F OR ONE D AY ONLY
Don Pettit has seen and shot many extraordinary sights. So we asked him to choose just one subject above all else…
If you only had one more day left for photography, what would you photograph and where would it be?
Is this on Earth or in space? Well, that’s part of the question…
Okay, I would take it in space and I would schedule for one more day to include a day pass and a night pass, and I would hope to make the orbit coincide so that we would get good night passes with aurora and maybe just a little bit of moon so there’s enough light to get some detail on Earth, and I would spend my time doing some night-time photography of Earth and the aurora. Did you actually do that, photograph the aurora from space?
Oh yeah! Our video cameras aren’t sensitive enough to record the motion of the aurora, so what we do is take a series of digital still images with the ISO cranked up, then those images can be put together into movies.
They look like the time-lapse movies of clouds moving, only they’re time-lapse movies of the aurora at night-time. Of course, you can pull out any of the single stills from the time-lapse that you desire and they’ll be sharp because they’re from digital still cameras.