Snapping shots on the ISS


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Despite gigantic progress during the last years in the realm of sensor technology, situations still exist where even the most advanced equipment reaches the limit of its capacity. Just think about darkness and/or fast moving motifs – i.e. a running person at poor street lighting. All of us know it, the ISO-setting increases as quickly as the rate of keepers decreases. What, however, if the motif whizzes past with 28.000km/h and the available light does not provide more than ¼ second with f/1.4 and ISO3200?.This is the typical situation NASA-photographers on the ISS are confronted with daily.

NASA / Pettit / ISS Fotos aus dem All

Quelle: NASA

NASA / Pettit / ISS Fotos aus dem AllNASA / Pettit / ISS Fotos aus dem AllNASA / Pettit / ISS Fotos aus dem AllNASA / Pettit / ISS Fotos aus dem All

Quelle: NASA

How do under such conditions photos emerge that amaze so many of us? Unlike the Hubble telescope, by means of which other NASA interests are pursued, the ISS crew makes use of off the shelf DSLR cameras and lenses. Within the space station itself light-intense fish eyes are used in order to get as much of the environment onto the picture as possible. Pictures where parts of the station and the earth are visible, are being taken with a wide-angle lens. And landscapes on earth with 85mm f1.4 portrait-telephoto lens. Supposedly, longer focal distances are out of the question, since the ISS is moving too fast – longer focal distances lead to increased motion blur. The choice of equipment is only just the beginning. Flashing LEDs that are reflected in all glass surfaces, concise timing (for some motifs, you would have to wait weeks and only have a few minutes to shoot them) and cosmic radiation which corrodes chips are problems an ISS-photographer has to cope with. More on this subject can be read on SpOn. (german)

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