Tag Archives: photography

Coming home: incredible Soyuz landing photo

12 Mar


On the evening of March 11 (Eastern Time; it was the morning of March 12 in Kazakhstan) three astronauts returned home from the International Space Station in their Russian-built Soyuz TMA-14M spacecraft.

The astronauts were Elena Serova (RUS), Alexander Samokutyaev (RUS), and Barry “Butch” Wilmore (NASA). The landing went smoothly (as smoothly as a Soyuz landing can go, at least). They touched down vertically, and on schedule, on a cold and foggy morning in Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan. It was about 30 minutes after sunrise.

And in the process of all that, NASA photographer Bill Ingalls took one of the most amazing Soyuz landing photos I’ve seen.

The Soyuz TMA-14M spacecraft is seen as it lands with Expedition 42 commander Barry Wilmore of NASA, Alexander Samokutyaev of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and Elena Serova of Roscosmos near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan on Thursday, March 12, 2015 (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

The Soyuz TMA-14M spacecraft is seen as it lands with Expedition 42 commander Barry Wilmore of NASA, Alexander Samokutyaev of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and Elena Serova of Roscosmos near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan on Thursday, March 12, 2015 (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

…and “amazing” doesn’t really do this photo justice. It’s majestic. It’s almost surreal (I actually looked twice when I first saw it to make sure it was indeed a real photograph, and not CGI).

The photo was taken from an aircraft just before the Soyuz disappeared into a layer of cloud on its journey to terra firma.

The astronauts had spent about six months on board the ISS as a part of the Expedition 41 and 42 crews.

To see some more photos from the landing (and download hi-res versions), check out this NASA Photoset on Flickr.

A picture of the Moon

6 Apr

Ashley and I were walking home from the store yesterday afternoon when I happened to look up, and noticed this:

The Moon, as seen in mid-afternoon from Toronto, Canada on April 5, 2014

The Moon, as seen in mid-afternoon from Toronto, Canada on April 5, 2014

I did of course grab the camera and hit the patio in our backyard. Took a couple hundred frames on the spot. Today I stacked & sharpened the images, and got that as a result.

The photo was taken using my Canon t2i, with a Sigma 2x tele-conveter and a Sigma 70-200mm (@200mm) at f4.0 / ISO 100 / 1/640 exposure.

It’s not the first time I’ve taken photos of the Moon.

A photo of the Moon from Toronto in April 2013

A photo of the Moon from Toronto in April 2013

That one was one of the first good shots I got of our celestial neighbour through my (at the time) new telescope, with the Canon attached to it. That one is a single frame.

Of all the amazing sights in the sky on a nightly basis (and in the Moon’s case, occasionally on a daily basis) the Moon is one of my favourite objects to look at. I’m also not entirely sure why. It’s not the most challenging to photograph. It’s not the most distant by any means.

Though maybe that’s why I enjoy it: it’s accessible. Heck, people have even been there. And so perhaps I have a stronger sense of connectedness to it.

I’m also reminded of one of Tom Hanks lines from Apollo 13:


I look up at the moon and wonder, when will we be going back, and who will that be?

(Hanks is of course speaking as famed astronaut Jim Lovell)

Our neighbour in the Cosmos.

We’ll visit again soon.

Time-lapse of Atacama night sky

16 Nov

Yesterday I posted a time-lapse video that I made from North Bay, Ontario – a city about 400km north of my home in Toronto.

Well here is a proper time-lapse video of the night sky:

These images were taken by Stéphane Guisard and José Francisco Salgado at the VLT (Paranal), ALMA (Chajnantor) Observatories, and the E-ELT Site (Armazones) in the Atacama Desert, Chile.

Amazing what’s up there.

…and now I have something to work towards with my videos.

Time-lapse of North Bay night sky

15 Nov

I’ve done a couple time-lapse videos, though this was my first attempt at an overnight sequence.

Overall I’m pleased with the result, though I’m limited by the lens on my camera. It’s diameter is only 58mm, so my light collection isn’t phenomenal. Down the road a proper wide-angle lens is on the wish list.

This sequence was shot on the night of September 5, 2013. The camera is looking west, at an angle of about 45°, from the shore of Lake Nipissing in North Bay, Ontario.

Technical details:

Camera: Canon t2i / 18mm / ISO-1600 / 5sec / 4,074 frames
Playback: 20fps
Music: The Cinematic Orchestra – To Build a Home (feat. Patrick Watson)