Astronaut Donald Pettit on Taking Photos in Space

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When astronaut Donald Pettit heads into space with his 10 cameras, his goal is to collect data about the earth and the stars. Often, his images end up as art. Anyone with a computer can download the photos he takes from the cupola—the glass turret astronauts can look out of to see earth—of the International Space Station and put them into a timelapse video for all to see on Vimeo. At Outside, we've taken several of his photos and put them into blogs and galleries. (Here's a gallery of star trails.)

Since 2002, Pettit has logged more than 370 days in space, and has spent much of his time taking pictures. He's learned not to snap close-up photos of people floating above him while his fisheye lens is on—unless he really wants a detailed look up his coworkers' noses. He's learned to leave a slew of cameras with different lenses in the cupola so that he can grab the one he needs immediately to get his shot. It takes the Space Station just a few seconds to pass over, say, Pettit's hometown, and if he doesn't get the shot, he'll have to wait roughly 11 days for another pass.

You can learn more about photography in space by watching Pettit speak in the video above, which was recorded at a Luminance conference earlier this year.

H/T: Chase Jarvis

—Joe Spring

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