Previous news story    Next news story

DSLR time-lapse images from the International Space Station

By dpreview staff on Mar 13, 2013 at 18:14 GMT

Austrian photography enthusiast Christopher Malin has produced a short film featuring time-lapse photography taken by astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS). The film is a tribute to the work of NASA astronaut Dr. Don Pettit, a keen photography aficianado, who uses an arsenal of Nikon DSLRs to document the unique perspective of Earth from high above it.

The video combines time-lapse footage that Malin has processed using (with permission) images taken aboard the ISS, with a lecture by Dr. Pettit in which he discusses the considerable challenges of photographing from space. Go to the 1:20 mark for a fascinating sequence that shows the opening of the viewing hatches on the ISS observation deck. At the 3:58 mark you get a look at six Nikon D3S bodies mounted inside the observation deck. And if you've ever struggled with unwanted reflections when shooting through glass, the challenges of photographing through four-pane windows high above the Earth that Dr. Pettit describes at the 5:01 mark should put your problems in perspective.

Comments

Total comments: 52
jaygeephoto
By jaygeephoto (Mar 18, 2013)

Beautiful and awesome. There are other Vimeo videos with similar content worth a look too. The "music" is worth turning off though.

0 upvotes
jaygeephoto
By jaygeephoto (Mar 18, 2013)

Beautiful and stunning. There are are other Vimeo videos with similar content worth looking at too. The "music" is worth turning off though.

0 upvotes
thepride
By thepride (Mar 16, 2013)

Stupendous ... unable to put this into more words. Effective photographs, but respectful anytime! And that music incredibly puts the dot on the "i". It boosts the whole thing again. I do begrudge Steve J... sorry, Don Pettit of course ;)

0 upvotes
Wubslin
By Wubslin (Mar 16, 2013)

Great, a waste of time camera to document a waste of time space boondoggle. Still no cure for cancer.

0 upvotes
australopithecus
By australopithecus (Mar 16, 2013)

Absolutely wonderful !

For those of you who'd like to learn a bit more about Don Pettit, I've attached a link to the NASA website below.

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/expeditions/expedition30/pettit_interview.html

0 upvotes
fg888
By fg888 (Mar 15, 2013)

dpreview -- thx a 1000000x. your best post ever. loooooooooooove it.

0 upvotes
tashaDPReview
By tashaDPReview (Mar 15, 2013)

Doesn't play in firefox 19

0 upvotes
fg888
By fg888 (Mar 15, 2013)

try vimeo direct at: http://vimeo.com/61083440

0 upvotes
gefrorenezeit
By gefrorenezeit (Mar 14, 2013)

<3 it! Thanks. :)

0 upvotes
l_d_allan
By l_d_allan (Mar 14, 2013)

Very nice.

Regarding reflections from the viewing area ... wonder if they would be able to have a camera mounted outside on an arm with pivoting device, and use tethering software to leave it out there for a while?

With some kind of joy-stick to control "aim"? Will a camera work in vacuum? I suppose you'd have to take ijnto account "decompression"? Cosmic radiation would be a concern? Grit / sand at thousands of mph?

0 upvotes
Jan Dolezal
By Jan Dolezal (Mar 14, 2013)

IMO the biggest issues come from excessive temperatures, which oscillate between -150/+150 °C in the space around the ISS. On the Moon the cameras were sealed/shielded in special cases which protected the delicate electronics. The problem is that the surface of the station is so cluttered with all the parts that it wouldn't be easy to maintain an unobstructed view at certain point for long period of time. That's one of the reasons the Cupola was mounted on the Tranquility/Unity module. The other reason is what Dr. Pettit mentioned in the video - there is so little time to take a picture that he has to grab a camera and shoot. There's no time to do anything else. It's just much easier to observe/photograph from the inside of the ISS then having to remotely control one camera at a time using an external remote manipulator.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Raincheck
By Raincheck (Mar 14, 2013)

Just fabulous; Thank you to all involved.

2 upvotes
WilliamJ
By WilliamJ (Mar 14, 2013)

To know more about that artistic documentary, don't miss to read this: http://tinyurl.com/c9qlpfr

Moreover as a bonus, there is a related short video to be seen, made by Christoph Malin who confesses he had been initially inspired by the movie "TRON" (which was primaly designed by french cartoonist Moebius): http://vimeo.com/51499009

3 upvotes
fg888
By fg888 (Mar 15, 2013)

thx for the tip, WilliamJ

1 upvote
WilliamJ
By WilliamJ (Mar 16, 2013)

You're welcome. Besides, if someone wants to know more about Jean Giraud aka Moebius, the french artist who designed a great part of the TRON world, it's here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Giraud#Films

0 upvotes
clicstudio
By clicstudio (Mar 14, 2013)

Amazing! Don Pettit has a certain Steve Jobs aura to him...
;)

If only he was shooting Canon :P

Comment edited 30 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
WilliamJ
By WilliamJ (Mar 14, 2013)

Or with a Lytro camera ! We would have been able to refocuse the infinite for eternity !

0 upvotes
Lee Jay
By Lee Jay (Mar 14, 2013)

Stunning.

2 upvotes
Jahled
By Jahled (Mar 14, 2013)

Wow!

0 upvotes
Peadingle
By Peadingle (Mar 14, 2013)

All I can see is 'nothing'!

0 upvotes
WilliamJ
By WilliamJ (Mar 14, 2013)

Nothing to say or nothing to see ?

0 upvotes
phatmike128
By phatmike128 (Mar 14, 2013)

Wow, incredible. I think that's the best video I've seen on the net for years. Signed up just to comment and say thanks for sharing it here! Reshared to my followers on g+

1 upvote
jim stirling
By jim stirling (Mar 14, 2013)

That is some truly wonderful imagery

1 upvote
Couscousdelight
By Couscousdelight (Mar 14, 2013)

W.O.W. !

1 upvote
Sdaniella
By Sdaniella (Mar 14, 2013)

my favorite shots are the nightlight (not daylight) moonlit (not sunlit) well lit Earthscapes (landscapes) when the dark side (not light side) of the earth is exposed to look like 'daytime' even though it is night time, and the skies are filled with STARS with NO STREAKS/TRAILS (actually, very short streaks/trails), and the atmosphere is populated with AURORAS above the white clouds, and the night-time city lights are STILL on...

awesome!

whereas doing the 'easier' moonless night shots with 'black' landscapes are more common to most 'starry nightscape' shooting (except not done in space before)

yes... unwanted reflections indeed... lol
with new dSLRs, handling very low light at higher ISOs, one's own reflections from the observers vantage space is also 'well lit' but unwanted reflection!!!

:)

sdyue

0 upvotes
aired
By aired (Mar 14, 2013)

does it make anyone wonder why NASA didnt use color sensor for their Mars photos... and the moon photos...

black&white is often associate to be authentic... but is it real or not?!

1 upvote
AlanJones
By AlanJones (Mar 14, 2013)

I believe there was an article that explained why they used 2mp B&W sensor. I think it came down to image size.

1 upvote
William Koehler
By William Koehler (Mar 14, 2013)

It comes down to data transmission rate, which from Mars, is very, very, very slow.

1 upvote
Bluegum6
By Bluegum6 (Mar 14, 2013)

breathtaking !!! wonderfull images !!

2 upvotes
WilliamJ
By WilliamJ (Mar 14, 2013)

Breathtaking ? For sure, there's no air in the outter space !

1 upvote
Deleted pending purge
By Deleted pending purge (Mar 14, 2013)

Absolutely breathtaking, all the way from the pictures taken, thru videomaking, sound background and narration, to the final image of the photographer buried in all the gear he has used. Many people are lucky to be able to witness things that others will never see, so thanks to those among them who share.

5 upvotes
carizi
By carizi (Mar 14, 2013)

Beautiful!!!!!!!!!

1 upvote
ahonr
By ahonr (Mar 14, 2013)

Amazing! Video moved fast but I recognized Great Lakes and Texas when Space Station flied south and Long Island, New England and Canada when it was flying north.

1 upvote
WilliamJ
By WilliamJ (Mar 14, 2013)

And nothing about the North Korea ?

0 upvotes
nikongnn
By nikongnn (Mar 13, 2013)

Really great!...Dr.Pettit's presentation is simply fascinating!

1 upvote
Xavierc971
By Xavierc971 (Mar 13, 2013)

Amazing !!!

1 upvote
CameraLabTester
By CameraLabTester (Mar 13, 2013)

The Auroras and Lightning Storms are breathtaking.

City Lights have taken a new meaning from this angle.

I won't complain shooting through a car windshield or jet window after this...

Those guys have to contend with 4 thick slabs and deal with flare and phantoms!

.

4 upvotes
HBowman
By HBowman (Mar 13, 2013)

Who, more than an astronaut, know how our planet is little, unique and fragile ?

3 upvotes
c76
By c76 (Mar 13, 2013)

Great work!!

2 upvotes
Ray Soares
By Ray Soares (Mar 13, 2013)

Amazing footage! Makes me want to be there :)

4 upvotes
fg888
By fg888 (Mar 15, 2013)

u better start saving for that ticket, Ray. I won't even mention the D3S. :-)

0 upvotes
dmorris06
By dmorris06 (Mar 13, 2013)

Outstanding images. Found Toronto Canada at 10:28 and 11:35. Ok, Toronto and just about every other city between Chicago and New York.

1 upvote
oss
By oss (Mar 13, 2013)

Just the most breathtaking wonderful thing to see, that work is such a gift to all of us.

2 upvotes
TechnoPhil
By TechnoPhil (Mar 13, 2013)

Unbelievable!! Great great great!

2 upvotes
Timmbits
By Timmbits (Mar 13, 2013)

oh gee, I've always wondered about the challenges of photographing from outer space!

I do like the video from a different perspective though: the simple beauty of something we never get to see.

1 upvote
Ahmet Aydogan
By Ahmet Aydogan (Mar 13, 2013)

Whenever I read a story about ISS, or see photos or get to watch a video it makes my day. It always reminds me of the wonderful things humans are capable of and the simple curiosity and awe we can experience about the universe. These were wonderful images!

2 upvotes
Aleo Veuliah
By Aleo Veuliah (Mar 13, 2013)

WOW. Great.

2 upvotes
capelyons
By capelyons (Mar 13, 2013)

This is a very beautiful video! What would be interesting to me is to see what the video and images looked like prior to the "post-processing" of this video so as to see the differences. Thank you much for providing this video. I'll bet its nice to be in a vibration free environment.

0 upvotes
Lee Jay
By Lee Jay (Mar 14, 2013)

So go download them. They're all available.

0 upvotes
24Peter
By 24Peter (Mar 13, 2013)

Really amazing & inspiring :)

1 upvote
Hugo808
By Hugo808 (Mar 13, 2013)

Wow.

2 upvotes
cleverinstigator
By cleverinstigator (Mar 13, 2013)

Wow that is one specialized type of photography I am sure I could never be a part of.

0 upvotes
Total comments: 52