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Astronaut Chris Hadfield’s space photography tips

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Astronaut Chris Hadfield’s space photography tips

Canadian Astronaut Chris Hadfield has been posting amazing photographs of the Earth ever since he embarked on the International Space Station (ISS), in December 2012.

He has also been showcasing life on the space orbiter, explaining experiments, and answering fans’ questions and requests, in video form. In this latest clip, he takes us through a short how-to on space photography.

Ireland, Wales and Mann photographed from outer space by Chris Hadfield
Ireland, Wales and Mann silhouetted in the setting sun, taken soon after Chris Hadfield’s Twitter account reached 700,000 followers. Credits: Chris Hadfield.

“Focus, frame, and fire!”

Following hundreds of spectacular images posted on Twitter, for which he has received global appreciation, Cmd. Hadfield sheds light on the process behind his hobby.

The astronaut gives some space photography tips inside the ISS Cupola, the seven window dome, particularly designed for visual observations. Most of the team’s photos have been taken from this module, as it holds the largest window ever used in space, 31 inches wide.

Chris starts off the tutorial by jokingly referring to the high rate of his photo uploads as Spaceagram, then proceeds straight to the key take-away phrase of the video: “Focus, frame, and fire!” These, he says, are the three most important things when taking a photo from outer-space, or any place for that matter.

The astronaut’s go-to lens is a Nikon 400mm

After un-velcro-ing a Nikon camera off one The Cupola’s walls, Cmd. Hadfield walks us through each step. The focus part is facilitated by a Nikkor 400 mm lens, in order to get detailed shots at an altitude of 250 miles.

Framing is done on a Nikon DSLR, using the “Sunny 16 rule”. Setting the aperture to f/16 resolves the exposure difference between the bright Earth and surrounding pitch-black space.

A privilege of shooting in outer space is time

Over the course of a slideshow of his spectacular photos, the astronaut explains his fascination with the Sahara desert, as well as with sun glints reflected by rivers and lakes. He says that what he looks for most in composing a shot is a variation of edges, textures and changes.

In the final part of the video, the ISS Commander reveals that firing a shot in outer space has the privilege of patience, because a missed shot is usually available on a next orbit around the planet.

Just three weeks left to go out of five months on the ISS

The astronaut has until May 13 to cross out more things to do from his bucket list, on the ISS. He already recorded the first song in outer space.

We’ve been covering photo highlights, like the recent Berlin East/West division photo, ever since his mission began, and we’ll definitely hear more from Cmd. Hadfield in the following three weeks.

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Astronaut Chris Hadfield’s space photography tips