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Watch Astronaut And Photographer Don Pettit Capture Stunning Images From Space In This Incredible Film

SmugMug Filmmaker Anton Lorimer has an incredible way of telling us stories about photographers. He blew us away with Arctic Swell, his dramatic film that followed surf photographer Chris Burkard to the ends of the earth in search of the perfect wave. But in the latest film of this exceptional series, the ends of the earth wasn't quite far enough. Space seemed like a more fitting backyard.

Like many of us, Astronaut Don Pettit's interest in space started when he was just a young boy. According to this great interview on the SmugMug Blog, after receiving a PhD in chemical engineering, he realized that he may in fact have the skills and knowledge required to be an astronaut. NASA didn't think so at first. After three rejection letters, the fourth time was a charm and Don was selected to be a part of an elite group. He was a NASA astronaut. 

Two years of intense training is required of all astronauts, even before they can be considered for a space flight. Photography is introduced early on in an astronauts career. NASA is serious about capturing the best possible images from space, and provides them to the public to use in projects. But the extensive photography training given to astronauts isn't just to create jaw dropping images for the public to see. Astronauts are trained on how to take intimate, highly detailed images inside the space station as well, in order to downlink to the engineers back on Earth. These photos help keep the International Space Station running smoothly. 

For Don Pettit, the photography training paid off, as he has been regarded as one of the best photographers in space. Yes, there may not be many photographers in space, but when you see the complexity of taking photos while hurling through space at 8 kilometers a second in zero gravity, you will have a new found appreciation for Don and his fellow astronaut photographers. 

SmugMug Films and Anton Lorimer have brought us into the International Space Station with Astronaut Pettit to learn how he captures these incredible photos. While Anton was not actually up in space with Don, you would never know it when you watch this film. Using the massive public library of NASA photos taken by Don, as well as audio from his missions, Anton takes us on a riveting journey into space. While we all had dreams of going into space as children, our dreams quickly gave way to reality. Instead, our creative minds found photography and filmmaking to take our subconsciousness to the worlds unknown. But for this beautiful 4 minute journey, we can once again dream of a personal space flight. But unlike our childhood fantasies, this time, we can dream of flying above the atmosphere with our cameras in hand. 

Check out more of the SmugMug Films series on their YouTube page

All Images Courtesy of NASA/Don Pettit


Michael Bonocore's picture

Michael is a full time photographer, traveler and workshop teacher based out of San Francisco, California. Michael's passion lies in international photojournalism, which has brought him to lead photography workshops around the globe. Michael has written guest articles for companies such as Matador Networks, SmugMug, and Borrow Lenses.

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Simply Wow!

This is awesome! Combining two of my interests: Space and Photography. The star trails are incredible!

Agree. Wow.

I wonder what his setting where to catch those star trail shots.

We live on an amazingly beautiful planet. Hope we don't destroy it.