What It’s Like Shoot Photos from Space as an Astronaut on the ISS

Astronauts on the International Space Station have shot and shared gorgeous views of our planet in recent years. Here’s a 5-minute video by Big Think in which NASA astronaut Chris Hadfield offers an inside look at what shooting photos on the ISS is like.

Hadfield flew a total of three missions to space, spent 166 days in space, orbited the world 2,600 times, and captured a whopping 45,000 photos during his time there. Surprisingly, astronauts generally need to “steal” precious moments for just minutes at a time out of their tightly scheduled days in order to look out the window and capture photos.

But when they do get chances to shoot, the views are life changing and perspective-altering.

“You don’t always get it right,” Hadfield says. “I mean, the National Geographic photographers — they take thousands of pictures for every one that makes it into the magazine. Same for us.

“But the world is a very generous photography subject and you have the best tripod in existence, so it’s a great place to take pictures.”

After getting back down to Earth for the last time, Hadfield went through his roughly 45,000 photos and worked to select the best of the best. His goal was to pick the views that he would want to show someone who was only able to go around the world in the ISS a single time.

In the end, Hadfield managed to select 150 photos to tell the story of our world. Those images have been published in his photo book You Are Here: Around the World in 92 Minutes.