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Take A Look At A NASA Astronaut Photography Manual

Hasselblad once provided a photography guide for astronauts all about taking photos in space and you can now view the advice from the comfort of your sofa.

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Space photography manual


When it comes to space photography, NASA and Hasselblad have a long history together. In fact, Hasselblad first started providing NASA with cameras back in the sixties but as well as hardware, the camera company also gave the astronauts lessons on using the equipment successfully and one way they did this was through manuals. One of the manuals, which seems to be from 1984 (based on the copyright notice), can actually be viewed online and it covers everything from operating the Hasselblad 500EL/M to dealing with situations only an astronaut would find themselves in. There are also quite a few basic composition and exposure guidelines that wouldn't look out of place in an everyday photography technique, such as:

"The sharpness and contrast of the image is decreased immensely when recorded through dirty, greasy glass. Clean the windows in the shuttle before you photograph through them." 

Other basic tips include:

  • "The effectiveness of an image is greatly determined by the arrangement of lines, shapes, and colours within the square area. This is known as composition." 
  • "The effectiveness of the image depends on sharpness, correct exposure, good composition and lighting."
  • "Direct sunlight should never shine directly on the lens. It produces flare - a loss of contrast. Hold the camera so the lens is shaded from direct sunlight." 
  • " From a photographic point of view, sidelight produces more effective images." 

The manual is a rather insightful historical relic that gives those interested in this subject a little insight into space photography practices and it can be viewed in full on the US Archive website

More recently, NASA's photographed close-up images of Pluto and back on earth, astrophotographers continue to produce impressive images of the sky above us, some even include the ISS in them. You might also be interested to hear that the first Hasselblad camera ever to be used in space sold at auction late last year for $281,250.


(Via Reddit

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