.

However, there are somethings no camera can solve.

I can never take good pictures through aircraft windows, least of all in the dark. The windows' inner membrane is either filthy or scratched up, the outer glass is soiled or scratched, and cabin lights create a horrible relfection problem. Day shots are good only between about 10AM and 2PM, and not against the sun. The plane wobbles about too much for time exposure at night. Spacecraft windows may be just as bad. Security would never let one bring a tripod on board, and you must shut off cameras at takeoff and landing, often the only part of a flight when there is anything to see.

What's the price for space station tickets these days?

0 upvotes
dmora
By dmora (Nov 15, 2011)

Get a filter for the glare.
Spend time in photoshop editing defects in the plane's window.
And shoot film if you're worried about being forced to turn off your camera for takeoff/landing...however, who really listens to the stewardesses about that. The only thing that affects aircraft communications on take off/landing is WiFi and cellphone comm bands if i remember correctly. DSLRs dont have either of those.

0 upvotes
Ponxo
By Ponxo (Nov 16, 2011)

The video says it at the end. They use a low light camera. For that they choose the nikon D3S. Also engineers favor engineers, a not marketing people (canon)

0 upvotes
jmmgarza
By jmmgarza (Nov 14, 2011)

Nice photos horrid music.

2 upvotes
Bryan Campbell
By Bryan Campbell (Nov 14, 2011)

I thought the music was excellent. It sounds sci-fi futuristic and is very appropriate for the video. Maybe next time they can play big band music just for you.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
14 upvotes
CameraLabTester
By CameraLabTester (Nov 15, 2011)

Music used on videos is up to everyones "taste".

There is no wrong or right music.

There will be opinions across the spectrum.

For a rare video like this, I thought the music was crap.

Cheap crap.

1 upvote
Caleido
By Caleido (Nov 15, 2011)

I find it to be an excellent companion with the images.
Random, endless and chaotic , but it all still fits together.
Quite like the subject in the video.

Open your mind.

4 upvotes
CameraLabTester
By CameraLabTester (Nov 15, 2011)

Anybody who thinks they are way better than to those who don't agree with their tastes and opinion are the ones with closed minds.

1 upvote
Caleido
By Caleido (Nov 15, 2011)

@ CamerLabTester.
You're calling the music "cheap crap".
I'm saying "it fits the video".

Who's close minded?

Bet you call pictures taken by others you don't like, also "cheap crap".

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
CameraLabTester
By CameraLabTester (Nov 16, 2011)

"Cheap crap" and
"Fits the video" are opinions.

"Anybody who thinks they are way better than to those who don't agree with their tastes and opinion are the ones with closed minds." is a blanket statement, and could refer to ANY situation and applied to many forms.

The statement above ONLY AFFECTS those who are refered to by it.

0 upvotes
shaocaholica
By shaocaholica (Nov 14, 2011)

Does anyone know if any of the stills are available in RAW?

0 upvotes
DioCanon
By DioCanon (Nov 14, 2011)

Even if it was,
the motto is: never give away a RAW file!

1 upvote
Mike Wee
By Mike Wee (Nov 15, 2011)

Since the whole thing was done with public money I think it most appropriate for the pictures to be made public.

1 upvote
farrukh
By farrukh (Nov 14, 2011)

Wow!

0 upvotes
yakkosmurf
By yakkosmurf (Nov 14, 2011)

They are spectacular movies. Having seen the astronauts use the SS-HDTV camera several times on ISS, I can tell you it's not a D3. It's a special camera built by a Japanese group of scientists. Perhaps it has some D3 components in it, but it's definitely not a D3. Although, we do have a whole bunch of D3S and D3X cameras on ISS.

0 upvotes
Ashley Pomeroy
By Ashley Pomeroy (Nov 14, 2011)

This is timelapse footage made out of still shots taken with a D3; they even explain it (a) in the intro text (b) in some of the posts below.

2 upvotes
yakkosmurf
By yakkosmurf (Nov 15, 2011)

Yes, and I was trying to point out it was mistaken from looking at the actual documentation the crew uses to take the footage. The SS-HDTV camera is a custom unit of proprietary nature from JAXA. Mike Fossum has done some wonderful shots with the D3S' low light capabilities on orbit, but these movies are taken with a special camera that's flying as an experiment to ISS.

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

whats with the we bit?..... next time your up there do it right!

0 upvotes
stanic042
By stanic042 (Nov 14, 2011)

that is some thin and busy atmosphere

0 upvotes
IcyVeins
By IcyVeins (Nov 14, 2011)

According to Ken Rockwell, you could have made this video with a point and shoot camera, because your camera doesn't matter.

6 upvotes
dmora
By dmora (Nov 15, 2011)

Ken Rockwell says to also never shoot RAW.... DERP.

0 upvotes
Jeff34
By Jeff34 (Nov 14, 2011)

A photographic experience

Jeff Williams

0 upvotes
wuviveka
By wuviveka (Nov 14, 2011)

WOW that's sooooooo cool

0 upvotes
VivaLasVegas
By VivaLasVegas (Nov 14, 2011)

Amazing!

0 upvotes
Paulo Macedo
By Paulo Macedo (Nov 14, 2011)

HD Camera developed by NHK Japan,
nicknamed the SS-HDTV camera...you said Nikon D3s...quit the BS!!

0 upvotes
scott_mcleod
By scott_mcleod (Nov 14, 2011)

They're *time-lapse* movies made from stills (as the captions on the NASA site says). If you click on the links to individual frames you will see the original resolution was... 4256 x 2832 - the same as a D3s. How about that!
Some of the daytime stuff at the bottom of the page has an original res of 4288 x 2848 so I assume they used a D300 or D300s for those.

8 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Nov 14, 2011)

As Scott has pointed out and the news story states - the original still images from which the video is based are available and their EXIF shows they were show with the D3S. It would be odd to use a HD video camera to do time-lapse.

Please quit the rudeness.

13 upvotes
clide
By clide (Nov 14, 2011)

The source site for the images also lists the cameras they use and have used in the past. http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov/sseop/metadata/camera.htm

2 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Nov 14, 2011)

Why would they use a video camera for time-lapse photography? I suspect the used the D3s because it is the low light king, and they didn't want noise messing up the beautiful images. Man, o man, everybody thinks they are an expert, but can't bother using common sense, or looking at the EXIF file.

4 upvotes
putomax
By putomax (Nov 15, 2011)

in their dabase exif's i saw that some pictures are made with the 28-70 f2.8

0 upvotes
StephenSPhotog
By StephenSPhotog (Nov 14, 2011)

Absolutely incredible...

0 upvotes
fatdeeman
By fatdeeman (Nov 14, 2011)

Simply beautiful!

0 upvotes
NovemberSun
By NovemberSun (Nov 14, 2011)

Outstanding!

0 upvotes
Total comments: 159
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