What it’s like to photograph Earth from space

Chris Hadfield on how to make great photos from the International Space Station.
aerial photo of venice italy
Venice, Italy photographed from the ISS Chris Hadfield

This story was originally published on PopPhoto.com.

Since the early days of space travel, it has been vital that astronauts capture images of our planet. That responsibility isn’t lost on former astronaut Chris Hadfield—who estimates he took nearly 45,000 photographs during his three space flights.

“The world is a very generous photography subject and you have the best tripod in existence,” he says in a new video from Big Think.

Hadfield says he was trained by top photographers before his missions to space and while living on the ISS he shot on Hasselblads, Linhof cameras, and IMAX cameras.

“It’s beautiful, it’s just raw, constantly changing beauty pouring by around you,” he says. “And it’s instructional, you learn so much about the world.”

Astronauts go through years of training and, according to Hadfield, when you are living on the ISS your time is meticulously scheduled. “Nowhere does it ever say go look out the window, but you just can’t help yourself,” Hadfield says.

Editing 45,000 photos down to a reasonable number is obviously no easy task. How did Hadfield go about it?

“I thought if someone was floating next to me at the window of the spaceship what would I want to show them,” he says in the video. “Trying to distill this whole planet down to 150 pictures is crazy. It’s an insult to the world, but it was the best I could do let people actually see what the world looks like.”

This story was originally published on PopPhoto.com.