Here’s a good example of when HDR photography is useful: NASA created this image of the Space Shuttle Endeavour lifting off for the final time by combining six separate photographs.
Each image was taken at a different exposure setting, then composited to balance the brightness of the rocket engine output with the regular daylight levels at which the orbiter can be seen. The processing software digitally removes pure black or pure white pixels from one image and replaces them with the most detailed pixel option from the five other images. This technique can help visualize debris falling during a launch or support research involving intense light sources like rocket engines, plasma experiments and hypersonic vehicle engines. [#]
Here’s a photograph we’ve all taken… only in our bathroom mirror. NASA astronaut Michael Fincke shot this photograph with what looks like one of the Nikon DSLRs on board using a reflective-portion of the International Space Station. This means he shot a self-portrait roughly 200 miles above the ground while zipping around the planet at 17,000 mph.
After Space Shuttle Endeavour launched on its final mission, a woman named Stefanie Gordon snapped a photograph of it from her Delta airlines seat using her iPhone, sharing it with friends and family through TwitPic. Though it quickly went viral, and was shared all over the media, Gordon was only paid by five media organizations for licensing rights to the photo. The Red Tape blog over on MSNBC wrote a great post a couple days ago bringing the issue of copyright infringement to the public’s attention:
In a world where social media users, bloggers and even some professional journalists are increasingly comfortable simply copying the work of others and republishing it, can intellectual property rights survive? Can original content survive? And what should the world do when an amateur photographer takes a newsworthy photo and shares it on a social network?
We didn’t share Gordon’s photo here on PetaPixel because we never got her permission to do so (she never responded to our requests). Luckily for us, NASA just published this awesome (non-copyrighted) photograph of the launch that you can freely share and republish.
Who says you need a heavy and expensive lens to capture a beautiful shuttle launch photograph from far away? After the Space Shuttle Endeavour blasted off yesterday on its final mission, one of the photographs that went viral was shot from an airplane using an iPhone. Another was this stunning photo made by Trey Ratcliff using a Nikon 50mm prime lens while thousands of photographers around him were holding massive lenses.
Even though I had my Nikon D3X set up on a tripod with my 28-300 lens, I actually shot this picture with my 50mm prime lens on my Nikon D3S! Everything did go according to plan, and I had run through the routine a few times before the launch. The plan was to fire away on my main body during the first 15 seconds or so. At that point, the D3X starts to have bufferring problems, so I switched to my Chewbacca-bandolier D3S. I pulled it up into a vertical orientation and rapid-fired just as the shuttle tore into the clouds. [#]
You can read more about the shot over on his website here.
Image credit: Photograph by Trey Ratcliff and used with permission
After a seven year journey that involved being slingshotted around the planets in our solar system, NASA’s MESSENGER probe entered Mercury’s orbit on March 17th, 2011. Yesterday the probe beamed back the first photograph ever taken of the planet from orbit (seen above). Read more…
Those epic photographs of stars and galaxies that you see on sites like NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day don’t actually look like that straight out of the camera. Instead, a good deal of post-processing magic goes into each photograph. How much magic? Countless black and white photographs shot with different cameras are carefully weaved together, and color is added to enhance the final image. The video above gives a quick and interesting two minute tour of how they post-processed one particular photo in Photoshop.
NASA has a long history of using Hasselblad cameras in space and, interestingly enough, you can download the Astronaut’s Photography Manual used to train astronauts from Hasselblad’s website. It covers everything from operating the Hasselblad 500EL/M to composition, using situations unique to astronauts in its examples and illustrations.
Who knows — perhaps if space tourism starts taking off you might soon find this manual invaluable!
“Space Program” is a project by artist Tom Sachs featuring 1:1 models of various space related objects, including an Apollo lunar module, a mission control unit, space suits, and handmade space suits. He also included the above NASA Hasselblad camera as part of the exhibition. Note the stylish wooden crank.
You probably won’t believe this, but this fly-by video of Saturn wasn’t created with 3D computer graphics. Instead, it was created using thousands of high-resolution still photographs captured by the Cassini orbiter.
When a NASA Space Shuttle lifts off, there’s always high definition cameras carefully placed around the launch site, documenting the launch in high-definition photographs and slow motion videos. Back in April we featured a slow motion video of the Apollo 11 launch in 1969, and now here’s another neat super slow-mo documentary of more recent launches (i.e. 2005). If you have 45 minutes to spare, this video is sure to amaze and educate you.
By the way… during the launch, the shuttle burns 1,000 gallons of liquid propellants and 20,000 pounds of solid fuel every second.