Photography in Space: Challenges & Techniques by Astronaut Don Pettit

Space is a frontier, and a difficult one to capture. Dr. Donald Pettit, a NASA astronaut and photographer who we wrote about a while back, takes us through the exhilarating experience of documenting outer space, and why photography is the perfect medium to do it with:

Dr. Pettit describes in great detail the technology, equipment, and setup necessary to capture some of the most incredible images taken from beyond the stratosphere, and how the unique conditions of space affect the process. Nikon has been sending its cameras into space since 1971, with the Nikon D3s the current model being used to photograph star trails, weather systems, the earth’s surface, and the space station itself, not to mention its inhabitants.

outer space photography

Photography was the first art form born of science, and thus has had an important relationship with science ever since. Of particular emphasis in this presentation is the knowledge we can gain about ourselves as a species from this removed and wide-angled perspective. From the patterns in which our cities sprawl, to the information that infrared light shines on our landscape, the surface of the Earth tells a lot about us.

outer space photography

With the awesome and unparalleled importance of space photography, this video gives us a rare glimpse into the cutting edge of art and technology, on the cutting edge of the world, “record[ing] data… record[ing] the experience.”

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2 responses to “Photography in Space: Challenges & Techniques by Astronaut Don Pettit”

  1. I really enjoyed the embedded video. Thank you for the article. I’ve never been in space, but these tips may be helpful to the folks at NASA for reducing reflections from windows:

    All the best,


  2. Rachel says:

    Wow, I enjoyed the article and the video. Since I was a kid, I am always fascinated with what our Astronauts see in the universe. It ls like seeing the side or view of Gods perfect creation. Thank you for sharing such amazing photos. Keep it coming.

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