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astro_pettit OP t1_jdonvgv wrote

Black and white self-portrait in the Cupola aboard the International Space Station. I was setting up a few cameras for nighttime timelapse imagery. I stretched a cloth across the hatch opening to eliminate stray light from Node 3 (the Cupola is attached to Node 3). There was a small opening just for my head so I could operate the cameras. I had the window shutters closed for this photo since it was daytime and the bright sunlight would spoil my desired lighting effect. If you can't tell, I went to great lengths for my craft. Over my missions I have captured hundreds of thousands of photos. This one was taken during Expedition-31 to the ISS, in 2012.

More orbital astrophotography can be found on my twitter and Instagram profiles, for those interested.


Mr_nobrody t1_jdosqgm wrote

Wouldn't it be better to have the window open when taking the photos so the glare from the window isn't in the shot?


SweatyRussian t1_jdvtozf wrote

He can up his game by taking photos on a spacewalk.

Actually, all of those cameras have a remote, could you just stick them to the outside of the windows?


BProbe t1_je4kvom wrote

I mean, he could, but with no radiation shielding they would be bombarded by radiation probably eventually knocking the electronics out (have no clue on the time-frame). Additionally, if they happen to be on the bright side at any time and being black, a melt would be in order, so they'd also have to be repainted. This one is my speculation, but, probably the radiation shielding in the ISS would prevent the remotes from communicating with the cameras.

If all those issues are resolved, great pictures, barring that, just don't have lights inside the cupola and you're golden IMO!


graphicsnerdo t1_jdot4yz wrote

That’s rad. Astronautphotographernaut!


Jogaila2 t1_jdp6h9p wrote

Where's the up votes on this!?


L3R4F t1_jdsqihb wrote

In Space there is no upvotes, nor downvotes


Jogaila2 t1_jdt2d9b wrote

Good point. But i have you one anyway.


ChronicSchlarb t1_jdtjf60 wrote

Wouldn’t it be astrophotographernaut? Not astronaut photographer with naut on the end again for some reason?


Border999 t1_jdqawka wrote

How can you operate cameras with just your head?


ShingusDMV t1_jdqmut0 wrote

Voice activated.

"Hey, Google. Take a photo of that thingy way over there in the distance."


Emerald_Pick t1_jdseos8 wrote

"Sorry. It looks like there are no Italian restaurants near you."


Username_Taken_65 t1_jdrywc7 wrote

Real answer is probably that he gets all the cameras dialed in and then triggers them remotely


Zachf1986 t1_jdqov4z wrote

What's up with the severed head? I didn't expect that imagery. Getting serious Event Horizon vibes, here.


GloomyCactusEater t1_jdqit3j wrote

Are the aliens real? What do you see up there? What did the military shoot down over Lake Huron?


AssassinPhoto t1_jdqro3e wrote

So you’re just getting into photography then? Goodluck, hopefully it’ll take you somewhere. Let me know if you need any tips.


UTokeMids t1_jdrdj7g wrote

This is one of the coolest posts i’ve seen in a while, thank you for sharing your career with us. Out of the hundreds of thousands of photos you’ve taken - have you ever captured something that you couldn’t explain/identify? I’m sure there’s a chance you’ve been asked this many times so if that’s the case i apologize. It’s just rare to have the chance to correspond with an astronaut which is why i appreciate your post so much. I used to have dreams about being in a space pod but not knowing how to work the controls lol. I wish i could be an “astronaut assistant” and go to space and just be a helper. Too bad there is no such thing lol, but it’s my number one goal to make it to space before i die.

Also do you have a recommendation for a somewhat affordable camera for a young guy just getting into photography? I mainly would be taking pictures of nature, animals, and architecture. Also maybe portraits. I know next to nothing about photography tech but appreciate any advice, especially advice from an astronaut or any other fine folks with knowledge.


ByteMePlz t1_jdszc1a wrote

Go ask dp review before they shut down for good.


8huddy t1_jdqblwk wrote

I want to put this description on dalle2


dark_LUEshi t1_jdrje80 wrote

I can't even begin to imagine how it must feel to be at the pinnacle of so many things while also being able to do something you love.

This truly must feel like having the best toys in the entire world.


tomtrauberty t1_jdrrw7p wrote

Thanks for sharing. Amazing photos, especially the star trails


iota_4 t1_jdswk04 wrote

great work, great job.. kinda jealous.. :) did you see ufos?


NewDad907 t1_jdu1v6p wrote

Good man, using Nikon! I’m a Fuji man myself, mostly because I can’t afford the Nikon I’d want.


p1mrx t1_jdows5a wrote

What challenges have you faced in adapting to life as a floating head? Do you feel that your launch mass was a factor during the astronaut selection process?


sunrise98 t1_jdtel50 wrote

His glasses float off his head and we just see his head just bouncing around like a pin ball as he tries to get them back on.


hate2bme t1_jdouu55 wrote

I don't know why but your head poking through literally made me laugh out loud. That's pretty awesome though. Your are living a dream of mine since I can remember.


NotTakenName1 t1_jdq1sne wrote

"Your are living a dream of mine since I can remember."


Dressing up so only your head is visible and getting surrounded by cameras? I mean that's not hard to accomplish right? I'd say go for it!


SDCgeeek t1_jdoqc2s wrote

Very cool, thanks for sharing. Just curious, what was your favorite thing to photograph throughout your time in space and why?


astro_pettit OP t1_jdoslx4 wrote

I captured the Transit of Venus across the sun in 2012, which occurs once every 100 years, and was lucky enough to be on station when it happened.


bless-you-mlud t1_jdq0uxf wrote

> the Transit of Venus across the sun in 2012, which occurs once every 100 years

As opposed to the transit of the Earth across the sun, which occurs every 90 minutes.


A_Suspicious_Fart t1_jdryqkv wrote

Did you ever play around with radio setup, and chat with bam operators on the ground?


Amazing-Treat-8706 t1_jdovifw wrote

You’re not wearing pants, are you? It’s okay, you can tell us.


redviper192 t1_jdqarhh wrote

He has the body of a Chihuahua just like in 'Mars Attacks!'


MD_Tarnished t1_jdpega0 wrote

How do you survive with just a head?! Amazing!


Ooh-Rah t1_jdor9t7 wrote

Very nice! I can't wait to see the pics. Have you ever photographed anything that surprised you?


htomserveaux t1_jdpl9ik wrote

I never thought there could be a way for me to be more jealous of astronauts than I already am.

Then I saw that 8mm fisheye.

Is that a holdover from the Shuttle era or did NASA’s requisitions office have to explain an eBay purchase to the budget office?


onlywronganswers t1_jdq1dyv wrote

This is an SOS distress call from the mining ship Red Dwarf. The crew are dead, killed by a radiation leak. The only survivors were Dave Lister, who was in suspended animation during the disaster, and his pregnant cat, who was safely sealed in the hold. Revived three million years later, Lister’s only companions are: a lifeform who evolved from his cat, and Arnold Rimmer, a hologram simulation of one of the dead crew. I am Holly, the ships computer with an IQ of 6,000 - the same IQ as 6,000 P.E. teachers.


JerkAssFool t1_jdouyzp wrote

It blows my mind I watched the ISS come over a few nights ago. Ohio, USA. Shit is bananas.

That thing sure hauls ass across the sky.


The_Blindside t1_jdow4po wrote

As a space nerd and photo hobbyist damn this is cool.


Vee32 t1_jdpivgr wrote

Dilophosaurus IN SPACE!!!!!

Is this something you have to setup and take down everytime or are you able to leave it be for awhile? Is getting that cover across the hatch problematic in zero G?


Either_Lie7563 t1_jdpuynd wrote

That is one of the most incredible things I've ever seen... I'll tell my kids I had a conversation wirth a man that had been on space and took pictures!


TheKingOfDub t1_jdqouio wrote

Sending just heads to space saves a lot on fuel, allows for smaller craft and capsules, and also produces less waste


pocketMagician t1_jdosehs wrote

Amazing look at those lenses! Are all the cameras different? Which is your favorite?


rvralph803 t1_jdpstgd wrote

Take that, canon nerds. Nikon rulez, canon droolz!


ArmPitJuice69 t1_jdqj4hj wrote

Without context, I would assume this to be the making of the music video “Dare” by The Gorillaz.


ZealousidealClub4119 t1_jdp61l4 wrote

Fun fact about the cupola: there are shutters on the outside that are manually operated by little wheels, with connecting rods going through the pressure hull. Needless to say the seals around these rods have to be very good.

How much force is needed to operate the shutters please?

Thanks for sharing :-)


beastpilot t1_jdpsfkz wrote

15psi is a very small pressure difference and is trivial to seal against. The oil pressure in a car is 5x that and the seals involved deal with way more rotations over their lives.


ZealousidealClub4119 t1_jdpt6xx wrote

15 psi? That's all? I did not know that.


beastpilot t1_jdptbdr wrote

Space is zero psi Earth is 14.7 psi at sea level That is all there is. The difference is 15psi.


ZealousidealClub4119 t1_jdpu6jo wrote

Well I've made myself look like an idiot then.


bluenoser613 t1_jdql1ie wrote

No not at all. Most don't think about this. Even diving 10m in the water is 2x more pressure than this. Someone going to the bottom of the ocean is way harder for the vehicle to withstand.


TheHappyTaquito t1_jdqf982 wrote

I could only imagine being where you are that’s amazing


ReasonablyBadass t1_jdqs3dm wrote

Is that disembodied head some necromantic camera thingy?


JWWBurger t1_jdqu6a5 wrote

Modok finally found his place in the universe.


Ok_Amount8590 t1_jdoowsv wrote

Incredible! It must’ve been awe inspiring seeing how much brighter everything is sans light pollution or atmospheric scattering


Thiccaca t1_jdoxj6g wrote

How much is your personal weight allowance?

Because, damn!


ModOverlords t1_jdp0uej wrote

Kinda look like the rich guy from the movie Contact…cool pic


Careful_Chocolate_98 t1_jdp2e0b wrote

Are there a specific type of camera you guys use or can you just bring your own? Like whatever camera manufacturer your comfortable with.


TheDamus647 t1_jdp9h5r wrote

That's a neat photo. Love seeing the behind the scenes.


mysteryofthefieryeye t1_jdpfqzg wrote

Your head poking through the cloth reminds me of the parachute our grade school gym class would play with; at one point, everyone in class had to pull the chute over our necks and lay on the floor (while someone stood on the middle of the chute on the outside), creating this inflated donut ring. The light inside was so diffused and even and seeing everyone's heads made me really happy. Despite being super shy and not talking to most kids, I suddenly felt like I was in an evenly lit science-fiction world (think Tarkovsky's Solaris, but I wouldn't know that for over a decade) and I wanted to just be with everyone in that moment.

I can only imagine that if I were to replace that parachute with windows gazing over our own planet, I would break down and cry :) So thank you for sharing this "technical" photo, because to me it brought back a deep memory!


ChartGhost t1_jdpkwke wrote

Wow that is one incredible space to take some deep pics 👌😁 very cool OP


aethist t1_jdpoyzo wrote

that's amazing. can you tell me how do you keep a track of time up there and keeping it synchornised to us. also, do you think that astrophotography can be expanded to even the lowest tier places??


ursus-habilis t1_jdpzyn3 wrote

Oh, you're one of those guys who takes all the best spots and camps out for sunrise... bet you never thought about everyone else waiting for their chance to get a photo. Smh my head.


Scottacus__Prime t1_jdqsujj wrote

Answering the question who watches the watchmen. This POV


designmaddie t1_jdqtpx2 wrote

What were you dreaming about?

I was just a head, floating in space. There were all these expensive cameras mounted around me, facing outwards. These panels opened and I witnessed Earth in all her glory before my eyes. I wanted run to share this with everyone but, I was just a head floating in space.


DrAconianRubberDucky t1_jdqv4lm wrote

"News just in, a break-away faction on-board the ISS have mutinied, taken over the ship, and placed the head of the former opposition leader on display for all who may resist them. While their next moves are unsure, yelling and whooping could be heard, with 'I'M TAKIN THIS THANG TO ME-HEE-CO!' exclaimed by the faction leader."


barbosella_rex t1_jdr0xrc wrote

What articulated arms do you use to position the cameras?


weathercat4 t1_jdr2f4w wrote

Taking an observing hood to the next level. The way you word it implies to me you cobbled it together yourself and I like to picture the other astronauts watching wondering what kind of shenanigans you are getting into.

When you look at this photo with zero context it is just such a bizarre scene. The other side of the cloth is even funnier to imagine.


corneliusgansevoort t1_jdreba9 wrote

"Hey, did we end up returning those bedsheets that were the wrong size, or do we still have them. Also, did someone move the 'spare cameras' bin or did we jettison that during the purge last december?"


oldthunderbird t1_jdr4suh wrote

This reminds of the The Mars Volta’s cover for Deloused in the Comatorium.


the_kareshi t1_jdrbjzc wrote

Bro what if your kid wants to look out the window? Or your dog wants to stick his head out?


AngerTech t1_jdrbx8w wrote

That looks oddly cozy and I bet you’ve got an amazing view!!


raging_pastafarian t1_jdrdsyc wrote

Space is so dark, do you use a flash for those cameras?

(i'm sorry, I'm just screwing around lol)

That is a really cool setup. Was that observation dome specifically built for photography? What about that canvas cover, it looks specifically designed for that room. Does it work well?


corneliusgansevoort t1_jdrdtpg wrote

The severed human head is a nice touch - definitely adds to the eerie mood. Is it legal because you're high enough above the earth to technically be in international waters, or will they arrest you when you ever come back down?


GunzAndCamo t1_jdrmxgj wrote

I've heard that one application for a future commercial space station would be an orbital sound stage for Hollywood types to literally fly cast and crew to orbit to film proper zero-G scenes in actual zero-G conditions. I imagine you're going the sort of advance-work for how to do camera-work in space.


cah4732308 t1_jdrnom2 wrote

amazing! So glad you could be where you are to use your craft to out-of-this-world ends!


jocax188723 t1_jdrppho wrote

That’s really interesting, Don. I’ve always wondered how most of the photos from the Cupola don’t get glare from the inside, and here’s the answer.
Very cool.


Jig_2000 t1_jdrshks wrote

Looks like the inside of Darth Vader's Meditation Chamber


JEtanker t1_jdrupzr wrote

yooo I recognise you I watched your angry birds video when I was a child


Jedi-master-dragon t1_jdrxcbe wrote

He looks like if Steve Jobs ate some of that Willy Wonka gum that turned Violet into a blueberry.


Iron_Undies t1_jds3j7w wrote

Looks like Vader getting his helmet installed


MudcrabNPC t1_jds89iq wrote

I will never not be envious of anyone who gets to go to space.


TimeForBagel t1_jdsck0s wrote

You seem like a nice head, mr petit. I’m glad heads can become astronauts.


essaitchthrowaway3 t1_jdt3esj wrote

That looks like some kind of space iron lung setup. Wild.


geo_gan t1_jduup65 wrote

Are those Manfrotto camera arms? I use the model 244 with the large tightening wheel - it’s a great heavy mount, not cheap - those look like older models?